Biometrics Are IN!

November 27, 2012

BOOYAH!

They are in!

My fuckin’ FABULOUS finger prints are in! My hand prints, finger prints and a picture of my geeky face in a blue long-sleeve, corduroy, polo-style shirt have been submitted into the gubernatorial vortex.

WHEW! It. Is. Done.

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I haven’t been updating much on the immigration situation because my focus was on getting stable enough to function and get all the paperwork in. In case you’re new and are just now reading, I am an immigrant, an undocumented immigrant to say the very least. I’ve lived in Texas since I was five years old, roughly twenty-two years, but who’s counting right? *cough*

Back in June, President Obama made a sly move to get a head start in the 2012 elections–he signed an executive order for DACA (deferred action for childhood arrivals) meaning that, a) undocumented aka “illegal” immigrants who came to the U.S. prior to the age of sixteen would be deferred/protected by law from deportation proceedings and, b) they would, by discretionary case, receive a work permit so they (I) can work legally in the United States.

I currently cannot work “legally”. It is a difficult situation to be in as I mentioned in my posts “P Is in SHOCK! UTTER FUCKIN’ SHOCK!” and “P Is in SHOCK! UTTER FUCKIN’ SHOCK! …. But then remembers…”

Most of my friends and acquaintances who are in the same boat either work as waiters, house keepers (like my mother did), janitors (like my father did), construction or farm worker etc.–all jobs I cannot do in a wheelchair. My only options, out of desperation, were to try and freelance. But being mental and having severe anxiety on top of transportation issues makes freelancing extremely difficult. Besides, I needed more discipline.

Since I graduated college in May of 2011, my freelance jobs have added to nearly nothing. I tried websites like e-lance and all this other shit I can’t remember. I spend hours on those sites, touching up my resumé, putting up samples of my work, only to find that at the end of the process, I was always asked for a Social Security number which I obviously do not have.

It became another brick added to the weight of the depression that eventually knocked me down in May. But then, alas, June came with the news of Obama’s signature. I’m not an Obamacrat, I’ll tell you straight up. I’m with the rebel alliance and Jedi nights, not the empire. Besides, Obama had promised several activist groups (some of which I was part of) that he would sign this YEARS ago, but as a true politician, he did not until this election year.

Anywho, I’m not goin’ into my political or social ideals in detail since that is not the focus of my blog. I established at least that from the beginningWhat I do want to share is MY STORY.

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In mid-October I received such wonderful birthday presents!

I got some stretchy pants from my mama, a poem from Angel; I got to see Fiona Apple LIVE with my bro who bought the tickets last-minute; I got a beautiful painting of Mermaid P mailed to moi from Le Sailor–LOOK HERE and I got the DACA application completed and mailed out. That to me was a wonderful gift. They all were.

In April, just before my suck-ass and shameful death attempt, when I thought I couldn’t fall further into depression, I got hooked up with a “job” and felt excitement followed by failure crushing me with the culmination of the second day of work, the day I got fired. I was only an intern, hence the legalities not being clear up and therefore they were not strict in mu application. That’s why I wasn’t asked for my SSI number. Plus, Mansie practically got me that job, a job that only lasted two days.

****

Sixty days after Obama’s June executive order, the DACA law went into effect. To cut my rambling a little short, I have had a long process applying for DACA since September, but I finally had my biometrics appointment today!

The biometrics proceeding is basically when USCIS, the Immigration and Citizenship Services department calls you in to take a photo of you, mark your fingerprints and so on, you know, Big Brother type shit . The dude who fingerprinted me was wearing blue latex gloves like he was about to give me an enema. I ranted on my MsMouse Facebook as follows (note the terrible grammar ’cause I was on a not-so-smartphone that kept auto-correcting me in my agitated state):

My rant for today: It’s so hard having to depend on my dad for SO much! I’m grateful that he’s here, but he’s extremely overbearing and has become more stubborn with age (he’s nearly 70). The biometrics appointment went well even though my dad and I got into an arguedment on the way to the US immigration dept office. It went super fast. Yaaaay!

