What are you looking for?
4 months ago · · life,
I’m not sure where this post will end up going. I just feel like I need to write some stuff down. I’m not sure what stuff though. There’s a lot flying around in my head these days. I think I’ll just write what pops into my head. It might not make much sense.
I went to Texas with my father and younger sister this past June. Part of the trip was to see my older sister and her husband. (It feels weird saying that my sister is married. I’m only 16 and she’s 24. She didn’t have a wedding ceremony either, she and her husband just got married at the courthouse.) But another part of the trip was to Big Bend National Park. They have a crossing there where you can enter Mexico and visit a little town. We didn’t have passports, so we couldn’t do that, but we also visited a cliff overlooking the Rio Grande.
On this cliff, there are items for sale. The locals from the town across the border will cross the river at night and bring these items with them to sell. They set them up on the cliff and have a lockbox where people can deposit money. It works on an honour system.
Technically, you aren’t allowed to purchase these items, because it “supports illegal immigration”. But my father decided to buy something anyway because this money is what those people live off of. They had a sign asking people to purchase stuff and gave prices. It was all pretty cheap, really. So we bought a mug with a road runner painted on it. (Oh, yeah. In typical Latin American fashion, there were mugs and canes and other stuff all painted in beautiful colors and designs.) You know those little trinkets that have a spring inside them attached to one part and when you push the part it kinda moves back and forth a little? They had a penguin with a cowboy hat on and it’s arms waved at you. It was really cute. I would’ve bought it but we didn’t have enough mo yeah for that and the mug, so we just got the mug. The mug was $10 US I think. We put the money in the lockbox and left shortly after.
But while we were standing there looking out over the Rio Grande into Mexico, I couldn’t stop thinking about how I wished I had brought my wallet with me. I had money in there that I could’ve put in the box to support them. I had no way of knowing we would find this place or all these items for sale, but I was still beating myself up about it. I wouldn’t have even bought anything, I would’ve just put the money in the box to help them, support them. But I couldn’t.
See, the thing is: I’m Latino. I was adopted when I was seven months old and came to the US and have lived here ever since. So I am in all respects, American. My adoptive family is American and they’re all white. So my whole life, I’ve been surrounded by white Americans. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. My family is incredible and I love them and am grateful for this life I’ve been given, but there’s always a part of me that’s going “what if? What if you hadn’t been adopted? What if you had lived your life as someone else?” I was adopted from Guatemala, not Mexico, but still. These people look like me, we’re from the same region (sort of), this could have been my life. And I wanted so badly to be able to give more to them, to be able to do more for them. I don’t care if I’m not supposed to do it. These are my people. I want to help them.
For the rest of that day and a few days after, I felt immense guilt for not doing more. Part of me knew couldn’t do anything more, but a louder part kept yelling at me. It kept telling me I had failed. Failed to help my people.
After a few days I was able to reason myself out of that hole and acknowledged that I did all I could. But every now and then, my mind brings it up and I go through the same guilt all over again.
Maybe it’s because my biological family is still in Guatemala. They aren’t well off either. My adoptive family sends money to them periodically, and they’re able to live well enough, but I will always be better off than them. And I don’t like that. It’s like a strange form of survivor’s guilt. I ask myself: “Why me? Why was I the one given up? Why do I deserve this life anymore than any of them do?” I know my bio father abandoned my mother before I was born. She filled out paperwork when I was being adopted and she knows, or at least put down, nothing about my father. I don’t know his name, age, profession, or family history. She also put that I was born due to lack of birth control, so maybe it was a one night stand kinda thing? I don’t know. Maybe I was a mistake or an accident. I’ll more than likely never know much about my family background or history.
It kinda weighs heavy on my mind. I don’t know what I am. I know who i am according to my upbringing and environment. My parents didn’t ever try to hide the fact that I was adopted. How could they? All I ever have to do is take one look in a mirror and I can see, clear as day, that I look nothing like them. It’s never really bothered me before because I was never made to feel different by them. They are my family and I am their son. I am my sisters’ brother. They are the only family I’ve ever known. They are my family.
