Los Cassettes de los Recuerdos: Nayeli

Recently, I’ve been getting called Nayeli in a setting different than my home and by people outside of my family. I don’t know how I feel about this. I thought it would make me feel more confident, but it feels weird. Maybe it’s because these people used to refer to me as Juana. My idea was that when I go to college I could introduce myself as Nayeli, try being more extroverted and perhaps be a mature version of preschool Nayeli because I used to be very confident back then. However after being called Nayeli in the Wave, I’m not so sure anymore.

Nayeli is such a special name to me. It means “I love you” in the Zapotec dialect which makes it extra special and gives it more meaning in my opinion. Nayeli (me) in Mexico presented herself in a different way. Everytime I go to Mexico, people say that I look happier and that I even dress differently. When I say Nayeli, I am referring to the’ summer Nayeli’ in Mexico who carries herself proudly and would never shy away from her culture. I also feel like I fit in when I’m in Mexico because I’m among other light-skinned Mexicans. The north or “Altos” of Jalisco is known to have people of a lighter complexion so when I’m there I feel Mexican, whereas here I feel like I’m not Mexican enough. I may be wrong but I’ve always felt like a bit of an outcast in some way. In middle school, I was sitting at a table and a group of classmates was talking and then this one girl said “let’s not talk about this because Juana is here,” since I would always tell on people. According to them. But the truth is that I only told on people who I thought were doing something wrong. I guess it was my way of creating a just environment.

During my preschool and elementary years, I remember being really loud. My parents would tell me to not speak so loudly. Now they tell me to speak up because they can’t hear me. It wasn’t a conscious transition. I feel like the more I’ve retreated further into my head the quieter I’ve gotten. I guess it’s a natural progression. Now most of my processing occurs in my head rather than verbally with others. I don’t really share ideas verbally anymore. Nayeli at home is also relatively shy, except around my brother because I really trust him. However we’re talking about Mexico Nayeli. Mexico Nayeli feels so free. She feels like she can accomplish all her dreams. Again there is an issue though, because even though she feels like she belongs, she also feels like an outsider because everyone sees her as the girl from San Francisco. This year has been a bit different but because my godmother lives in San Juan and she misses Nayeli and her family and Nayeli misses her and her family. I’d like to end this with a recent Nayeli thought:

“The world would be better off [without me]…I’m an emotional hazard to the Universe.” – Nayeli 4/29/19

I like writing funny quotes from other people, but for some reason I felt like it was important I write this quote about myself. I’ve been feeling a little down lately and I’ve been crying for no overt reason. Although I think going away to college might be what is making me feel like that, especially because originally I wanted to go to south California to be around more Latinos. But recently, I realized that I don’t fit in into that community either and that would prefer be around people of varying cultures. Even though I think being in a different environment will help me grow as a person, it’s going to be hard leaving my little nest. It reminds me of that Dr. Seuss book “Are You My Mother?” where the baby bird goes around looking for its mother. I feel like that might be me. I’ll be looking for a friend with motherly characteristics, unconsciously of course but it’s something that tends to happen.

I’d like to end this post with a video from the soap opera where my mom got the name Nayeli from. You can click here to watch it. Coincidently, this video was published on my tenth birthday. Also if we analyze the title “Amigas y Rivales” – Friends and Rivals – that correlates pretty well to Juana and Nayeli because they have so much in common, but at the same time they’re rivals because Juana rarely lets Nayeli shine. The video is in Spanish but I hope you enjoy it!