This “Gringa” Fell In Love With “Chocolate” and Created a Caramelized Legacy…

I believe rejection is the culprit in a lot of issues we deal with today, especially racism.

It is also a root of envy, murder, anger, mental health challenges, depression, suicide, the drug epidemic, oppression and the like. I used music, relationships and drugs as an outlet to try and cope with rejection. For some, it seemed to work for a while; for others, not so much. I was part of the “not so much” group. From my birth, a spirit of rejection attached itself to me which caused me to spend the rest of my days trying to fit in and prove my worth to society. I survived abortion but I didn’t overcome rejection.

I can remember my parents sending me to visit my grandmother in Puerto Rico at the age of twelve. I was so excited to go and experience the country my family came from. (I was oblivious to the fact that Puerto Rico is part of the USA. Well, I hated my history teacher, what can I say?) While there, I enjoyed the culture, the music, the food and the people. The majority spoke Spanish and I spoke Spanglish. A little bit of Spanish and lots of English. My grandmother introduced me to the neighborhood friends and we played together almost every day, unless I was with my grandmother. I’ll never forget the day when one of the little girls from the hood, jealous because her little boyfriend supposedly had a crush on me, told me that I didn’t belong there. She made it known to all the kids in the neighborhood that I was not a true Puerto Rican, but rather a “Gringa.” A what?! Gringa is a term used in Latin America to refer to a female American girl or one of British descent. “She had some nerve,” I thought to myself. My neighborhood back then would’ve considered her the Gringa, seeing as she had lighter skin than me, blue eyes and blonde hair.

I cried so hard that day because I felt the sting of rejection from my own kind, or at least those with whom I thought I had something in common. Being at a pivotal age in middle school, this crushed my world. I began to have a chip on my shoulder whenever people would call me “White girl” or “Jungle Fever.” I began to resent my own skin color. I was determined to prove my Latin heritage, or at least to try.

As a teenager, I found myself struggling to find my sphere of influence. But I wasn’t White enough to be accepted by my Caucasian friends, I wasn’t Black enough to hang out with my African American friends, and according to the kids in Puerto Rico, I wasn’t Latina enough either. I second-guessed my significance. Who am I?

I remember when I started dating my future husband, one of the neighborhood Spanish guys asked me out. I told him I was already dating someone, and he said with confidence, “Oh yeah, I’ve seen you with that n___a, you a n___a lover now?” Shocked, I flared back with, “Yep, I guess I am! You’re just mad because I don’t want YOU!”

Up to that point, I hadn’t really wanted to admit that racism still existed, but I grew up in it and felt the backlash from all sides. Don’t get me wrong. Personally, I could have cared less about your color or race; if you were cute, you were cute. Before I met my husband, I dated a couple guys who were both outside and inside of my color spectrum. One thing in common with ALL races is this: when they break your heart, it hurts. We all bleed red.

When I was out with my tall, dark, and handsome boyfriend, I would get the stare-downs by African American girls hating on me. I would hear comments like, “Why doesn’t he date someone from his own race?” Little did I know, I had broken a barrier of racism and God was using me to tear it down, but it never felt good nor was it easy. In a way, this was to my benefit as it helped me to become more diversified. I hung around with all races and religions. I didn’t have a problem introducing myself to everyone, but it was important for me to be accepted by them. This made me a little too trusting and naïve.

My boy crushes who rejected me made me angry and insecure. What was wrong with me? Was I not good enough? I vowed when I entered highschool things would be different and I wouldn’t let anyone else hurt me again. In highschool, I flipped the script. Instead of being the pushover, I was the one doing the pushing. I not only became a bully, I started pushing boundaries I shouldn’t have. Instead of getting rejected, I was the one stamping rejection on their hearts. My grades started off great but soon tumbled along with my identity. I had taken lots of mental notes in elementary school and I used them to mold my new image for highschool and get revenge. I hid my pain behind a façade of comedy and a bubbly personality.

This hiding had my personality split in two. I would be one way at school and another way at home. I was good at living in two worlds at the same time, but let me tell you, it caught up with me. I got lost in between them and found myself slipping into a world I didn’t like and becoming someone I didn’t know. I became very needy and dependent on another’s opinion of me. My mother used to yell at me and say I didn’t need friends, and I would disagree. Again, I asked the question, “What was wrong with me?” I was looking for love and acceptance in all the wrong places.

I did get a lot of rejection, and being a sensitive one, I would cry if someone who was once my friend turned into my enemy or hurt me. This made me a topic of laughter in my school. I was definitely a cry baby. Even today, I’ve been told, I’m too emotional. They would make fun of my tears or my worship, but I am proud of my tender heart because it makes me who I am. I was broken and God picked up all the pieces of my heart which were scattered and put me together beautifully, giving me the ability to be aware and responsive to the needs of others. I know who I am: I am the weeping prophet, like Jeremiah, and I’m totally good with that now. This realization didn’t come until an encounter with God.

As I grew in my relationship with Christ, I discovered my identity and became more confident in God within me rather than worrying about my inability.  Instead of focusing on my weaknesses, I started giving them over to God and allowing His strength to become my strength.  My confidence grew because my confidence in God grew.  This was due to me discovering myself in His word, the Bible.  My identity was hidden in Him.  The more time I spent in His presence, through prayer, worship, and His word, the more He poured His love in and on me.  God was loving the hatred and hell out of me.  His amazing love overwhelmed me to the point that it was spilling over to others.   I started seeing others through His eyes.  I also grew in confidence and joy.  I realized that I didn’t deserve His love but yet I have it.  Freely I have received, freely should I give.

The ruler of this world works hard at trying to keep you boxed in, fearful, angry, and prejudice, but you must discover your potential and release that power to change your world and the world around you.  Let the unveiling begin.  Jesus found himself in the Scriptures and walked them out.  He was the word made flesh.  It’s now your time to make His word your world.

If I would’ve allowed racism, hatred, and prejudices keep me from loving others, I would’ve never found my soulmate.  I would’ve missed the opportunity to raise a beautiful family and be adored by the wonderful husband God gave me.  It feels so good to be loved by them.  I pray that my children embrace their race, culture, diversity and spiritual legacy.  That they never allow themselves to fall prey to the ugliness lurking in dark places.  I am thankful to God for translating me out of the darkness into His glorious light.  For loving me and freeing me from the invisible chains and causing me to walk in purpose and unity.  True unity.  True friendship.  True LOVE!  There is more power in unity than in solitude. 

What are you thankful for?

#Truth #RaceAmity

@NCRAmity @RaceAmityFest


Published by Mari Benning

I love writing and sharing a day in the life of an ex stay-at-home mom...ME. :) I have found a new passion- BLOGGING and loving it! I should've started a long time ago! Hope you enjoy reading as much as I enjoy sharing. Blessings!

2 thoughts on “This “Gringa” Fell In Love With “Chocolate” and Created a Caramelized Legacy…

  1. This was a great Article Mari, thanks for sharing. I am currently recovering from having my son and reading things like this is a huge help to keeping my mind on positivity while I am recovering. I love what God has done, because you allowed him to work in you he has used your family to help mine these last few years. Love you guys!


    1. Hey Lorene, Congratulations on the baby boy! God is faithful! Remember His promises. I too remember having a tough recovery after I had my last daughter. It was a scary and emotional experience. I thank you for sharing your feedback and I will write another post about my recovery just for YOU! I’m so glad that I am helping in whatever capacity. I will keep you in my prayers and speak speedy recovery to you in Jesus Name! xoxoxo


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