I was hanging out with my BFF Comadre last night and, like many of us girls do, we were looking at how the other women in the place were dressed and doing that side-glance thing to each other and saying things like ‘mmm hmmm’ or ‘I don’t know about that dress’, and things like that. Now my Comadre and I have not ever been been 100% slim in all of the years we’ve known each other so we didn’t really have room to be talking about folks LOL.
Let’s take the story back a few years. Back in the day, I was in my first semester of college and I wanted to do what I always do: get involved in clubs and campus events. When I met MariaLuisa, it was obvious that she was one of the most popular people on campus, she knew e v e r y o n e. I felt really intimidated by her because, by all accounts, I was very much a square. Carmen wore socks with skirts, braids in my hair, no makeup, and I knew almost nothing about life and I did not feel very popular. Fast forward a few years, we ended up roommates when we went on to the University. I was so glad that I had someone to hang out with as I started a new phase in my life. While it was always easy for me to make friends, I was beyond amazed at how my Comadre really worked it with people, by the end of the week, this girl knew half the school and had invites to all kinds of events and parties.
I had never lived anywhere but on the Ranch and, once I stopped being all homesick and miedosa, I started to have a lot of fun and was waaay into clubs and events. My Comadre was great at encouraging me to live my life and to remind me that “this ain’t the Rancho, girl” LOL. Every morning, my Comadre would make me LOL when she would look in the mirror and say, “chingao, que buenota eres!” as she blew a kiss into the mirror. It didn’t matter to her that she was not flaquita, girl embraced her curves. This was the greatest affirmation ever and I began to understand how she was always so popular, why guys were always after her, why she was so much fun. She loved herself, and not in that conceited way, she knew how to be there for herself.
As roommates do, we held many long talks about life and when my Comadre told me this story, I admired her all the more.
When my Comadre was in high school in Coachella, she was all into school events (surprise, surprise) and Student Goverment. As she tells it, she was very into school spirit and had a ton of friends. Around Homecoming time, the students were nominating girls for Homecoming Queen and my Comadre, as a member of Student Government, was assigned to go around to classes to pick up the completed nomination forms. “As I went from class to class, picking up the slips, I would look down and see my name and I thought “no, someone is playing a joke on me.” Mary says she finally stopped looking at the notes and, after collecting them all, turned the votes in to be counted.
The most vote-getters would be announced at a Pep Rally with the entire school present. There would be five finalists announced. Mary was her spirit-crazy self, having a good time with her schoolmates. “And then they called the final name, and it was ME. I could not believe it!” My Comadre remembers that, when her name was called, that there was a huuuuuuge cheer from the students, but she decided that she wasn’t going to think twice about it.
“I remember that my Mama made me a really nice green velvet dress and, the night of Homecoming, I remember getting into the convertibles to drive into the stadium thinking that this was fun and that things would be back to normal soon.” The time had come to make the announcement for Homecoming Queen and Mary remembers, “I kept hearing the other girls’ names being announced as runner-ups and thinking ‘no way I’ll win’” Finally, it was time to announce the Homecoming Queen and HER NAME was called!
How exciting! As she got up into the convertible again to be driven around the stadium, my Comadre remembers waving to all of the groups of friends including the cholas LOL this girl, crown and all, starts doing chola poses in front of these girls to their great delight. How cool was that? When the time came for pictures, the four statuesque runner-ups towered over Queen Mary and then they did something unforgettable: they walked away from this queen, choosing not to stand with her, stunned that this short gordita could actually WIN as Homecoming Queen,
My heart broke a little for my Comadre when she told me this. But then I thought about how Mary has always been true to who she is: she may have never been tall or thin but that never stopped her – ever. My Comadre has always carried herself like a queen, a ‘reina‘, she has always been able to find that little piece of self-esteem when she’s needed it to keep moving forward, and girl talks to anyone, anywhere, anytime, she is the definite life of the party. One of the things we both have fun with is when the beautiful model-type girls look at her, mouths open in wonder when the guys gravitate toward her- and this happens to this day. While Mary was momentarily hurt that those Homecoming Court girls would not stand by her, she took what she learned from this experience and she always says that there’s room for women of any sizes a n y w h e r e, and that you should never let your size get in the way of anything you want to do in your life. I’ve always loved being her friend and have always said that we all need a friend like my Comadre: her sense of aventada-ness is second to none, her mevalemadre attitude is front and center, she is the most fun and authentic person I know who embraces her gordita-ness and doesn’t let the flaquitas get her down. I still watch her and learn how to act from Queen MariaLuisaArceFelix!
At this writing, I’m still searching for a Homecoming Queen pic of MariaLuisa and will post as soon as I find one!