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  • I have 26 first cousins, at least that are accounted for. That's on my dad's side, the Irish side. I never got to meet all of them, since as in most Irish families, there was always some sibling who had an issue with some other sibling (there were ten of them).

    Ah, what tales I was told. I had many cousins with the stereotypical black hair, but, I was told, none that did not have blue eyes -- except me of course. My fun-seeking and practical joke loving Irish uncles, especially Tommy and Teddy, used to call me "negrita", and tell me that I looked like the milkman, garbage collector, or my upstairs neighbor. I grew up thinking I may be adopted and lived in fear that my mom and dad would give me up someday, to my birth parents, who looked more like me.

    In my late 20's , I visited Ireland for the first time. It was at Shannon Airport that the guard, looking at my USA passport which said born in Argentina, looked at me in the eyes and said: "I don't care what your passport says, Coleen, you are Irish to me". Walking down the streets in Dublin and Cork, I saw myself in the faces of so many men and women who had dark hair and well, not blue eyes. More like hazel, greenish, irish eyes!

    But still I couldn't shake that feeling of not belonging to the Nealon clan, because, after all, I was the only cousin who did not have blue eyes. or was I? As it turns out, that was another myth blown to smithereens, when my cousin once removed Claudio Brian, huge brown eyes, told me that his dad, my first cousin, had big brown eyes too. Mmm...

    Despite the reality of my trip to Ireland and Claudio Brian's revelation, I still suffered from the you don't have blue eyes syndrome, which loosely translated in the mind of a child, means you are not as pretty as the rest.

    A few years ago, I changed the color of my contacts to a slighter greener tone. Many people did not notice. My kids did. My mother kept looking at me as if something was different, finally asking if I had always had that color eyes. "Yes, of course I have", I answered.

    (A self protrait of my eyes, my right one with a greenish lens, the other one the non blue , natural one. )

    Cuidado con lo que le decis a tus hijos!

    Tengo 26 primos hermanos, por lo menos reconocidos. Del lado de mi papa, el lado irlandes. No los llegue a conocer a todos, porque, tipica familia irlandesa, en algun momento u otro habia siempre un hermano (habian diez) que estaba peleado o peleado con otro.

    Ah, los cuentos que me contaron! Muchos de mis primos tenian el pelo negro, tipico irlandes, pero todos, excepto yo, tenian ojos celestes, o asi me decian. Y mis tios, llenos de chistes irlandeses, me llamaban "la negrita" y que era parecida al lechero, el basurero o el vecino de arriba. Siempre pense que era adoptada, y pase mi vida pensando que un dia vendrian a buscarme mis padres de verdad, que se parecian a mi.

    A los 28 anios, visite Irlanda por la primera vez. Fue en el aeropuerto de Shannon que el oficial, mirando mi pasaporte americano que dice "nacida en argentina", me dijo: no me importa lo que diga tu documento, "coleen", vos sos irlandesa. Caminando por las calles, me vi en la cara de la gente de pelo muy negro, y de ojos, bueno, no celestes, si no verdes, verdaceos, castanios, verde irlandes!

    Pero no podia sacarme de la mente el sentimiento de no pertenecer al clan Nealon, porque al fin y al cabo, era la unica prima con ojos NO celestes. O no? Cuando conoci a mi primo segundo Claudio Brian, el me conto que su papa, mi primo hermano, tenia ojos marrones. Otro mito destrozado!

    Y a pesar de mi viaje a Irlanda y los ojos marrones y hermosos de Claudio, segui sufriendo del sindroma de no tener ojos celestes, que en la mente de una criatura quiere decir que no sos tan linda como los otros.

    Hace un par de anios, remplace mis lentes de contacto por unos con un poco de tono verde. Mucha gente no se dio cuenta. Mi hijos, si. Mi mama, mirandome como si hubiera algo extranio en mi, finalmente me pregunto si siempre habia tenido ese color de ojos. "Por supuesto" le conteste.

    (auto retrato de mis ojos, el derecho mas verde, el izquierdo no celeste y mi color natural)
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