Wednesday, November 07, 2012
The unappreciated undocumented life
In the past, I've never fully appreciated my experiences growing up undocumented. For the longest time, I saw everything from a negative lens, and even now, there are times in which my first reactions are negative ones. It's a lot easier to hate than to appreciate. First of all, I'm a sucker for oppression games. If you didn't share similar or worse experiences in terms of where and how you grew up, I'd be quick to dismiss you and your personal experiences because in my view, you haven't struggled enough.
It's a petty and limited view of things and I've realized that over time. I still work at checking myself when I start to fall into old habits like that and when I do have something to say, I think about it before putting my foot in my mouth, as such is the case most of the time. Reflecting reminded me of a lot of things I take for granted because as I've gotten older, so have my views and interpretations of past experiences. I've been redefining my past experiences from negative to positive, at least trying to.
There are somethings that I will never change my mind on. Not just yet. But there are numerous other things that I have move forward on, primarily experiences that guided my view toward a negative one. For far too long I always blamed being undocumented for my families lifestyle and my own. It was the easiest thing to do. Because of X, access Y and Z were restricted and thus, we must make do with other random letters in the alphabet used in math equations as variables.
Alas, all that logic ever got me was anger and hate toward concepts I couldn't understand at the time, but now I do understand them and more importantly, appreciate them. My family comes from a working class background. The way my sisters and I were raised was not unusual, but definitely disconnected in terms of expressing affecting,support and love in positive ways. I take comfort when I have friends who share similar experiences, aside from those of growing up in the hood, poor and coming from a working class family.
The thing was, I never felt ashamed in any sort of way until I got to an age in which I started comparing my experiences with others. It's my own fault really, thinking that because my life didn't resemble the one's I saw in family sit comes, that it was a negative one. That we weren't doing something right. Teenage angst made things worse and everything just started going to hell from there. I had no motivation to do good in school, to continue on to college or have any kind of plan. I was just at home reading comics, playing video games and eating hot Cheetos.
It's taken time for me to be where I'm at right now. Reflecting and analyzing things in my life to put a positive meaning behind them wasn't and still isn't easy. I had no confidence to speak of. I questioned my self at every turn. I just wanted to got back into my cave and hide from the world. But it was with the helps of friends that I did the opposite, kicking and dragging my feet really.
I can't help but chuckle now when I think back on those times and how confused and lost I was. And in certain ways, I still am. But now, more than ever, I appreciate the kind of life I have lived. I have been able to redefine things on my own terms for me and no one else. I've managed to turn into a life style that I enjoy and want to continue building on. Honestly, if I just keep moving forward, things will get better and I will get to a point in which I'll no longer need to redefine anything because I'll be creating.