I Have and I Am. Tengo y Soy.
I’ve noticed that when I am speaking in Spanish, the words I use subtly change the way I perceive what I am talking about. In English, we use ‘I am” instead of “I have” to express our age, our hunger and thirst, feelings of hot or cold, and weight. When one says “I am hungry” or “I am tired” or “I am 29 years old”, temporary states of being become entangled in identity.
I turned 29 years old yesterday. My age has always seemed to be a strong part of my identity, in spite of the fact that it changes yearly. I think most Americans feel this way. It is very different to say “Tengo 29 anos”, or “I have 29 years”. When it isn’t what you are, but something you have, age seems to be less significant. Just like hunger and thirst, it is something that has come and will go.
Even when introducing yourself, you say “I am called” rather than “I am”. So if your age and name don’t define you, what does?
Y mas que todo, soy traviesa.
Que tienes tu? Y que eres? What do you have, and what are you? Are you your weight and age, or are those merely numbers you have, at the moment? You don’t have to speak Spanish to choose the latter.