chronic pain/fibromyalgia · culture/multiculturalism · Hispanics/Latinos · Jews/Jewish/Judaism/Orthodox Judaism


It never fails.

I get into the Seaman Car Service taxi and tell the driver where we’re going in English. Then I switch to Spanish. At which point, the driver turns around and says, “You speak Spanish?!” And I say, “Yes, I’m Dominican.” At which point, the driver turns around again and stares, “YOU’RE DOMINICAN!”

If it weren’t against some Jewish laws, I would get a tattoo. On my forehead. I’m Dominican. I’m Jewish. I’m American. My forehead is rather large so I think a great many things would fit on it.

Also, maybe I could even put “I have fibromyalgia” or “Please don’t touch, that hurts!” somewhere across my cheek. It would attach a TINYURL link to WebMD so they could understand why even the slightest touch is sometimes the worst sort of evil they could have done against my sorry, squishy little body.

I just don’t want to explain myself every day. It’s boring. I’m tired. I don’t want to be asked every day, “Where you from? Where you really from?” No, it’s not just the white Jews that are asking. Even Dominicans can hardly recognize me as one of their own on sight, I can’t tell you how refreshing it is when they do. Invariably some little old Dominican lady will turn to me out of nowhere and ask me for help in Spanish and I will bounce over to her feeling overwhelming relief.

I still can’t understand the guy who asked me in Los Angeles if I was born in America. I just know that I wanted to slap him. But maybe, it’s easier to get an eagle tattoo or a Star – Spangled Banner head scarf? Would that be going overboard? Would that be trying too hard?

I want someone to come up to me one day and say, “Well, hello, you’re obviously a nice Dominican American Orthodox Jewish future rabbi’s wife with fibromyalgia. Now, isn’t that nice!”

I know, I know but I can dream.

8 thoughts on “Obviously

  1. Just to let you know that I found your blog from the link at Coffee and Vanilla. You and your blog are so fabulous I am adding it to my Rososo newsreader. My sister and I have friends whose mother is Colombian and father who is from the Midwest. The older sister has dark hair and dark eyes so there are those people who assume she does not speak English. Her younger sister is blond with blue eyes. The younger one has lots of stories where people, especially co-workers, are speaking Spanish around her thinking that she does not know what exactly what they are saying. And then she opens her mouth and disabuses them of their assumptions.


  2. Re Fibro: I don’t have it but, I still don’t want people touching me. I mean you don’t know someone, keep your hands to yourself.

    Re Hispanics not recognizing: Ahem most don’t exactly dress like you do….


  3. ALiza, I can understand you 100%. I am hispanic and Jewish and I know that it gets tiring explaining yourself to people all the time because of your 3 (american, Jewish and dominican)identities. They’re you and they make you the special being you are. It’s not easy living with 4 strong identities in this crazy world especially when you deal with ignorant people on a daily basis. You’re Aliza, a human being and people should get to know Aliza the person. Kol Tuv, D.


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