But fuck anyone who thinks I, or anyone like me should be deported. Twenty two ducking years for this and I’ll still as a non-legal resident, only in immigrant with DACA and work permit. At least ill have that thought. And I can’t wait to finally have a job and a little more freedom! Wooohoo.Fuck you govt for playing with our lives! For controlling my live like a piece in a board game!End rant.

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And that is that! I’m on my way to being more of an adult. I feel as though my entire life I haven’t been given room to grow, to spread out and show my inner beauty. This is why I feel so child-like. It’s not a “bad” thing to be child-like, but what I mean is, I’ve always felt restricted like a child. I’ve felt things that should be entitled to me weren’t. I’m an angry little mouse on a tiny, albeit heavy, leash and the cheese is only a foot away. (Godamn I love cheese!)
****
Hopefully in a month’s time, I’ll be receiving a social security number along with my work permit! Nope guys, no green card or “legal status” yet. I’ll still technically be an “illegal,” only an “illegal” who can work “legally” (I prefer undocumented).
And ain’t that an oxymoron? That’s politics for ya…
Here’s a little sketch I did on my not-so-smart-smartphone that my bro’s sweet girlfriend gave me before my surgery!
Anyone know of any good and cheap/free sketching apps for Andriod? This one isn’t too great. But I like that you can’t be precise; it makes me less perfectionistic  less critical and quicker. heheh. The scribble at the right surrounding the MsMouse is supposed to say “ILLEGAL”. Try and figure out which part of the tail is the letter G and/or A.
Mouse love

ILLEGAL MsMouse
2012 (c) paz
I am still undocumented aka “illegal”

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9.18.2012

September 19, 2012

When we have to break down walls and windows
To get through to what’s in front of us, because
The panes of glass are too damn dirty, damped and foggy,
We begin to see with clarity.

When we drop the ammo, purge the stones
We held in our mouths,
And mince virulent words,
We are relieved.

When the mind’s eye stretches
Past the fields of cultivated despair,
And is eager to plow down those insanities,
We are refined.

When we discern the trees with their
Outstretched arms and incessant prayers,
the heirs of the Sun’s eye, their god,
We begin to bask in
A little more hope.

When we breathe in life’s scenic ambience,
Our sacrifices were worth the scarred tissue.
And the turbulence that makes
Life colorful, sprouts a fruit of
Succulent, iridescent hues.

When we stand like porters at the
Gate of our consciousness,
Not letting in false prejudice,
We begin to understand.

© paz

*********

I’m not too happy with the way this one worked out. I think I need to tweak it some.

… you’re typing so fast that you make dozens of typing errors and don’t give a fuck. Hurry, let’s just keep going, you say to yourself. (This is coming from a grammar Nazi with some obsessive compulsive tendencies.) And as you’re typing you’re giggling and laughing and giggling but have no idea why you’re giggling or what you’re laughing at.

Well, that’s the “good” kind of hypomanic. I won’t talk about the not-so-good kind.

********

I went to a protest yesterday with Mansie. I had a lot of anxiety but still managed to enjoy it in the end. Maybe I’ll write a more in depth post about it. For now, here’s another one of my Nokia phone photos.

One of the slogans/chants we did was “Don’t take America back; take America forward!” We got hustled by some rich white folks, one who yelled “Romney!” at us. And then they called the po po. A cop showed up just as we were wrapping up.

Go on ahead, call me a dirty hippie. I know you wanna. I will not be hurt by it. Not today, son. Not today. I’m loving today thus far, despite the cramps. It’s strange to feel this good.

****

Jaen, I have a “You Know You’re Borderline When…” too. It happened to me this weekend. I think you’d like it. I may post it later.

Mouse Love

Le Police de Texas

August 11, 2012

Here’s to trying to get involved again. Trying. Just trying. (More like just going along for the ride Mansie gave me so I could get out and see people I once knew.)

Meh. This can be added as an attempt in a part of my “Goals for Therapy,” if you remember.

