It is human condition to feel as if you belong. The comfort of knowing that somehow and someway you are understood through similar experience creates a bond that is made to comfort. In this series I begin to explore my culture. Growing up among heavily Hispanic neighborhoods, I have felt as an outsider looking in. The idea of not being “Mexican” enough or “Brown” enough was a criticism I often received from my peers. What about my experience and me did not meet the standard of a true Hispanic? I will never be American enough and I will never Hispanic enough.
The North Side of Houston is home to the Airline Flea Markets. Every weekend you will find this part of town to be heavily trafficked in ways that can be described similar to that of the Galleria traffic. Except, here you won’t find the expensive couture stores and restaurant chains. What you find is a place that brings back home to those far away from home. It allows a different type of opportunity that is self-made and filled with tradition. You find yourself walking in to a collective realization this community has made in order to cope with a diaspora and dissipation of culture. To me, it collides my two worlds in to one. My “American” self and my “Hispanic” self meet at the Flea Market. When I step into this world, I begin to look for people, items, food and experiences I feel I can connect with. Other times, I look for the anomalies that are true to this culture the Flea Market has made for itself.
Through this process, I begin to create connections and relationships with people I wouldn’t have otherwise had. There is still a feeling of discomfort that comes from having to speak Spanish with people that are very well spoken in the language. Suddenly, I become the immigrant. My displacement is evident and somehow I can empathize with the immigrant experience. By constantly exposing myself to this world, I not only begin to make these relationships but I begin to feel closer to a piece of myself that was for so long seen as inferior. It is closing in on acceptance of self and understanding that my experience is just as valid.