Embracing My Bilingual Journey: A Fashionista’s Tale of Speaking Beauty in Two Languages

The Power of Bilingualism Connecting with My Abuela Through Alzheimer's and the Gift of Communication

Being raised bilingual has allowed me to communicate with my abuela, who has Alzheimer’s, and I’m truly grateful for it.

Melissa and her abuela side-by-side Melissa and her abuela side-by-side. (Melissa Wells/Insider)

Fashionistas, gather ’round! Today, I have a fabulous tale to share with you all about the wonders of bilingualism, wrapped in the glitz and glamour of the beauty and fashion world. Picture this: a vibrant tapestry of language, culture, and style, all beautifully intertwined like the latest designer collection. Ready? Let’s dive in!

So, here’s the lowdown. As a bilingual babe, I have the marvelous ability to see the world through two linguistic lenses: English and Español. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it’s like having two closets overflowing with fashionable expressions. And let me tell you, this unique advantage was not always clear to me, but oh, how the fashion gods have blessed me with this linguistic magic!

Growing up in sunny California, I had the privilege of witnessing life through the prism of two languages: English and Español. You see, I am a proud Afro Latina, the stylish offspring of a brilliant Mexican mami and an African American dad. Talk about the perfect fusion of diverse influences!

From the moment I uttered my first words, my mama and my beloved abuelos showered me in a linguistic symphony of English, Spanish, and a sprinkle of “Spanglish” for good measure. Can you imagine? Even in kindergarten, my Spanish accent danced cheekily around my English words, turning the heads of my monolingual friends, who were yet to discover the magical world of bilingualism.

But fear not, my fabulous fashionistas, for now I understand the true power of my bilingual upbringing. It’s like having a designer handbag and clutching it tighter than a compact mirror in your fashionable grasp. In those early days, my two languages were inseparable, joining forces to create fantastical spectacles fit for the runway of my imagination!

In those formative years, I orchestrated grand productions with my lovely cousins, who also possessed this enchanting gift of bilingualism. We dazzled our adoring family members with our performances, weaving in both languages effortlessly. Oh, the joy of these linguistic adventures, where even our fictional tales of palaces and complex wars lived harmoniously on the pages of our notebooks, like fashion sketches brought to life.

As I blossomed, I embarked on unforgettable journeys to Northern Mexico, swaying to magical melodies of mariachi music and indulging in deep, soulful conversations over mouthwatering tacos at our favorite taquerias. It was like walking a fashion runway, draped in the beauty of two cultures coming together in sensory harmony.

And let’s not forget the epic birthday parties! Each celebration was a fiesta masterpiece, complete with a meticulously handcrafted piñata. With every swing, children’s voices merged in joyful cacophony, singing, “Dale, dale, dale, no pierdas el tino…” (translating to something like “Hit it, hit it, hit it, don’t lose your aim…”) Ah, the memories! Can you feel the excitement building, my glamorous readers?

But wait, lovelies, there’s more! The true treasure lies in the precious memories I create through the conversations that bloom in my two languages. Being able to converse with my sprawling Mexican family, both in California and across the border into Mexico itself, is a gift beyond measure. It’s like discovering a hidden boutique filled with timeless elegance and cherished moments.

And then there’s my radiant abuela, who, despite battling Alzheimer’s, shares with me tales from her own childhood and heartwarming memories from my younger years. In those precious moments, as we converse exclusively in Spanish, magic happens. She relives her past, while I get to recount my college graduation, her eyes alight with the sparkle of a couture gown expertly tailored to perfection.

In these conversations, time seems to stop. She reminisces how my dear abuelo would rush to her side, scooping up my sister or me whenever we had accidents in our diaper-clad days, declaring, “Ten, mujer, tu hija!” (“Here, woman, your child!”) These anecdotes, my stylish comrades, are the threads that weave the most exquisite tapestry of love, forever etched in the fabric of my heart.

Beneath the dazzling shine of our manicured nails, as we bond over our favorite telenovelas or stir a pot of arroz rojo, I realize the true value of speaking multiple languages. It’s like owning a necklace with a pendant that holds priceless memories close to your chest, reminding you of the beauty language brings to our lives.

So, as I gaze into the future, a vision of endless possibilities, I pledge to continue this legacy of bilingualism. Just as my mama made the choice to raise me in the world of two languages, so shall I do the same. I dream of instilling in my future offspring the wonder of communicating with loved ones, infusing their lives with the rhythms of two languages, and creating fashionably bilingual memories that will span generations.

Now, my fabulous fashionistas, it’s your turn! Do you have a bilingual journey to share? Have you discovered the beauty of speaking two languages in your own life? I’m dying to hear your stories! Share your fashionably bilingual tales in the comments below. Until then, stay stylish, stay inspired, and keep rocking those fabulous linguistic ensembles! 💖