****

I took this photo at the protest I went to, two–or was it three–weeks ago? It was to raise the downtown office janitors’ wages which is terrible in Houston. There were other issues involved in the protest (think 99% and 1% Wall Street), but the main issue here was the janitors, which are mainly Latino immigrants. Many organizations and such were involved. It was my first protest in over a year, and I met a beautiful tattooed Brazilian girl that day.

****

There were four cops on horses in every street corner. There were also many arrests. Wish I wouldn’t ‘a shopped off the beautiful horses’ feet though. And who knew cop cars, horses and a couple hundred protesters could make so much ear-bleeding noise! I wanted to chop my bloody ears off, Van Gogh style.


Taken with my crappy Nokia camera phone. (Yeah, I forgot my awesome Nikon that day! Fuckin’ anxiety.)

I finished it! The first one.  Now I have the other one to do. It’s been taking me forever to do things.

So here’s where Mouse and P fuck up. (I’m angry at Mouse at the moment so we are NOT one).

About a week and a half, two weeks ago. More or less, I don’t know. Anyway, sometime before or after my incident, I’d applied for a job Mansietold me about. Now if you know, I cannot work legally in the States, so let’s keep this hush hush. It’s a temporary paid internship so they may not bother with the paperwork as much as they normally would with a “real job”. But it pays and it revolves around things I can do well, like writing and designing and other multimedia stuff.

So I guess sometime on Wednesday (so three days ago), the hiring guy emails me and asks if I can meet Friday morning for an interview! But guess what? Mouse is too busy fuckin crying and playing ping pong in my cerebellum and cerebral cortex with the Pretty Little Demons. Those little fuckers have been playing pranks on and fuckin’ with my lymbic system again–my lizard brain, my amygdala. One of those in particular has me overeating again.

Anyway, I didn’t get actually see and read guy’s email until FRIDAY. I saw my psychiatrist, FINALLY, on Thursday but went home and slept all day. It turns out I’m fighting a cold because everyone in this house is sick and how can my immune defenses take full charge when I’m on all these psychiatric drugs and when the PLDs (that’s Pretty Little Demons) are in managing things so much?

Well, I got nervous as all hell. I emailed the guy back and apologized for having “overlooked” or “missing” his email (I don’t remember which term I used, it took me forever to decide). Then I said, I would be very glad and willing to meet with him for an interview next week at the soonest, at his convenience and whatnot.

The guy has not replied. 😦 And I’m getting nervous, nervous, nervous. I kinda want him not to reply and then I again, I REALLY need this money. I have no source of income right now and my parents need a break, they’re… blegh. I’m not going to talk about them after my recent battle with the blog. Oh that’s another thing. I’ve been fighting this blog too. Only I never feed it as much as Dear Dotty does. My blog is like a snake, it gets stuffed with one mouse for weeks and has to digest that shit slowly. I’m just trying to figure out whether to nuke this blog completely, split it into three–one private, one poetry and one open–or just step away for a while or just write poems while I figure this out  (I’ll need an intervention too pull out of here though. You guys got a hold ‘a me).

Anyway, I suspect Mansie, friend who’s “hookin’ me up,”  is talking to hiring guy to give me a push on the job, errr, internship. Thank you lady! MUAH. But here’s the thing. Considering the upped suicidality (I hate that word), I don’t know how I’d handle ANY job, even if this job is only ten to twenty hours a week.

****

This is where I get to my second fuck-up.

Remember that I do photo restorations once in a blue moon? Well, the one I had from last month was incomplete, then I got that other one I wrote about the day I had to make a deal right after getting out of bed. Well, this first one was from a guy my dad “helps out” sometimes–another one of those wannabe photographers. Anyway, this other wannabe photographer asked me if I could do a restoration for a friend of his. I’d said yes and offered it up for one hundred bucks. (I’m GIVING MY WORK AWAY!) The guy’s friend said eighty so I settled on eighty bucks (that’s 51 pounds for you Brits).

So the week before last, this wannabe photographer calls and asks me if he can come over to pick it up. I say how about another day since I wasn’t done with it. I told him to call me back anytime the following week and I’d have it ready in his hands. Well, fuck me, I went crazy that week and nearly went voluntary at one of  those scary general hospital psych units.

