What’s keeping me here is familiarity and great friends. I have an amazing support network that is better than my family most times. I can count on them in every way. I really do love my family, but I wonder if moving back there would slowly suffocate me. Would I really be alone there?
At 18 I left Mexico and moved to So. California for college. I feel like at that moment my parents and I parted ways. In some ways, after that they weren’t really a major part of my life. I’m sure they have a different take on that, but I felt alone. I didn’t realize that going to college made me an instant adult – I think someone forgot to add the magic adult powder to my drink. I feel like I was thrown in the deep end of the pool and told to swim when I didn’t know how. I had to figure out to do everything on my own in a country I hadn’t lived in for years. I was lost.
It’s funny because my dad makes a big deal about Mexicans having an amazing sense of family. Unlike white families they don’t kick their kids out at 18, but are there for them to continue to support and nurture them. That wasn’t my experience. They came to visit me twice in four years. My mom said coming to see me in school made her sad and jealous because she didn’t get that in her life. At 18, she got knocked up with me and had to flush her dreams down the toilet. Isn’t it amazing what sticks in your brain. She probably doesn’t even remember saying that, but I even recall what she was wearing when she said it.
If I wanted to see them I had to go back to Mexico, a place I hated. I didn’t feel like I had a home anywhere. My brother left for a while, but he went back, married a Mexican and has stayed close to my parents ever since. He did it the “right” way. I was the rebellious one. Then again, I left, I didn’t stay close. If I had stayed would they have been more active in my life?
At 18, I don’t know if I wanted to leave my parents as much as I wanted to get the hell out of Mexico. My time there bordered on traumatic. For example, we moved to Mexico and none of us knew how to speak Spanish. As a result, I was put in a lower grade, instead of going into 7th grade I was put into 6th. Now let’s think about this. Most Mexicans are short, so their children are downright diminutive. I am a virtual jolly green giant compared to them. I felt like Billy Madison or Robin Williams in that movie where he ages like 10 years a second. Then there was my favorite, when the teacher, who still blamed the U.S., and therefore me, for stealing Texas and California asked me what it was like to be white. I still don’t know how to answer that? I don’t even have a snappy comeback. Even now as I contemplate that question I just sit with a puzzled look on my face. I can feel my eyebrow furrow as my head cocks to the side and I ponder the implications of that question. What in the world is she talking about?
Why this regression down the highway of hell? I dont’ know. I lost my train of thought and was suddenly catapulted back to standing in front of the classroom trying to defend my forefathers and race, of which I am only half. Should I have offered retribution? Maybe I should have offered to call the president and see what we could do? At 12, I just went to sit down.
My parents were in Mexico on a mission from God. There were a lot of good things about Mexico and our time there, but also enough to shatter our family, we lived an image of what family should be. Acted like we were supposed to. Yet, we lost our ability to be a cohesive unit. We were all individual islands fighting for survival.
I digress. What does living in Ohio mean? Am I giving up my independence? There would have to be some serious boundaries. I just want to be a part of my family again. I want to be a part of the holidays, BBQ’s, I want them in my life. But in some ways when I go back there I become the 18 year old who wants to be protected, loved, supported, nurtured by her parents. I don’t want to be her anymore. I don’t like the role I play there. I want to be the 29 year old, educated, successful woman that I am in CA. Can I be that in Ohio? My family sees me a certain way, I don’t know if I like the image of me that they have. But do I know what they really think?
But again, I have to go to them. I have to do it on their terms. I just broke up with my boyfriend because he only wanted me in his life on his terms. Should I let my family get away with it? What about me and what I want? Problem is, I don’t know what I want or where I want to be.
That’s not entirely true. I want to be loved for me. I want people in my life who seek me out. Who care how I feel and what I think. Thank God for my friends here. They are my family.