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The Devil and God Are Raging Inside of Me.

Ten years doesn’t seem like a long time. When you still refer to everything in the past as 2006. Ten years ago, man. Ten years ago. 2006 was such a pivotal year of growing up for me. I find myself going back to that year in photographs, nostalgia, and through listening to albums that seem like came out yesterday.

Ten years ago, I sat in my parents guest bedroom, staring out the window. I laid in my bed watching the clouds go from grey to slate. Hearing every cloud rupture with anger and sadness, as the rain fell from the sky. In a room I didn’t grow up in. In a room, I felt like I kept coming back too. I was in-between places, still trying to figure out what I wanted. This wasn’t home but Fresno wasn’t home either. Where do I belong? Where do I fit in?

Ten years ago, I didn’t want to go back to school. Even though I knew getting older meant it would be harder for me to do things. My odds were against me. I was finding myself fearful of people and a fear of my peers is what always told me not to go back to school. It takes me 10 minutes to get out of my car to do simple tasks, without feeling like the world was against me. I didn’t realize I was sick. I didn’t realize that this wasn’t normal.

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Ten years ago, I let the wrong people in. I let people hurt me. I let people use me. I let people cloud my judgement of what good really was. Instead I harbored a pain so great that caused me to cut open my outsides, to understand what my insides were feeling. I was burning in this vessel of a body, with this need to please everyone. To be there for everyone, while people have done nothing but watch me fade in the background.

Ten years ago, I thought I was going to marry a variety of different people. A drummer in one band, a bass player in another. Plotting how one day they would look at me differently then they had in the past. That I wouldn’t be self-conscious. I wouldn’t be awkward. They would look straight into me, as I have looked up at them, many times before.

Ten years ago, I feel in love too easily. Always someone different. Always people I shouldn’t have loved. But I wanted to love as I always felt in the deep depths of my heart. How they play out in movies and we see on the big screen. I was hopeless in wanting something I wasn’t prepared to understand. In a way I used people. I just wanted what everyone else had. A hand to hold to keep themselves from falling apart. Because sad was better than lonely. And now I can’t remember the name of the first boy I kissed.

Ten years ago,  I wanted amazing things to happen to me. I wanted to stand in an open place and watch life happen to me. In a big city, miles away from my mediocre small town. Far from the same people I see every day. Maybe if for once instead of running, I would finally allow things to happen. Watch love open doors, see my careers unfold, watch myself change from strange into something beautiful. I waited forever for things to happen. I waited for people to move. I waited for things to happen. I waited too long and feel as if I am running out of time.

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Ten years ago, an album came out that changed my life. I didn’t think it would. Many albums come and go and still I remember this as if it was yesterday. From the weather changing from the warm fall days to the chill of cold of the soon to be winter months. How it felt wrong to buy it from some mass production corporation, how I needed to purchase the album how I had purchased all their albums. Straight from the band, straight from the source. How I ripped open the package and watched my life change in front of my eyes. No one understands how that feels. How something so simple as opening a padded envelope could change your life in so many magical ways. How I needed to get out of my house and play every song loudly. Loud enough to where my insides would wake up. How every cigarette I smoked, I exhaled out the smoke and watched the smoke slowly leave my lungs open to the cold air. The rain kept falling, as this soundtrack continued to play. How perfect this seemed. My favorite band, playing the songs that for that moment I didn’t understand. It didn’t matter how many times the windshield wipers wiped my windshield clear, the rain still managed to leave a mark. Which is how I feel about this album. No matter how many times I try to wipe this away, a small mark still remains. I could write forever about every line in the songs. I could. I have. But today, I want to live in it’s memory.

Ten years ago, I didn’t understand. Ten years later, I finally know. We are not suppose to fit in. We are not suppose to be normal. Sometimes you don’t realize how bad you’re hurting until the years pass and you become someone else. Someone completely different then the person you were ten years ago. Its hard to come out of the darkness and back into the light. It’s hard to understand that even though we feel completely alone, we are never truly alone. Even when you think you can’t start over, life throws you something completely unexpected.

