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?