by Daisy Hernandez
A coming-of-age memoir by a Colombian-Cuban woman about shaping lessons from home into a new, queer life
In this lyrical, coming-of-age memoir, Daisy Hernández chronicles what the women in her Cuban-Colombian family taught her about love, money, and race. Her mother warns her about envidia and men who seduce you with pastries, while one tía bemoans that her niece is turning out to be “una india” instead of an American. Another auntie instructs that when two people are close, they are bound to become like uña y mugre, fingernails and dirt, and that no, Daisy’s father is not godless. He’s simply praying to a candy dish that can be traced back to Africa.
These lessons—rooted in women’s experiences of migration, colonization, y cariño—define in evocative detail what it means to grow up female in an immigrant home. In one story, Daisy sets out to defy the dictates of race and class that preoccupy her mother and tías, but dating women and transmen, and coming to identify as bisexual, leads her to unexpected questions. In another piece, NAFTA shuts local factories in her hometown on the outskirts of New York City, and she begins translating unemployment forms for her parents, moving between English and Spanish, as well as private and collective fears.
A Cup of Water Under My Bed: A Memoir
Daisy Hernández is the coeditor of Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism and the former editor of ColorLines magazine. She speaks at colleges and conferences about feminism, race, and media representations, and her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Ms. magazine, CultureStrike, In These Times, Bellingham Review, Fourth Genre, and Hunger Mountain, and on NPR’s All Things Considered.
Publication date: 9/9/2014
- Biography & Autobiography | Personal Memoirs
- Social Science | Emigration & Immigration
- Gender Studies - Biography & Autobiography | LGBT
- Hernandez, Daisy -Family
- Young women -Family relationships - United States
- Colombian Americans - Cuban Americans -Bisexual women
- Identity (Psychology) -Women - New Jersey -Women journalists
- New York (State) -New York - Social conditions -1980
- BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY - Emigration & Immigration