Chapters. If you divided your life into chapters what would you call them? What chapter are you in now? What chapter is next?
1. Little Tica: I recall my early years in Costa Rica. Excursions with my mom (who I was instructed to address as ‘Betty‘) and way-older boyfriend to the beach house. My life was not much bigger than my mother, our house, my barrio and school.
2. New York, New York: In December of 1992, days before Christmas, Betty moves us to Queens to live with my grandmother. I enter second grade in a local public school with a bilingual setting. I excel rapidly at English, am placed in regular English-speaking class by the fourth grade. By this grade, it is also discovered that I am squinting at everything and need glasses. Enter insecurity-issues. By sixth grade, American parents have noticed that I address my mother by first name and have pressured her into forcing me to call her ‘Mom.’
3. Black Girl Lost: Through most of my school years I identified with what people had assumed I was… ‘light-skinned.’ I had no real connection to Costa Rica, having never traveled back home nor kept any tico traditions at home. All I had were the isolated memories and current events that may have been slightly addressed in grown-folks conversations. My family looked no different than any other African-American family, and I never felt any real need to make any distinctions.
4. Lonely, Only Child: I went through tough bouts of depression in my pre-teen and teenage years. Mom and I were never really close as mother-daughter, and the fact that she kept constant boyfriends in between us didn’t help. I journaled a lot, to the point that my writing would get me in trouble when it was
discovered snooped by Mom. Mom also had an overpowering fear that I would become a teenage mother, and was extremely stiffling. Eventually, since I couldn’t leave the house, I learned to use the internet as a way to recreate myself. I could become anyone I wanted to online. I chatted with older men online, being an utter attention-craver, but never went as far as meeting them.
5. College Daze: Upon HS graduation, I began to differentiate between Black people and me. The difference was 9 digits, and I didn’t have them. I wasn’t born in the United States, I was an immigrant. No immigration status translated into no hopes for college since I didn’t have the luxury of financial aide.
6. Fatherly Duties: Through the grace of God, my father (who had been estranged most of my childhood years), an American citizen, expresses wishes to file an application for me to obtain residency. It was not an easy process, but it gets done months before the deadline of my 21st birthday. I finish my Associate’s Degree on academic scholarship, and graduate with a BA degree in English in 2010. Through 4 years of my undergrad, I’m also employed full time as a legal secretary.
I guess I would call the Chapter I’m in right now, Adulthood, but that sounds so cliche. Currently, I’m a grad-school hopeful, tired of a job and looking for my career. Trying to find a place in this world where I fit. I want to work in the field that was pre-destined for me. I want to be the minority in this world who loves what they do.
The next chapter I hope will be called Commitments. As much as I try to make myself sound like this flighty, free-spirit I do long for stability. I do want to start a family, where a husband is key to the equation. I’m trying not to be cynical about marriage although it’s hard to be hopeful when all I see is ruins from couples who didn’t make it. I also long to be someone’s Mama, because bringing a life into this world is also another reason why no one can ever convince me that God does not exist. I want to be part of miracle-making, be honored with the task of a light-bearing Mama.
What chapter of life are you currently in?
10 thoughts on “ReCording Life: Traces of She”
We share a similar childhood when it comes to being a young insecure black teen with a overpowering mother who too thought I would end up a teen mom but I’ve overcome and am now in my adulthood chapter. Im finishing up a defree, pursuing mt dream career, and looking into purchasing my cousins condo. It’s interesting, exciting, scary for lack of a better word, fun, …I can’t wait to see what great things life has in store!
I am sure we were not the only one’s with strict mothers, it’s hard to say that I don’t thank her for it. Of course to me she was excessive but who knows were I would be if she wasn’t? You are in a very exciting point in life, maybe it’s not where you want to be, but cherish every moment…even the trials.
Good post, I got to know you a little bit more! Made me really think about what I should call the chapter I’m in rigth now, well right now I’m int he chapter you in. lol
I can say this to you, even though a lot of peoples or not making it in the marriage business, doesnt mean you should give up having a good one. I thought like you a few times and sometimes I still do. But I know all comes down to you and whoever you marry and GOD! I truly believe GOD got to be in the marriage for it to work out. You seem like you going to be a wonderful mother. I can’t wait to read more about you while taking JOURNEY with you. God Bless 🙂
I had did chapters when it came to love, Actually got catty on my blog call Love JOURNEY, poems and question from different times in my life.
I will have to check those LOVE chapters out, sounds interesting. I’m trying to keep hope in marriage, but it’s hard not to look at statistics and wonder..what makes me any different? Thanks for stopping by.
I’d read this book, too! What a great post, its interesting to see how our lives are “written”. keep looking for that work you love. i spent 10 years between college and grad school just figuring out what would really make me happy. now i wake up happy to go to work in the morning and nothing could be better!
I intend to keep looking, hopefully in the end I won’t be in too much debt.
Thanks for stopping by Rachel!
Beautifully written. My cousin grew up calling her mom Carlene and still does I thought it strangely fascinating. I’m glad your father came through and you were able to get your education as you deserved to.
I’m came to Canada as an immigrant also, life wasn’t too bad here. Didn’t experience the Black Girl Lost phase, I was surrounded by so many immigrant kids like myself my group was like the UN. Friends from countries I’d never dream I’d meet people from. I’m not pleased with my career choice, so I’m back to school in September and like you hoping for career instead of this job I feel stuck with. Also feeling the yearning to marry and start a family. I want babies and I don’t want to do it without a husband either.
Love this post.
That’s great, sounds like we have a lot in common. Get those goals rolling! And I do hope that family happens for us, whenever it’s meant to. I don’t want to loose hope.
This made me heart you even more. I admire you so much more so knowing the backstory with your education. But you’re not a gradschool hopeful, you’re going!! I can’t wait to see what other chapters unfold in your life. Though, I have to tell you it’s ok to believe in marriage and not be cynical. My parents will have been married 28 years in September. You haven’t met the one yet because God is still preparing you for the other 🙂
My chapter would be called, ‘Channing revisted.’ I’m learning to find myself and what really makes me tick. And happy.
Thanks for leaving your trace Chan. I wrote that back in December before I had even sent most of my apps out– and look at God. Now I’m on my way…still writing that story.