Saturday, January 16, 2010


It's funny how I have so much to say, but all of the words seem to be trapped inside. It's not even for lack of content - I have pages of blog ideas and half-written posts floating around in various Moleskines.

I think part of it is because I don't want to have to face all of these thoughts and feelings - sometimes it's nicer to simply pretend they don't exist. Part of me is worried of being overwhelmed by the negativity - like Atlas who had to shrug because of the weight of the world on his shoulders. And the biggest part of me just wants to move forward and simply put everything behind me, but I'm beginning to learn that the past tends to leach onto you and follow you around until you acknowledge its presence.

So I think it's high time I get over it. There are a lot of things I didn't even know I thought or felt until I wrote them down, so write I shall. Above all else, this blog is for me - to explore my thoughts, ideas and see where I end up. I just didn't bank on it being such a painful and difficult process.

I started the process already by writing a really long letter to the parentals and an aunt and uncle. I feel like things have reached a breaking point, and the next few weeks and months will be really pivotal. I cringe every time I think of the letter though, b/c I'm not so used to putting so much out there and feeling so vulnerable. I'm dreading the discussion about it that I'm supposed to have with a couple of them today.

Regardless of what happens with the letter, I hope to continue the process through blogging. And just say what I need to say and deal with what follows.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Something Has to Give

And you're like a paper aeroplane
That never seems to land
Flying blind through anything
Straight into the hand that chokes you
Each time you try to live

And the earth will turn below you
The pressure is building
And something has to give

I feel as if my life up to this point has been purely reactionary, in that it's only responded to and been affected by the various (mostly shitty) situations that have arisen; my life in and of itself, as an entity of its own, removed from these situations - doesn't exist. Or so it feels.

I feel as if I've lost my way, and because I was never on a true path to begin with, I don't even know where to begin finding everything for the first time.

I feel as if life has been full of objects, things, situations, anxiety - but has been lacking the things of substance, the intangible things that make a life with few material objects but full of personal experiences, strong relationships, and a comfortable identity a life fully worth cherishing.

I feel as if I don't make sense and I don't even know where to begin, or even worse, if there is no beginning and I simply have to create one. As they say, you can't forget the past. But what if your past is empty, a shell full of events and times and dates, but no meaning to it all? Like an egg with no yolk in its center, left with an inability to produce life.

I feel like interacting with people is the last thing I want to do, but I feel that whatever IT is that is weighing so heavily cannot be conquered in isolation.

I feel like I feel too much yet I don't mean anything. Or maybe it's that I don't know what anything means.

At least pain grips you tightly and makes you feel acutely alive. To be this numb, I believe, is far worse, because life without feeling is just [ ]. Emptiness.

I've finally learned that filling the emptiness with mere objects will not do, because objects are temporary. And I've learned that there's very little from what I now hope is my "old life" that I would like to keep. And so here is my big globe of Emptiness and I need deep, meaningful things to fill it with.

But what?

I just want a life rich with meaning and substance and relationships and passions and pursuits. I want something to look forward to. I want to feel as if I'm growing and progressing, but here I sit four and a half years after my senior year in high school and while the state of affairs in my universe seem different, they don't feel better.

College is supposed to be this hokey time for personal development and experimentation, but for me it's just been more of the same - court, school, work, "activism," rinse and repeat, almost literally. And I just the term activism loosely, but that post will soon come.

I know what I want - the numbness to go away - but it's been hard to motivate myself to bring change. And so I've been losing my way.

So I hope this is the first baby step. I have to try, even though I hate the thought as much as a 2 year old hates spinach. It doesn't even matter if I'm stepping in the right direction - any direction will do.

And so I breathe.

And so I step.

This will (hopefully) be quite a journey, though I can't promise the present level of bitchiness I'm feeling will dissipate soon.

So along for the ride comes Patience.

And off we go.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Update: Dreams in Decline

It's hard to believe that a year and a half has passed since I first started this blog. So much, but so little, has happened in that period of time, so here's a summary of events.