Last night he calls me, says he’s coming over. And I start with the anxiety. I start to panic. Heart thumps-and-a-thumps. Oh no, I haven’t finished it yet! How do I tell him I don’t have it ready like I’d promised because I nearly offed myself the Sunday before last?

The guy wasn’t happy but I managed to tell him I’d have it ready this morning. And voila! 

DONE. FUCKIN’ DONE! WHEW.

(Click to view them in gallery form.)

If you notice, I didn’t do a great job on the nose and left cheek. I’m not too proud of this one, but fuck, for 80 bucks only, I wasn’t going to go all out. Besides, I had to rush in the end. The starting bid on this should really be $300. BUT Costco will do it for only $30. SAMS CLUB which is owned by WALMART will do it for $25. You know what they do? They send it to some kids in China and have them do the work, pay them $5 bucks and print it for .10 cents. They then get 20 to 35 dollars in profit. Meanwhile, the poor Chinese/Indian/Colombian kid gets 5 bucks (he can’t even get a living with that) and I have to struggle to get a decent pay.

****

The guy said he was going to call me this morning to come over and pick it up. Well, he hasn’t called and it’s already noon here. Meh. It’s done! 🙂

Yesterday, though, my mom said, “Why do you take jobs if you can’t complete them?” And I had to brush it off.

Funny thing is I heard her voice this morning, long before the alarm rang: “P! P! Wake up! Wake up!”. Then I heard the door slam. Turns out it was just me hearing things in dream mode, knowing I had to get the fuck up and finish this things.

Sigh. If I do get a reply from this other guy, how am I going to handle working ten to twenty hours a week if I can’t even handle doing this one photograph in a three and a half weeks time? If I feel I still sometimes feel I need to be committed? Also, won’t the MIGRA get me? I feel immigration is reading this and waiting to charge!

Oh and FUCK Walmart!

Shhhhh. Don’t tell the Walmart peoples and the immigration peoples I’m still here, please bloggies, don’t.

*disappears ninja style*

30 Days of Truth, Day 1: Don’t Believe P, She’s Flaky As All Fuck!

I’m not sure who began this project, it’s called “30 Days of Truth”. I’m not even sure why I’ve decided to take it up, but I’m guessing it has to do with my rampaging self-absorption brought on by my ego (brought on by a switch to fluoxetine aka the infamous Prozac, fuck, more drugs) thus causing a new found urge to tell truths about myself, or in other words, I suddenly want to reveal more of myself because I’m so stuck inside of myself. (Disclaimer: No body parts will be revealed during the posting of this post).

The first time I saw this little 30 Days of Truth blogging project was in Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars‘ blog. She was my first follower! Back then I didn’t know people could or would actually follow my rambling. So thanks Halfway! Also, thanks to Halfway, I ran into dozens of mental health (really just mental 😉 ) bloggers who were also doing this little truth telling challenge. It’s because of her links and their links that I’ve had the pleasure of cybernetically meeting so many amazing bloggers.

****

So, here I am! I’m jumping on the band wagon y’all! So unlike me to jump in. Or is it? (oh oh borderline identity disturbance in the process here )

Whatever. I’m gonna do it! Besides, National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) is over, and I need something else to live for. It’s also a good excuse for a blog topic.

Day one is to write about something you hate about yourself. Really? Why make the first one so hard? Do I have to choose just one thing? That’s so haaaard. And why you trying to get me to hate on myself when I’ve worked in therapy all this time not to? Hate is such a strong word too; I try not to use it in my trying-to-stay-sane vocabulary.

Man… pffft.

Alright, I realize now as I’ve grown older– and maybe, hopefully even wiser– that I no longer hate things about myself like I used to when I was say, a teenager. I no longer beat myself up about the fact that I was born with brittle and malformed bones, therefore, I no longer hate my body like I used to. I no longer hate the fact that my sternum sticks out like a third boob. I do however, currently hate the way this damn bell’s palsy has left me unable to make certain facial expressions the way I used to, but I’m working on it. I promise myself.

