So today I am asked: In your family, who’s the eccentric relative who always says and does the strangest things? Who is your cousin “it”?
Me!…I will admit, at first it was something that I tried very hard not to be. At every family gathering or get-together, I’d force myself to act or speak a way that i would normally never do. Sitting up straight and defending everything i would say is quite the polar opposite of the regular slouched in a couch, saying the first thing that comes to mind person that i am. And that’s exactly what it was, I wouldn’t allow myself to say what was coming to mind. For that very reason, i find myself being the “it” cousin. My family being heavily set in their beliefs, (they are all old school Cubans, what they know, is what they know) make it difficult for anyone in the family to do something that might be seen as “out of the box”. So when i decided to sport my freshly pierced ears and the brightest diamond earrings in the store, to last year’s thanksgiving….the responses came from far and wide. “¿Queres que te compro otro arretico?” which, with the right tone of voice (Cubans are loud) and the drowning of the last word, roughly translates to, Oh you wanted to go out and get your ears pierced and now you’re coming to thanksgiving thinking that we weren’t going to notice because earrings are for girls, now that you have them on, “¿would you like me to buy you another little earring?” in Spanish. This is just getting out of my car, lets not forget the fact that i have not walked passed the council of judges, or what might appear to any invited guest at first sight, my uncles sitting round on a couch, sipping beers and watching NASCAR, as a whole pork….i literally mean the entire pig, split open and gutted out, roasts in “la caja china.” They will give you the run down in english…”oh, so now you a thug. You’re going to run the streets tough with those earrings shinning bright like a diamond. Your street name must be rihanna.”….why must everyone in my family begin a statement with “oh”. “OH” is a social stop sign. It’s the latin equivalence of the “yups” they give during a mic check, everyone hears it! Pushing further than the things i wear, it is also everything i say that just slices the ear of a family gathering. Sooo maybe i speak about the craziest topics and maybe most of my friends still party every weekend putting who knows what, into who knows which holes of their body, but i am the one cousin that everyone comes to during moments of tribulations. It’s my out of the box attitude that a family member open up to me about something they haven’t done before, when i might have been up and down that road a couple times. I’ve come to learn to embrace my oddness and come to appreciate how i stand out from my family.
After many years of trying to be someone that i am not, not only i, but as-well as my family has learned to accept me for who i am, wearing earrings and all. At the end of thanksgiving, all the old ladies pack up the left over food into tupperware and smuggle it away into their purses as everyone shares a hug goodbye and a drives home talking about cousin “it”, me.