Love moves beyond nostalgia.
I live still in a moving river with competing cultures on ether side of me. My family shares both the Mexican and American culture. Most of the members have found a place in one or the other. Some of my family can go into two both without struggle. I continued to live on the edge of them. One culture claimed the mantel of greatness, and the other complained about how the other oppressed its land, its people, and even its pride. I learn to make peace with both, while never belonging to either. Both are proud nations filled with their own histories and myths. I am uncomfortable on the border of both. Mine is the shifting ground of a fault line between the two lands crashing into each other.
My mother held citizenship in both Mexico and United States as I would until the age of eighteen. Selective Service then forced me to choose. I lost the feel of the Mexican culture long before that moment, so the choice was automatic. I chose prosperity and English. Spanish has mystery and poetry. My mother was different. She found comfort in the crevices between the two worlds. She could speak in both cultures. She would marry both a Mexican and an immigrant who pass through New York.
My father was a proud Mexican, who tolerated the American culture. He, after I turned seven, would disappear from my life for three decades. My parents spilt when I was barely able to walk, but my father continued with the occasional visits until he fought with my mother. They argued about something doing between adults, and after this, my father’s pride would not allow him to visit his first of children. If he could not have his terms, then he refused to have his first girls and boy. He was too proud for that. I can hear his pride through his thirty-year silence. Pride leads to violence of abandonment. It was not until later that I learn the reasons of the fight. My mother’s pride stopped any explanation. My father just disappeared. Soon, no one spoke about him as if he was dead, or never existed. I was left to myself to make up reasons as to why he vanished from my life. A pride has no room for others and lives alone even if the bed contains another. Pride chokes love. We live in a proud world, which in turn creates the ground of who we will be.
Love and violence formed the context of my birth. I am like the rest of humanity. Like all those before me, I was born to this proud world of negation and violence. I grew up, like all children, with horrors and joys of humanity playing in the background. The details and events may change, but the forces remain the same. A universal neurosis and sin would shape me as I started to learn to walk. Nevertheless, I knew love beyond myself in my flowing blood and in my mother’s hands as she held me. I breathed in life into my new nostrils. I was the youngest and the only male child of a Mexican family to survive. I have heard rumors of another boy before me, who died either before birth or shortly after in a freak accident. I am not sure what was his fate. Again, there was a silence from pride. They only told the story through the cracks in the silence. The incomplete story would haunt me because of what I was born with. Was I a disappointment because of my birth defect? Would they want what they lost before my birth?
Did they want a whole male?