When I’m not spending weekends at my boyfriend’s house, my Saturday and Sunday morning ritual with mom and sister has involved lots of strong coffee with our breakfast while old I Love Jenni episodes are playing in the background. There’s something comforting about hearing Jenni’s family struggles in the reality show as we’re discussing our own, while eating papas con chorizo.
The three of us resting from another whirlwind week of life things.
Each of us with a very different approach to life but making the best out of our weekends together.
In the I Love Jenni episode we watched today, the late singer is talking about how God doesn’t give you more problems than you cannot handle. Now, I’m not a super religious person, but I always say that I’m still culturally Catholic–I’ll do the sign of the cross every time I take my medications or entering the freeway. While I want to believe that God or life or whatever you believe in doesn’t send you more challenges than the ones you are mentally equipped for, living as an undocumented person in the U.S. is a constant defier of that belief.
At the end of 2020, I unconsciously began preparing for this year. I decided to get serious about my chemical dependencies and ask for help. I even found a really good gay Latino therapist! All of 2021 was about personal growth. I wanted to rekindle the romance between me and my art practice. Read more books. Hike more. All that shit that’s supposed to bring you calmness. But God or life or whatever you believe in decided to test all of that alleged growth this year. From DACA being constantly in limbo to more family responsibilities to getting COVID during the recent heatwave (wouldn’t recommend), it felt like God or life or whatever you believe in kept punching me in my sensitive ass balls every time I thought I’d put a life fire out.
But watching Jenni, an artist who put all of herself out there through her art and just being her flawed diva self, made me feel less alone. Dare I say…I feel seen through Jenni’s old reality show. So I do what I’ve done all of my life and after a new hurtle gets thrown my way by God or life or whatever you believe in, I get up and keep going. Now, keep going doesn’t mean ignore all of that shit and just be happy that I’m surviving. Because I don’t want to live to just survive, I want to live life to the fullest! What I mean is I try to learn from all that shit, continue therapy, and keep nourishing my support system.
Basically, I ask for help because I cannot do this alone. I couldn’t have. Shit throws things our way and we’ve managed. Undocumented immigrants before us have, our parents have, and we sure have. But we are living a different reality than our parents. A reality that includes access to people that can make us better understand and treat that trauma–shout out to all BIPOC mental health professionals! Our generation of undocumented immigrants is trying different approaches– insert the crying Lisa Simpson meme here. Raising our hand and asking for help can give us a little more peace of mind despite what God or life or whatever you believe has in store for us.
We got this ya’ll! I believe in us!