In the days leading up to my grandmother’s death, my eyes lingered on her ninety-year-old hands. As a little tomboy, Arcelia’s hands had mesmerized me. I watched them feed cookies
My first encounter with girls as ardent capitalists happened between the covers of Ann M. Martin’s Baby-Sitters Club books.
That my parents continuously thwarted my entrepreneurial dreams made me wonder what was wrong with them, and, by extension, me. First I wondered if they weren’t so weird about my tween bootstrapping fantasies on account of us being Mexican. Then, as I got a little older, I started to wonder if they weren’t being such assholes about my moneymaking schemes because I was… a girl. After I had that second epiphany—and this was before I’d ever heard the word intersectionality—I fused these concerns. I then spent time wondering what it was about my being a Mexican girl that provoked their restrictions.
Several weeks into attending my graveyard-adjacent nursery school, my parents noticed something weird. When I got home from school, I’d grab Mom’s or Dad’s hand and take them on a tour, introducing them to household objects. “This is the television. This is a chair. This is a sofa. This is a plate. That is a lamp. This is its switch. The lamp is now off.” My behavior mystified Dad until he realized what I was doing and burst out laughing.
“Bebé,” he called out, “Myriam’s teachers think she can’t speak English! They’ve been trying to teach her! That’s why she acts like a parrot when she comes home! She’s parroting the ‘lessons’ they’re giving her.” He chuckled as hard as he did when he watched Saturday Night Live.