When my mom was about to give birth to my sister in 1985, my dad worked in a city 450 miles away. When he received the phone call with the news, he rushed to the local airport and had to stop a small plane on the tarmac to arrive on time. My mom always says: "This was the time when we didn't know the baby's gender before birth. But your dad knew it all along…When he arrived at the hospital room, he had a pair of earrings in his pocket."
I've always cherished this story. Not only it's a love story, but it also represents the cultural importance of earrings in my country. If you were born a girl in Venezuela, you got pierced by the time you left the hospital. It’s such a common occurrence that I'd never thought much about it. Until I moved to the U.S.. Piercing your baby's earlobes is not common in American culture. It is even considered a "Latina thing" for some.
Wait, what…Am I a Latina because I wear earrings?
I listened to Ana Flores from We all Grow Latina Network saying on a podcast that she never considered herself Latina until she moved to the U.S.. and that struck a chord in me. I never felt Latina in my country; I was just a regular girl. But moving to the U.S., and even though I'm in Miami's melting pot, I can see how my earrings set me apart from my friends from Alabama or Ohio. Having pierced earlobes makes me different from some, and I now have the opportunity to make it count.
If earrings were essential in my life and my family story before, they are now even more. They represent the richness of the Latin culture due to mixing indigenous, African, and European descent. They represent where I come from and the teachings of my Abuela. They are a symbol of empowerment for many women of color, and they will be my forever daily spark of joy!
So tell me, #wowmom, what do earrings represent to you?