  1. Fall 2005 was my senior year in high school, and things were going relatively well. I had a strong academics background and was planning on appyling to great schools, most of which were out of state. During Thanksgiving, while filling out college applications, I came across a common Dreamie problem (before I knew I was a Dreamie): I was neither a citizen nor a permanent resident nor an international student, so what box was I to check? Immigration was never really discussed in our family, and so all I knew and what I told people, was that our status was "pending," which was tecnhincally true. Hurricanes Rita and Katrina hit, resulting in a horrible 3 hour drive that should have taken 15 minutes. New Orleans is underwater and Houston opens its arms.
  2. Spring 2006 was my last semester as a high school student, and also my hardest semester. I applied to state schools once I found out about HB 1403 in Texas and got in. A medical problem at the beginning of the semester forced me to miss a lot of school, to the point where I was at risk of not graduating. There were MRIs, neurological consults, and numerous prescriptions to deal with. Once that died down, another problem arose: Our petition that had been pending all this time was denied. I began looking into international university options, but my immigration status here, or lack thereof, made the transition seem very difficult, if not impossible. My calculus teacher sang the "O Canada" song to me to cheer me up, but it only makes me sad thinking about it now. Multiple visits to our high school's Career Center made me realize how many scholarhsips I qualified for but could not apply for b/c of my status. I had to downgrade my dreams, but we settled on me staying in the city so I could live at home and still go to school. I did receive an Academic Excellence scholarship for about half of my costs, so I was grateful. I graduated from high school in the top 1% of my class, something I'm prouder of now than I think I was then.
  3. Summer 2006: We received a Notice to Appear in immigration court because our petition had been denied and we had overstayed our visas waiting for the petition result. This was the first summer of uncertainty, the first of many. Because of an influx of Hurricane Katrina victims, our apartment complex informed us that we'd have to move out. The apartment complex down the street we planned to move into had a mix-up, and there was a month delay. We had nowhere to stay, so we moved our stuff into storage and used a $1,500 local scholarship I'd received to pay for a motel and food for a month. When I wasn't working, I googled all summer, learning the ins and outs of the immigration court system. This is also the summer I learned about the DREAM Act and joined DAP. I remember my elation at having found other people who related to what I was going through, and how close I am to some of those people to this day. This was also I think our first time in court: an unassuming little brick building in a nice neighborhood downtown. The building that changed lives.
  4. Fall 2006: My first time in college. My first time commuting an hour each way in one of the largest cities in the U.S. My first time holding down 2 jobs while attending school full time. The first time, and last time I believe, in my life I got a C in a class, English of all things. The first, and last, time that my GPA was lower than the 3.5 needed to make the Dean's list. Nightmares about immigration and ICE. The time I think I slowly began to unravel, slowly began to lose my grip. Another court date, another continuance.
  5. Spring 2007: More of the same. Panic attacks. Quit one job because I was so worn out. Decided I wanted to be a math major. The Freshman 15 is no joke.
  6. Summer 2007: More work. A in Calculus III. Another court date somewhere in here. 
  7. Fall 2007: Math major getting increasingly difficult. Another court date. Sucky lawyer takes over our case. The sad demise of the DREAM Act. Papa Durbin. Decided to be a double major in Math and Finance. Finally reached 5'2". 
  8. Spring 2008: Intermediate Macroeconomics inspired me to major in Economics. Dreamed I could actually triple-major for a second. Bad thing #1 happened - back on medication for a while. Doctors find a para-spinal cyst in an X-ray of my little sister. 
  9. Summer 2008: Surgeon consultations for the cyst. Options seem to be either going in with a scope or a full opening of her chest cavity. Our pediatrician doesn't think she'll survive a full chest surgery, so scope it is. 
  10. Fall 2008: New most horrible semester. One week before the semester begins, the school revokes my academic scholarship, ex post facto, b/c of a new policy of only offering scholarships to citizens and permanent residents. Instead of being rewarded for hard work, I was being punished for lack of a piece of paper. Bad thing #2 happens and I'm lucky to be alive. A week later, my sister has surgery and the cyst is removed. A few days later, complications arise and she's sent to Pediatric Intensive Care and put on a ventilator. Hard to deal with - her chest tube, the machine that's breathing for her, the pain she's in, and all the other families with sick kids in the waiting room. A little more than a week later and she's thankfully breathing on her own, and eventually we get to go home. Hurricane Ike and our city is hurting, but eventually pulls through. Galveston is devastated; almost entirely wiped out. 
  11. Spring 2009: Most challenging semester yet academically. Maybe I want a Ph.D. in Economics. I join a club and let myself stop worrying so much about immigration. I even semi-make some friends. Boy crush...or two...or three. Start tutoring. Feel for the first time that the world is my oyster. Hope to study abroad in New Zealand. Court in April - we feel so close but the immigration lawyer reveals she intends to reserve appeal if the judge sides with us. ICE pays visit to people involved in our case in May. Sucky lawyer is uncooperative, and new lawyers cost thousands of dollars. Still hoping to find a job this summer, but immigration is eating up all of our money. Court next Wednesday, May 27th. The world is no longer my oyster. No longer feels as if this too shall pass. 

Monday, January 28, 2008

Life, or Something Like It

"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, "I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along." . . . You must do the thing you think you cannot do."
-Eleanor Roosevelt

The DREAM Act. Also known as the Love Act, the Hope Act, the Life Act, the Laugh Act, the Breathe Act, the Be Act, the Free Act, and so on. These are all things we would truly be able to have if the DREAM Act were passed. But you think, silly girl, laughter knows no bounds. Neither does love, or hope, or life or any of these things. These are all things you can do now; immigration isn't stopping you. Ah, au contraire, mon frere.

This battle is not simply over just a piece of paper, but the things that piece of paper represents. You see, without that piece of paper, living life is simply hard to do. You are suddenly not 100% human, as if humanity is something that can be rationed. Suddenly, your voice is harder to hear, as if expression is something to be looked down on. Your face is ripped of its defining features, as if your identity is something to be erased and forgotten. Slowly but surely, faced with rejection day by day, pieces of your being are torn away, until nothing is left but your body, now an empty shell.

Tell me how do you love when love has been denied to you? How do you live when your fate rests in someone else's hands? How do you laugh when your voice has been silenced? How do you hope when your future seems bleak at best? How do you jump, shout, play, or dance? How do you be when your very being is on trial?

This is about more than just a piece of paper. This is about the sanctity of life. This is about human beings - young, eager, promising human beings asking for nothing more than control of their lives back. This battle knows no color, no race, no nationality. It is life we ask for, and that is all.

All for an insignificant piece of paper. What a shame.