I’ve been happier lately. It’s a weird kind of happy, because I don’t really feel that much better during the day, but I know something inside is fighting to be happy. It’s still a struggle getting up in the morning, somedays it’s because it’s too cold, other days it’s because the world feels heavier than usual-I manage to get up. I’m stronger because of it.
I’m 23 now. I don’t feel any older or wiser, but I know I was naive 8 months ago. I thought I would be able to get my way right out of college, I’m ashamed. I’m working in a place I never thought I’d be working in. I’ve made friends with the people who seem to be the happiest and nicest there. I’m a little overwhelmed because who would have thought, but I’m excited because maybe something can go right. I’m hopeful something will go right.
I’m drawing again. It feels weird, watching my hand move the pencil around.
I’m watching things again. I’m invested in characters and storylines, even cry sometimes.
I’m reading again. It’s a struggle because sometimes I just want to nap on the bus, I’m trying.
I still can’t sleep much. Still go to sleep late, still wake up at 4:30, still oversleep.
I read an article not too long ago about a case in Georgia where the plaintiffs were a group of College students like me (Olvera v. Uni. Sys. of Georgia’s Bd. of Regents), they were all Dreamers. The case was,in short, the students pushing to have in-state tuition within the state of Georgia. As a result of being undocumented they have no other option but to pay out-of-state tuition which left most no choice but to take two classes per semester totaling about $5,000. This doesn’t seem all too bad, it is essentially a little less than what I paid every semester at CUNY Hunter, however these students can only take two classes making an already long and stressful period seem eternal. The argument made by the students, who are protected by DACA, is that in order to be granted DACA, a childhood arrival must provide evidence of a “lawful presence” within the United States. Something that they, like myself, are able to provide with ease: records of school transcripts and any other paper trail we may have. That being, it seems almost incomprehensible to me that my fellow Dreamers be forced to an out-of-state status.
This case was decided on the 1st of this month, after the Board of Georgia moved to have the case dismissed. The judge affirmed and dismissed the case under sovereign immunity, granting the State the ability to keep the students as outsiders.
The way I see it this is an unfair tax over something that we have no control over. It is hugely disadvantageous and dangerous because this could cause students to quit school. Schooling is something that I have come to realize is extremely important and makes all the difference in the world, the contrasts between those of us lucky enough to go to school and those who cannot is startling. I do not even have to go far to see it, I see it at home, with myself and my parents. They work hard every day- manual labor, while I work in an office where most of my job takes place in front of a computer. I used to work with my mother as a housekeeper, I’ve seen both ends of the spectrum, and if a simple thing like being “in-state” or “out-of-state” makes all the difference, then I can count myself one of the lucky ones-a privilege for the unprivileged. I arrived in New York when I was three years old, thanks to my parents and a visa. Right off the bat I was doing pretty good, parents who want nothing but the best for me, and the protection of a city that is a safe heaven for the undocumented. I only felt the pang of fear of “out-of-state” my first semester of college, when I got a bill for approximately $8,000. I quickly gathered my high school diploma and mail I had received from a pen-pal, and ran to the admissions office. It was a process that took no more than 10 minutes-simple and without delegation.
The judge recommended that each student present an individual case against the Bd. of Georgia, suggesting they would see better results, however there is no evidence that any of the students have done so yet. This might be due to the results of the first time around, and going at it alone isn’t exactly something easy to do, specially during an election year when it becomes increasingly evident how voiceless we are. But I hope that someone steps up again soon, it is unjust and risks the future of many Dreamers whose one goal is to make a better life for themselves and their families. Even though many of use get to reap the benefits of DACA there are still some of us that are fighting for it, and we should all stand with them making their fights known.
I haven’t forgotten about this. It’s in the back of my mind everyday. There’s just been something missing in me… I’m not quite sure what it is. I think I might have lost some of my passion and will at some point these last few months. I’ve been trying to slowly get it all back. Really.
Have you ever nearly drowned? The feeling when the water swallows you and won’t spit you back up no matter how hard you try. That’s what it felt like for me these few months. I can’t swim either, there’s a kicker, but I’m finally making it out I think. Getting somewhere, slowly.
I’ve been trying to hold on to the things that I really love: books, movies and shows. Stuff that will tell me stories and give me hope. It’s been working. Watching and re-watching “heroes” go through Vladimir Propp’s functions, but also looking to identify Folklore tale-types. Things are more fun that way, if I push myself to think like that.
We’re moving soon. Everything will be bigger… more spacious. Maybe that’ll help me too. Having space, having room to spread myself out on.
I’m still here though, I haven’t forgotten.
The kids I babysat recently moved away. I’ve been sort of having this strange withdrawal, and I miss them dearly sometimes. Travis suggested that I write a children’s book, and maybe we can get one of his brother’s artist friends to draw the pictures. I think I might do it, he also suggested to use Spanish like I use it in my normal writing, I think I will. Right now I’m looking at my puppy as a muse. We’ll see how it goes. I’ll have updates.
But I think it’s a good start for something new.
Having had a Tumblr for so long and using it for something as serious as I want my writing to be wasn’t working anymore. I want to grow and I think I’m going to be able to do it here.
Here I think I’m free to write. Whether an idea for something I want to write soon, something that’s been going on in my life that I want to talk about or a new piece I want to share with everyone.
I also wish more than anything to show my parents that I am serious about what I am doing. That I know what I want to do, and that I won’t let them down.