But has a lot of the other, non-superficial, self-hatred left me?

Sadly, no. I can still say I hate my short temper. I hate my angry, violent and aggressive ways. I can sit here and talk endlessly about how much I hate my depressive ways. I can talk about so many things but I’ll have to choose one, so I’ll go with my volatile flakiness, my indecisive and fickle ways. Can I combine those four just like that? Does it count? They are related, right?

****

Today is May first, not just May first, it is May First: International Workers Day.  <— (Click on the link, why won’t you?)

Why am I bringing this up for my first 30 Days of Truth?

Because it relates to what I hate about myself. Bare with me. No, no. May First is great! May First is the shit! I mean good shit! Not shitey shit! None of that stinky stuff. I love it. It’s got a wonderful history to it but I’ll refrain from telling it because I know this post should be about HATE and about ME, and general strikes for workers’ rights is something I LOVE, something to love, not hate. I do encourage you to look it up though.

So May First, aka May Day aka International Worker’s Day, is a day to strike for worker’s rights, this encompasses any worker rights and over the years has shifted directions, that being said, migrant workers are a big bunch.

Here in Houston, Texas, we–by we, I mean those actively involved in political movements–organize the strike into a march not only for worker’s rights but also immigrant rights because, often times, immigrants are the ones that are most abused at work, that have more work related abuses in this region. Wage theft, for example is a huge problem for the “illegals” or more correctly stated, for the undocumented workers. There is also a VAST immigrant population here, most notably Latinos/Hispanics (that’s a given), Vietnamese, Chinese, Nigerian and Indian. There are a ton more I’m leaving out. Anyway, the Latino/Hipanic communities are very much affected by the shifts in immigration laws. And I’ll talk about that later in another post.

Here’s where I get to hating myself. In the last three and a half years, I’d been heavily involved in organizations and activist groups, some of which organize the city’s May Day March. But because of my flakiness, my indecision, my fickle ways which stem from anxiety, identity disturbances (which further stem from self-esteem issues and self-doubt) and of course depression, people have gone from seeing me as a “community leader” within these organizations to someone they do not call to organize events with because I’m unreliable.

I know I may view this in a distorted way–black and white thinking and whatnot. I know that’s not always the case. I have been contacted this month, a little. I know that if I pull away from people and groups, I can’t expect others to include me in things the way they used to, right? It’s only logical. But the depressive, the bipolar or the borderline does not see logic in these cases!

The last two years I had been involved in the May Day March planning. Two years ago, in 2010, I came up with the idea of making t-shirts for a student group I was involved in.

“Hey guys! We should make shirts that read ‘NO PERSON IS ILLEGAL’ and sell them after the march to save up for our trip to Detroit!”

my t-shirt, i kept a small one for myself.

“Yeah P. That’s a badass idea!”

I smiled smuggly at myself for thinking up of such an idea, an idea people actually liked! And that idea turned out pretty good once we sold enough shirts, $3.00 to $5.00 a pop. The march turned out well too (even though a self-proclaimed Minuteman almost hit me with his American flag pole while screaming at my little group to “Go back where you came from! Go back home!” and I ended up having a panic attack, but more on that some other time).

Then, for last year’s May Day, I designed a banner for a non-profit that works with wage theft abuses as well as other worker related abuses (that’s the org that called me the week before last). I also designed a poster for another student group, this was a group I’d actually helped found. The poster was based on the ideas I came up with on these sketches I did.

mayday-amp-voice-1 mmm/paz 2011

© mmm/paz 2011

Last year however, I was in a deep depression around this time. And once I finished the posters, I sent them out to everyone and crashed. I did not return phone calls. I did not send anymore emails about the location and time of meeting. I did not coordinate with anyone to get a ride for the day of the march. I vacated completely, inside and out.

Vacating and emptying out completely is something I tend to do after I take on too much.

“Oh I’ll do this and yes, I’ll help out with that and don’t worry guys, I got that too!  And that! Ooooh, I wanna do that. Yeah, I’ll get it done in a week….” [two weeks later] “Guys, give me another week. I promise!”

