Mama Ofelia

By Adriana Miranda

When I arrived in Mexico in 2018, I felt like I was meeting my grandma for the first time. I spent the earliest years of my life with her in Mexico, but I never had any memory of her. She remembered me of course, we’ve talked on the phone often, she recognized the toddler that used to spend so much time over there. However things were different now, I was grown up, out as a lesbian to everyone, and scared that maybe I wasn’t who she wanted me to be. Don’t get me wrong, the woman is a powerful, single business woman, a literal bruja, and a feminist in her own way. She has never been a fan of “staying in her place.” But she’s still my grandma from a small town in central Mexico, so I was still nervous.  

The second I arrived, all the fear was gone. She made me feel nothing but unconditional love and support. She started joking that Frida Kahlo was her girlfriend and favorite artist; just trying to show me that she recognized queer Mexican icons and make me feel more comfortable. She also started to compliment my tattoos and ask about them. As intimidated as I was initially, my week back in Mexico brought us so close, and we learned so much about each other. My grandma made me feel like if she, of all people, can love and celebrate who I am, I deserve nothing less. Before arriving, I had told myself, “even if she doesn’t accept me, it’s okay because we’re not that close,” but I underestimated how much of an impact it would have on me to receive her unconditional love and celebration. She truly changed how I view myself and my belonging in the world.  

This story is part of Her Life as Art: Coming Together Through Grandmother Stories, a unique, multi-dimensional, week-long series of events celebrating the wisdom and legacy of the grandmother figures in our lives, taking place Nov. 6 – 12, 2021 at the Kansas City United Church of Christ, 205 W. 65th St. KCMO, 64113. We invite you to view the art exhibit and attend other related events. For details, please visit www.kcucc.org.