I’ve been writing since I was a little kid. That might sound cute, but I wrote because I was a lonely child with a bad case of anxiety and shyness and only one or two friends at a time, sometimes none. Or at least, that’s how it felt. I was convinced I’d be alone for the rest of my life, growing up to be a lonesome spinster with long white hair and only a garden to keep her company. Sometimes, I still feel that way.
He was fascinated with the U.S.-Mexico border in general, but he was especially fascinated with the music and the concept that it was a militarized zone to keep out the Mexicans. He even wrote a song about it, written in an ironic sort of way that both small town conservatives and big city liberals seemed to enjoy.
I was married once and divorced twice.
My first marriage was prompted by a visit to Mexico with an old boyfriend – we were about twenty-three years old at the time, two years out of college. Even though we had already been living together for a couple of years, once we crossed the border, we had to sleep in separate houses. It was the proper thing to do.
According to my relatives in Mexico, “though shall not live together if unmarried” was the eleventh commandment. One of my grandmothers tried to help and urged us to get married right away – she knew a Catholic priest in town that could unite people in holy matrimony in emergency situations.
In the middle of the night, I heard the sound of shattering glass. I thought a glass had fallen from the counter or the shelf, or perhaps that the dog had toppled my tea mug off the wooden futon armrest, where I’d precariously left it the night before. But the explosion of glass was so loud and intense, it couldn’t have simply been a glass falling to the floor.
Growing up Mexican in America can be confusing. Even if the U.S. Census tells you you’re “white,” you don’t really see your kind of “white” on television or film.
I used to be ashamed of living in South El Monte, California, a predominantly working class, Mexican American suburb of Los Angeles. As a child, I felt that my classmates and neighbors weren’t cultured or educated enough. The city itself was an eyesore, with block after block of light industrial manufacturing, a gritty crossroads of the 10, 60, and 605 freeways. The Catholic school I attended from first through eighth grade didn’t have a music or art program, and our textbooks were outdated and falling apart.