I do tend to finish the bigger, important things, but all of the little promises placed in between get shoved around; I re-prioritized other things in the utmost illogical fashion and thus, I lose what I intended to get at in the first place. Those big things only get done with excruciating effort. I even go as far as making promises I know I should NOT make because trying to keep them all would be senseless, would only make my stress levels rise out of proportion and thus make my anxiety explode. All of a sudden, EVERYONE starts asking for favors. “P, can you do this? P, can you do that? Oh, yeah, just call P, here’s her number, she’ll design that for you!”

And I CAN’T SAY “NO” to others! Even those weaseling fuckers I don’t know. “Who are you? What’s your name again? Oh really, so-and-so told you I would design that for you? Ok.” Then I want to scream at everyone: “FUCK YOU AND YOU AND YOU. FUCK YOU ALL! FUCK, YOU ALL ARE JUST FUCKIN’ USING ME! ESPECIALLY YOU, YOU LITTLE UNKNOWN WEASELING FUCKER WHO’S NAME I DON’T EVEN REMEMBER! And on second thought, NO, I WON’T DO THAT DESIGN FOR YOU!”

Then I’m. No one will see or hear from me for weeks. I run from it all. I roll out of there as fast as my wheelchair can haul me (usually speed #5, if it’s fully charged). I leave myself with no other option left. Well, that or combusting in front of everyone, and no one wants P guts all over them.

****

Last year, when the day of March 1st march came rolling in, I got a call from Mansie, a friend from the Students Against Sweatshops group.

“We are renting a van and heading out. Do you want us to pick you up?”

“Yeah, sure thing! Thanks Mansie! Un beso!” I said. But I wasn’t feeling it. My anxiety was at a pain and vomit-inducing level.

“Ok, we’ll call you back in an hour. Try to be ready by then P.”

“Ok. I definitely will.” Note how I said definitely, of all things.

Here’s what sucks. I didn’t get ready. I didn’t answer her calls. Instead, I left a text that read, “I’m not going to be able to make it. No need to pick me up.” before she even had a chance to tell me what the plan was.

I was also angry at my group. The group I’d started and designed the flier/poster for. “Why did the Sweatshop kids call me and intend to pick me up but not my own group?”

What sucks is that I actually cried all afternoon after sending that text because I’d spent the entire hour debating on whether I’d go or not. What’s worse is I fell into a self-loathing moment of ,”Why do you have to be so indecisive? Why do you change your mind so much? Why do you drop out of events last minute? You let people down!”

And not only was I angry at myself, I was frustrated and hurt by the ones who hadn’t called, though it wasn’t their fault if I never gave them a definite answer, right? I couldn’t just simply be glad at the fact that the other group had offered me a ride with them!

I was depressed. I was flakey. And when I’m depressed it becomes ten times more difficult to decide on ANYTHING. Depression leads to low self-esteem. Anxiety leads to indecision leads to flaky, fickle ways, leads to self-doubt which leads to self-hatred which goes back to depression. Beautiful circle isn’t it?

mayday-amp-voice-2 © mmm/paz 2011

****

A few weeks after that, it was Mansie, Sweatshop girl’s, birthday. She invited me to her birthday party one day when I was over at her apartment. “Yeah, I’ll be having a party here soon, in a couple of weeks, and I want you to come!”

Well, she never invited me the DAY OF. I felt so hurt. Why did I need her to invite me the day of? Why did I feel hurt? Why didn’t I make plans to go? Did I want to go? Yes and no. And guess, what? Had she invited me again the “day of” I probably wouldn’t have gone anyway. Fickle. Indecisive. Flaky. Self-doubting. Socially anxious. That’s why.

