You have an upcoming family event and your mother demands that you be on your best behavior (even though you are fully grown adult and are capable of making your own decisions). You brush it off and look over at the heels that will sink into your family member’s backyard that weekend. You’re excited because you’ll get to reconnect with some of your favorite primos and with probably half the world en el patio. Then, you remember about la tía chismosa and that changes things a bit.
Every Latinx family has a tía chismosa or even several tías chismosas. She’s the aunt who wants to know everything about you. You know, the one that’s always asking about el novio? YUP. Her. A lot of the times most of us politely dodge the questions (I still fear la chancla if I’m ever to be rude), but what if we were to truly answer these interview-like questions? Well, this is how I’d answer to a few of the questions if I wasn’t so afraid of that flying chancla.
Ah, yes. A classic ice-breaker. I myself usually go with “hello” first, but tías love policing anyone’s weight. At least wait until I’m done eating the three pastelitos on my plate before the flies get near them. In that moment I usually just laugh it up, but if I’m feeling confident, I’d really reply one of the following ways:
“Oh, I thought my faja would do a better job at covering all of that.”
“Yes, tía. I’m trying to catch up with you.”
“I’ve actually started bulking up. I might join CrossFit in two years.”
If anything, I say I’m bloated for the sixth consecutive month. That answer still makes la tía pat me lovingly on my shoulder and tell you that you’re still beautiful. Gee, thanks.
In reality, the gym has seen my face more than my own significant other and clean eating has become my norm. I’d say all of this, but there’s really no need to explain yourself to anyone. You know what you’re doing and you know what works best for you. Just keep it up.
Why can’t they ask about my morning instead? I’d honestly rather talk about that. The struggle to strategize an answer in 0.3 seconds, while she’s staring into your soul is real. The sweat starts trickling underneath my faja as I try to start executing my answer. “¿Mija?” She presses again as my attempt to vanish into thin air fails. “Ah, bueno tía. Todo bien.” Is that the best I can up with? No, the answer is no. I already answered it a thousand different ways in my mind:
“Well, tía. I wrote a poem about masturbation once and it received a lot of positive feedback. I’m very proud of that moment.”
“Hmmm. I’m still figuring it out. Is that okay with you? With the world?
“I’m thinking about moving to Denmark and see if those people are as happy as they claim to be.”
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I don’t feel like talking about my progress. Whether it’s filled with great accomplishments (or maybe it’s still under construction), I believe it is okay to keep some things to yourself. At least until you’ve decided to talk about it. There’s no rush to life, even if that’s how it feels. Share what you want. At the end of the day, it’s YOUR life. No one else is going to live it.
¿Mija, y El Novio?
I wasn’t going to forget about this one. The much-dreaded question. The “where is your boyfriend?” question. This one is even funner for me because I’m gay, so I have to get creative with the answer. Although, this is what I want to say:
“Why? Are you going to lend me yours?”
“Tía, don’t you have me on social media? No te hagas.”
“Well, newsflash! The woman standing next to me that I introduced as my amiga, is, in fact, my novia. Not novio, but novia.”
My love life is mine and mine only. I love to love and I’ll share what and who I love with whomever I please. Your love life should never be scrutinized by anyone, this includes la tía chismosa. If you want to blurt out all your love life and it makes you feel good, then do it. If it doesn’t make you feel good, then you’re allowed to keep that information for yourself.
Why Don’t You Come Over More Often?
I’m always amused by this question. To me, it seems like it’s apparent why the visits are so seldom, but maybe not everyone gets it. You’d think that anyone would understand the discomfort of going to a place where judgment is passed so openly. Why would anyone want to expose themselves to that environment? Yes, even if it’s your family. That doesn’t mean they aren’t toxic for your mental health and overall well-being. Of course, I do the generic: “I’m too busy” excuse as opposed to what I really want to say:
“Tía, can’t we just drink a beer in silence?”
“Oh, so you can pinpoint every little flaw?”
“I rather cuddle with my pet on most days, including today.”
This doesn’t mean I don’t love my family. I actually love most of them (including mi tía chismosa!) but these events can be taxing. The only thing I can suggest is to open conversation with them about why some questions can place a dark cloud on someone’s day. Maybe then it will be a more pleasant experience and la tía chismosa can become la tía que escucha.
Ultimately, I know that la tía chismosa is more than just her love for gossip. For the most part, she cares and wishes you many genuine bendiciones. Though annoying, she can still be sweet. All I know is that I would do anything to see the face of any tía if we were to say what’s really on our mind. What would you want to tell your tía?