“Eres Tan Floja,” No, mi cerebro functions differently
Growing up, I often heard phrases like, "eres tan floja, olvidas de todo, eres demasiado delicada o emocional" (you are so lazy, you forget everything, you are too sensitive and/or emotional).
As a Latina child, I grappled with confusion. Tasks were challenging to initiate or complete, I had sensory issues, I experienced breakdowns during or after school, and my memory posed problems. Additionally, I questioned why my peers excelled while I felt stuck in slow motion. My parents, family, and teachers critiqued my productivity, making report card pick-up days dreadful, hoping my teacher wouldn't mention my missing glasses, assignments, or unique brain.
My hardworking family, despite their untreated mental health symtptoms, managed to make things work, making sacrifices for the family's greater good. Falling short felt like a major defeat, as if I disrespected their contributions or misunderstood what they were teaching me. Though we've had challenging conversations about mental health, some stigma still remains. However, generational norms like these are meant to be challenged, right?
Now, as an adult in an immigrant family, those phrases from my childhood have become running jokes, constantly reminding me of my past behavior. "You're still flojita... Ayyy, ¿no has aprendido nada? Remember when, remember this. You still do this and still do that.”
I remember because these remain my realities. While it's easy to let these jokes or phrases dominate our minds, knowing your truth outshines them.
Nonetheless, I hold my family's tenacity and determination close, alongside my neurodivergence. I encourage you to do the same—grant yourself grace and recognize that you are you, not lazy or anything else. Your cerebro, your brain, functions differently, and thats okay!
Research highlights the prevalent underdiagnosis and limited access to mental health and neurocognitive services in communities of color, especially Latine communities. More adults are questioning their experiences and discovering that labeling themselves as neurodivergent offers a liberating perspective that aligns with their stories. I'm part of this recent surge, and it's been quite a rollercoaster.
Realizing neurodivergence requires unlearning, unmasking, researching, reimagining, accommodating, pivoting, and practicing self-love. Whether your family joins your journey is your choice. Embrace those who understand and support you, and educate those who question and are willing to be educated. If you cannot lean on your family for support, lean on the neurodivergent and mental health community; that is how I found other Latines struggling with the same things and it was like a breath of fresh air. They’re like the long lost primos you never knew you had.
We can draw from our family's traditions, routines, and determination to create our path. Honestamente, we can even dare to create our own neurodivergent Señora Era, como no?
Pero, let's not replicate it through a complex mental dance of salsa, bachata, y mas. Instead, adapt to yourself, rely on your support systems, or find new ones, and continue discovering what allows you to thrive—perhaps even laugh at the fact that we possess extra sazón.
Below, you will find a collection of representation pieces that encompass neurodivergence within the Latine community.