As a small child it is hard to understand the intentions behind people’s actions. I believe as humans we believe that parents/guardians/caretakers are supposed to have your best interest in mind. However, we realize this is not always the case. Of course, this happens once we are mature enough to understand reality. In my years, I have complained about my upbringing, the lack of nurture, loneliness, and neglect. I have tried to focus on the positive, even if it was a glimpse. It has not come easy, especially at the beginning of my journey.
My guardians where two flawed human beings, whose lives were not easy. On my road to forgiveness, I had to take a hard look at their lives before my arrival. I wanted to find out what experiences shaped them to be the adults they had become. I don’t want my writing to reflect only the negative side of my childhood, that would not be healing… its perpetuating my pain. Although, I do not know all of their story the glimpses help me understand them a little more.
My guardians met in the small town my family is from. My great-grandparents were poor Mexican people. I know very little of her upbringing, her stories began when she was around sixteen. She would tell me she worked at his uncles store, so she could help the family. She was a hard worker and rarely was social, she would not go out dancing like her sisters did. I am not really sure at what age she met my great-uncle… His family was in a better financial status than my great-grandmother. My great-uncle was a very handsome guy, tall, thin, green eyes… everything a girl could want. They married and had a child, during this time he came to work in the US under the Bracero Program to provide for his family. Throughout this time, g-aunt and baby girl were living with g-uncle’s mom, brother, and sister-in law (SIL). The mother and SIL treated g-aunt like a servant. When g-uncle sent money, his mother would only provide the essentials and keep the rest. After a certain time, g-uncle brought them to a border town to be closer to him. Life was not easy there either, they lived in a room with no heating and barely made ends meet. They were away from family and away from him, since he had to cross the border for work and was gone for weeks at a time. They suffered and she told me they suffered, the pain still reflected in her eyes when she spoke. She was able to find friends who helped her and her daughter, while g-uncle was away. At some point they moved to the US, all three of them. Things did not get better for her or the daughter, at this point g-aunt had been knocked around by life, her heart began to harden even more. When they moved to the US, they (mother & daughter) witnessed how g-uncle has been living life in the US. He was out partying with woman younger and drinking a lot. They were both devastated and heartbroken, while they were in Mexico suffering, he was in the US wasting money. At some point she learned to drive, found a job, and bought a house.
By the time I arrived at their doorstep, she had become intolerant and a bit unkind. It was hard for her to show love or any other emotion besides anger or frustration. The moments where she uttered a kind word was like a shooting star, rare and short lived. He became an alcoholic and liked to stoke her fire.
We must understand the people who raise us, so we can understand their trauma and how this trauma passes on to us perpetuating the generational trauma. My great-grandparents passed it on to my great-aunt, she passed it down to me and I was passing it down to my own children. For years I walked around Earth, thinking nothing was wrong with me. Until I had children and a partner did I realize that in fact something was wrong. This was not easy for me to recognize, I hurt them all a lot and made the stupidest mistakes. I had to wake up and realize that my childhood created trauma I was unaware of… with the help of a therapist I realized I had PTSD and began to understand generational trauma.