You wouldn’t know it at first glance. You wouldn’t know it by the way I act or the things I say, it takes time but once you know me you’ll realize I try hard to be an inclusive person. At my core I am perhaps one of the most judgmental and elitist person you can meet.
But before you judge you have to hear me out. I grew up in an affluent neighborhood of Mexico City, with my mother, her parents and my aunt. The first memories I have are of dinner parties and afternoon tea with my grandmother’s friends. As I grew up my grandmother who I would spend most of my days with taught me the difference between ‘our kind of people’ or ‘people that were not’ like the indigenous people asking for money in the corner of the church. They gave Mexico a bad name she would say as she gave them a few pesos. It wasn’t that my grandmother was a bad person, it was just the way she lived.
I went to school a few blocks away from my house. Everyone in that school was from the same neighborhood, except this one little girl. whose mother worked as a maid for someone’s house. She would walk very far to get to that school, and we made her life a living hell. You see my best friend and I, we were the ‘cool’ kids in our classroom and collectively we decided she didn’t belong there. We once made her believe she could sit with us at lunch only to grab her lunch box and throw it over the fence. She was not very happy about it and neither was my mother when she got called into the office that afternoon. However, I never really got in trouble for it aside from my mother telling me “that is not a nice thing to do.”
But you see it wasn’t just us. When we chose roles to hold a Wizard of Oz play she raised her hand and said she wanted to be Dorothy. The teacher shook her head and said we need someone that looks good, you can be the Wicked Witch to scare people. I of course was Dorothy and Alejandra my best friend was Glenda the Good Witch. It was just accepted behavior and we just grew up like that.
Coming to America was one of those cruel jokes life likes to play on you. My parents had been divorced and my father thought it would be a good idea to leave the country and come to California. In a long and complicated story that never really involved economics we ended up in a tiny apartment in Orange County. It was hard, we didn’t have a backyard, or someone to come clean the house for us, we didn’t go shopping all the time and God help us we had mismatched china for Christmas dinner!
And suddenly I was the one that didn’t quite fit in at school. Although California has always been an inclusive state I still felt different. It was not my native tongue, everyone had different colored skin and hair and it was so strange. I cried myself to sleep a lot during those early years, missing my family, my friends, my home. In the end time healed the nostalgia somewhat, I excelled at school, my family came to visit and the normal continuance of life went on. But America had opened my eyes to what it was like being on the other side of things; and I became less divisive.
Tuesday was surreal because I have never cared so much about an election, because despite my mother’s baffled shock (I rarely cry), I went to bed and cried. It’s not that I’m really afraid of the future, it’s not that I hate the opposite party, or that I truly believe Trump is racists (or most of his voters for that matter), it’s just that it made me think about how deeply divided we are. As I watched the map turn red I saw ‘the other America’ the one that doesn’t have bonfires by the beach to celebrate Hispanic Month, or African American Month, the one that is not California pride parades or Kumbaya hand holding as we light the tree in Downtown Disney. I realized how shelter we are in the west coast, or in the major metropolitan cities for that matter, how far disconnected we are with the rest of the nation that yearns for jobs and a better life. I don’t know what the way is from here but I do know we will be okay. You know why? Because we are humans, we are resilient, America has survived, the world has survived. We’ve been through wars, natural disasters, assassinations, poverty and hate. We will survive because the world can’t be perfect, because life is a cycle of good and bad, a ying and yang, a heaven and hell.
We just have to keep going, keep doing what we love, keep working to be the beacon of light we demand of others and keep exploring the world, cultures, history. Because nothing and no one can stop us from our dreams. #adventure is out there!
And I just bought a new car to go on more adventures to shake of the post election blues!! ❤