*******************************************************************

addendum: Today was a bit sad remembering this. I hope this year’s march was a hearty one. I really should get involved again, which reminds me: This past November I was well underway helping establish a new group, community based. We’d been working at creating a scholarship fund for undocumented students. Up until last year I was also an undocumented student (I’m still undocumented), but I was an undocumented student that was fortunately able to go to university because of private scholarships–one church-related (funny story there) and another academic based–that didn’t fuss about immigration status, and those are VERY hard to come by guys. I can’t even begin to tell you how hard it is for an undocumented student to get any kind of scholarship and there’s no such thing as Financial Aide. Forget it, no FAFSA, no nothing. That’s what me and my friend and a few others wanted to give to our younger peers, so we started yet another organization. And guess what I did when the depression came hurling back mid-December of last year? Yes, I dropped out. The only things I’ve managed to do in these last months is create a basic site for our organization on WordPress. I haven’t kept any other promise except that one. Thank you WP! You helped me not be so flakey with them this time. You helped me keep at least one of my promises! Hey. 🙂

Have I scared off all of my non-mentally disordered bloggers? So soon? 😦

*********************************************************************************************************

May is Borderline Personality Disorder awareness month.

Joaquin Luna is no longer a kid, though he was when he was brought to the U.S..

He was an 18 year-old undocumented high school student, an A+ student before he shot himself a few days ago. Besides that, I don’t know the details of his suicide nor the circumstances the press wants to talk about and/or omit, and I sure as all hell don’t want to think about all of the political implications–all the petty, hateful online arguments about immigrants in the comment sections I used to read so much–and that, I presume, have been stirred by this kid’s publicized story.

I’ve been enjoying my media blackout lately and I hope to keep it that way for a little while, for my own sanity’s sake.

So, I honestly didn’t want to know much, if anything at all. Unfortunately, I could not resist my organizer friend’s Facebook posts and I read on and on. What I do know is that, apparently, there were notes of his with stated worries about his immigration status. Notes not dissimilar to the picture below.

Found this on Post-It[dot]com about a year ago

From Post-It.com


I found this image on Post-It.com last spring and saved in my computer. I’ve had it since and use it as a reminder to stay strong; to not see myself as a victim; to keep my commitment to the movement, the people in it, those who work day in day out organizing, planning, doing, and to the kids. I will continue my efforts to educate them, to tell them they can because I have been there. I am still there. I can only hope the kid who wrote the Post-It didn’t end up like Joaquin. 

********

I was a teenager just like Joaquin. And just like the kid who posted this note, I often thought of “jumping off” a bridge or a ledge of some kind (though at thirteen I could barely stand). I didn’t belong anywhere. All those teenage years, I felt I had no voice. “I might as well drown with my fuckin’ voice” I’d whisper.

I often thought of how I would manage drowning myself in Buffalo Bayou or some other creek in the Southwest or Memorial Park or better yet, somewhere more isolated where my body wouldn’t scare too many people once found. I’d have to shoot myself first; then I’d fall in and drown. Wherever. I didn’t exactly matter. That was my plan. I just dreamed of drowning because it seemed better than the kind of drowning I was already experiencing. Society told me being an “illegal” was less than a person. Being an “illegal” meant you weren’t welcome, wanted, cared about, needed. You were a criminal not a human–you weren’t anyt/hing at all.

“I am seen as a waste of righteous and rightful tax paying citizen’s dollars even though my illegal daddy pays taxes too. I’m a waste of flesh, regardless.”

That’s not taking into account all of what family told me, the fears that were bred. “Don’t ever say anything you hear about it! Nunca! Don’t ever call the police, even in scary situations.” It was more so implied than actually said.

No soy de aquí! Ni soy de allá!” I used to silently scream while banging my limp body against a wall, a doorknob, a table corner–anything that would make my body throb, anything to quell the thoughts.

Then I realized that there is such a thing as a privileged class. I learned how much societal structures try to bind us and how much we willingly let them shackle our minds. I learned this thing we humans do in our wonderfully organized societies–we set classes, we classify. And by classifying, we degrade one another.

I was fortunate: the nineties were easier, hell anything prior to 2011 and the aftermath of 9/11  was easier. There weren’t that many Joe Arpaios in Arizona making immigrant detainees dress in pink panties to humiliate them; there were no Tent Cities in Texas; there were no private prisons who profited on “illegal” children and their mothers being detained. I was able to go to college, partly because of my tenacity and partly because I was in the right place at the right time. I got a private church-based scholarship and with that, and a few academic awards, I went to college. Many cannot; many will not. The limits are boundless. Yes, we are the embodiment of that very oxymoron you see in that last sentence.

