As I sit here and work on a conflict regarding Duroville (look it up if you don’t know). I am mixed with lots of emotions. I literally feel tears building in my eyes and a knot in my throat. Why? I am not sure. What I do know, is that the last couple of weeks I’ve had an overwhelming sense of pride, fear, hope and even sadness. Sometimes I feel bipolar, sometimes I feel like I haven’t yet learned to truly appreciate what I have been given, sometimes I feel selfish for wanting more and giving less (I mean this is reference to time and opportunity). Sometimes I think way more than any person should.
As many of you know I am an open book when it comes to sharing my fears, defeats and victories, primarily because I think that many times we all feel the same but are afraid to be judged. I am no different but I chose to believe that maybe, just maybe I can help someone see they are better than what they see themselves as. In my short 28 years I have seen, experienced and learned a lot. Some would say I have grown up faster than the average 28 year old, perhaps, this is true but I would not change it for anything in the world. Learning to accept who I am has not been easy, nor is it a process that has and “end”.
Oprah once said “we all have a truth and we must live it”. No two people live the same truth but I along with millions of people live every single day with a truth that carries a heavy burden and fear. I am undocumented, yes! Shocking I know. Today, I can stand tall and firmly say I have learned to love my identity. I know many of you might be thinking “ OK Betty, calm down with the DREAMer pride” but stay with me and maybe you will see there is more to it than that.
Looking back, I consciously never allowed any law or stereotype to define my undocumented identity. I always knew what I DID NOT want to be, early on, I decided that I was different. Stay with me! Not different in the sense that I was better than anyone, different like; I knew I could do great things as long as I applied myself and worked hard. I am undocumented but that is only a small part of who I am. When I am asked “when and how did you find out about your status” I tend to laugh. No, its not funny but I ALWAYS knew. Maybe, its the fact that I was always looking for answers or simply the fact that my parents never had any reservation in telling me the truth. Whatever the case might be, I chose to make the best of it. Did I have fear growing up? You bet! no child likes to think of the possibility of having their parent taken away or imagining what it would be like if “la migra came”. As a teen I missed out on taking drivers ed, on traveling with my friends, as an adult I have been forced to pass up on great work opportunities, travel and simply being able to enter something as simple as a bar or nightclub due to the fact my only form of ID is a matricula.
I said it once and I will say it again, who I am today is not solely based on the country I was born in, my native language, how I got to this country or my current status. YES! They all play a role but they do not define me. You might be asking yourself what caused this rant? Well, tomorrow is election day and unlike many of you I do not have the privilege of being able to cast a vote. The reasons are obvious, but regardless of what tomorrow’s outcome is this is what I know for sure.
1. I am more than the label that is put upon me and millions of others that live in the shadows.
2. Neither DACA or a “standard” legalization processes, can ever erase any of my experiences (good or bad) but you better believe I look forward to be given the opportunity to prove myself and why I deserve to be here.
If you can vote and you don’t please do not complain!