Today, I watch the rain fall from the sky to the tops of each tree and rooftop, from some place far from home. I think back on those memories. I think back to my sentiments and feelings.  Ten years ago, I had no idea where I was going. I stopped believing in love. I stopped believing in myself in the years in took to get here. I stopped wanting to marry the boys that would never love me. I stopped dying for a hand to hold. Ten years ago, seemed like such a long time ago. Now, I sit here wondering what happens next.

Ten years ago, man.

10 years.

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Somos Mas Americanos.

Me gritaron mil veces que me regrese
A mi tierra por que aqui no quepo yo,
Quiero recordarle al gringo yo no
Cruce la frontera la frontera me cruzo.

To the man in the expensive suit, who thinks he knows my story. Who has walked a mile in my shoes. Worked the jobs that I have with the variety of diverse people I have known. Whose idea of hard work is barking orders and instilling fear into his colleagues to do his own job.  You do not know me, you do not know my story. You haven’t experienced my failures nor my struggles. You look straight into my vulnerabilities and believe you know everything about me. Everything you say is right, everything I do is wrong.

To the man who has told me to not speak my native tongue. Who has bullied my family, my friends, my peers for speaking in the tongue that comes naturally to them. Who has made speaking a foreign language  a burden more than a blessing. What gives you the right to judge a person by the language they speak? Who are you to create a burden of a language barrier, because you fear change. My language has nothing to do with you. My language is my way of communicating with my peers, my friends, my family, and in no way is it threatening or offensive. You have no right to take that privilege from anyone.

To the man in the expensive suit who believes that screaming out scare tactics will get a point across. That fear and hate will drive a wedge between my past and my present. Who believes building walls will separate ignorance from fear. Your fears are becoming more juvenile then a toddler’s tantrum, and I just won’t stand for it.  You are nothing more than a boy that cried wolf. Screaming every single one of your ignorant fears to anyone and everyone that will listen. People are listening, but they are also ready to stand up for what they believe in. No amount of screaming and crying will stop the truth from coming through. The truth always comes out.

To the man who has told me to go back to my home country. For I am a criminal, a trouble maker, a hoodlum, on the basis of my race and last name. This is my country. This is my home. I was born here, 33 years ago and you cannot take that away from me. You cannot take away the struggles my parents have gone through to have a better life. Do you think it’s easy to leave everything that’s familiar to you? Do you believe it’s easy to move miles away from your home country, to learn a new language completely foreign to you? Do you understand whats its like to speak a tongue completely foreign to you, to have native speakers looking at you as if you are slow or stupid? I have worked hard to prove who I am to far more fearful people then yourself. You will never know the struggle to have to prove to multiple people that you are more than your last name. More than your struggles and your failures, without having to use scare tactics to get a point across.  I look at you in your expensive suits, driving your expensive cars and expressing your hateful rants. Your dream of making America great again. The same man who is a by product of living an american dream. Whose family is a product of immigrants who fought hard to obtain their status and dreams reality. The same dreams we share. I would gladly go back to my home country, because my home country is here in the United States of America and there’s nothing you can do about it.

The American dream is the ultimate underdog story, based on immigrants of all different races. People who have done everything in their power to make a life for themselves regardless of circumstances and setbacks. Neither of us is perfect but we all strive for the same dream; to make a better life given the circumstances we have been raised in. I am proud to be an American, but I am also proud of my roots that grow deep into the Mexican soil. The same soil that raised my parents into the hardest working people I know. No man can ever take that away from them. No man can ever take that away from anyone. You cannot scare a spirit that has been broken before. You cannot take away our past because you are fearful of the future.

So I say, to the man in the expensive suit, who is a by product of living the american dream. Whose own family is a product of different nationalities. Are we not the same instead of different? Don’t we all deserve the same right? Are we not all americans in our own right and reason?

Piénsalo, Mijo. I am sure you would realize that in the end, we are not so different after all.

 

…Somos mas americanos que
Todititos los gringos.

 

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