***

Initially, I didn’t think to/want to write a post, especially not one like this. I just had this blog here waiting for something to strike me, to compel me enough to dive into this thing, all nervousness aside. It sat here lonely in November, my little blog.

Unfortunately, something did hit me, but not in the way I’d hoped. I just heard so much about this that I feel I should speak now. It is imperative that I speak up for all of my silent years, for those like Joaquin. Yet, suicide is something that I do not feel comfortable talking about. My thoughts on the subject would require many posts because it runs too close to home for me to even begin.

Being undocumented, however, is something still sitting on my doorstep. It scratches at the door of my thoughts like a hungry street cat that never leaves. What shall I do today? Oh, right, I can’t, I don’t have the nine magic numbers. It’s like being chained on a leash and someone–the great big hand of daddy State–smacks you with the belt and places the plate out of reach.

And so the news of his suicide did cause a strange intimate unease in me. Most suicides do, but this one is considerably different.

It was a momentary unease but it was intense enough to tear a piece off of me. It reached a core in me.

Believe it or not, each stressor–be it big or small–can dance around in an emotionally and mentally unstable person’s mind. Any additional stressor can send them spinning over the edge.

I also find both topics–immigration and suicide–are ones I know a good deal about, or think I do at least. But I can’t argue and I am not going to argue about the reasons or the causes now, because for one, to any given suicidal person there are many (mostly reasons arising from distorted perceptions) and they’re all relative; and two, I never knew the guy. So I will not speculate further.

I will say this however: Suicide is a reality in EVERY population. And there is a markedly high population of undocumented youth living in the U.S. whose mental health is being overlooked, whose lives are forsaken.  It is tragic. I cannot say there are so-and-so thousands hurting because I cannot back this up with statistic. Roughly 65,000 undocumented students graduate U.S public high schools every year. If one in four people are likely to have a severe mental disorder, I can only guess. How many feel pushed back and forth like a bobo doll? Pushed towards furthered mental instability by society.

I can only back it with personal experience, though. I was a participant of a study Dr. Lauren Luttinger conducted on immigrant youth and depression in a New York City university near the Bronx. She told me it  was very telling. Some of her findings were that risks are higher for “illegal” kids much like kids from, say an urban, poverty-stricken neighborhood where the daily diet is violence and hopelessness; kids who are raped; kids from a household with an alcoholic parent; or queer kids in a predominantly Baptist, conservative, rural Texas town. These are just a few examples of the many “high risk” populations.

****

This is not just about some bill (D.R.E.A.M Act) being tossed around for a decade by the men in black suits and grey beards calling all the shots, trowing up the bill like a rotten steak. Meanwhile, the chained and malnourished dogs can only look down and salivate.

It’s far too complex. I know. It’s about groups of people and their “place” in society, keeping order, blah blah blah. The “places,” the “classes” nations put them in. The “place” we put ourselves and each other in. It’s the way we treat ourselves and each other.

I just hope people take a little time to consider these things from a broader perspective. I hope they would take a step back from their daily lives for a minute to see it from a more sociological view because society DOES play a role in the nature vs. nurture dichotomy of depression as well as other mental health issues and mental disorders.

***

To Joaquin R.I.P.:

Sonnet of the Undocumented Student

Hackneyed, unkind, lost words my mind once bore
In unspoken airs of my resistance.
They’re not a love to write a sonnet for—
These words barely breathe my fumed persistence.
See we, not conquerors of course, are told
And expected to pay our loyalties
To those who make social constructs; yet fold
And love to scorn whilst in their boundaries.
Gracious ports once opened no longer hear
Hope’s clangs rebound, up down, up down on stones.
Now our bodies, voices and dreams call near
To the only land that’s taxed our bones.
Students deemed ‘aliens’ for lack of forms,
Let’s not trade empathy for empty norms!

© Paz 2009