I have sometimes wondered why they decided to adopt me. They already had one child from my mother’s previous marriage. And they have another from their marriage. And they have me. I am the middle child. Why was I adopted by them? Why did they decide to adopt their second kid? I’ve never asked them because it feels, I dunno, weird, you know? What am I supposed to say? “Hey mom and dad, why’d you adopt me?” No, it just feels too weird.
I’m also the middle child in my bio family. Well, one of the middle children. I have two brothers, one older and one younger. I also have a sister who is much older than me, but I don’t know pretty much anything about her. I know she has a kid, so I am technically an uncle.
I just feel out of phase with both sides of me. I don’t really belong here in the US, but I also don’t belong in Guatemala. “All my life I’ve been too white for some people and too brown for others.”
Another thing I’ve been thinking about recently is how I’m losing faith in the concept of marriage.
Growing up, I never really saw my parents doing the typical couple things. At least not in my mind. They slept in separate rooms, which I kinda get. My father snores incredibly loud and mother often tosses and turns in her sleep. I can’t think of a single time I saw my father kiss my mother either. Maybe it’s weird to say that. But I just don’t have any memory of them d kissing or holding hands or cuddling on the couch. I do remember that they would fight sometimes. I mean that’s normal for all couples, but I think it’s weird that I can’t remember them showing affection for each other, but I can remember them fighting. There’s one fight in particular I remember. My parents were getting into in the kitchen and my sister and I went outside to get away from it. All I can remember beyond that is the sound of glass breaking and my mom crying in a kitchen chair when we came back in the house. I don’t know where my dad went, but I’d don’t think he was there. My mother wasn’t hurt and I know my dad wouldn’t hit her. She just seemed shaken. That’s the clearest fight I can remember. I do recall often thinking to myself, “Just get a divorce already.” when I heard them fight. And then one day, they did. And it hit me like a god damn brick. I felt like I’d just been kicked in the stomach and had all the air knocked out of my lungs. Even after hearing them fight and seeing my mother go for a drive afterwards to calm down, I never much thought of them actually splitting up. There was about a two year period before the divorce where they were separated. My father was living with his dad and my mother was still living at the house. I always somewhat thought they might get back together. They seemed to be trying to. My mom renamed my dad in her contacts list as “hubby”. A term which she had not once used before and a word that also happens to get on my nerves. But in the end it didn’t matter. They split up and have moved on. They remain on good terms though. My dad lives 20 minutes away and my sister and I split our week between households. I understand why they split and I’m happy for them. They both seem happier now. My mother has boyfriend who she really loves. They do all the sickeningly sweet couple things that my parents never did. My father is still single, but he seems ok with that. And I’m truly happy for both of them.
Back to why I don’t believe in marriage as much as I used to. I’ve just seen so many marriages end in bad ways. The worst was my older cousin’s. He had been going out with this girl for like, 7 years, before asking her to marry him. She said yes and all was fine. They get married and have a lovely wedding that I was forced to go to. I don’t much care for social gatherings. Then, like six months after the wedding, she comes to him with the divorce papers, slaps them down on the table and says she’s not happy anymore. Turns out, she’d found herself a sugar daddy who owned a bar. She was with my cousin for eight years and it’s all gone in an instant. Like it never mattered. And this was completely unexpected by everyone in the family. She’d always seemed like a level-headed girl with some common sense. But I guess not. It absolutely wrecked my cousin for a good while. But he’s doing all right now. Got himself a nice job and girlfriend. He’s got a little baby daughter now, too. So he’s happy now and he really deserves to be. After a what he’s been through, he deserves some peace and quiet. (Well, as much peace and quiet as can be had when you have to take care of a new baby)
So I don’t have much faith in marriages. I’d still like to be married some day, but that requires that someone be interested in me that way and I don’t see that happening anytime soon. That’s okay though. I am only 16 after all. I’ve got time. I’m in no rush. Plus I still have to take care of some mental issues that I’m dealing with right now. Depression, anxiety, stress. For now, I’m content to just work on myself and focus on my career and future. I do get lonely sometimes though. I don’t really have friends in my life I can talk to about this stuff, which is why my posts on here tend to be ridiculously long. But if you made it this far, thank you for taking the time to listen to my thoughts. It’s nice knowing that I can express myself on this platform.