(After the revolution my Great grandparents were given lands previously owned by the hacendados-spanish owners)
Sometimes I feel down, overwhelmed, frustrated, elated, happy along with a whole other mix of emotions that come and go with this human condition we call life.
Today, however, I can’t seem to help feeling grateful.
Why? Because I’m not a slave, I wasn’t born into a caste system and I have free will!
What?! Let me explain.
As a Mexican, raised in the United States, my mind, schooling and lifestyle are distinctly American. I know our history, our struggles as a nation and how to navigate this society.
But, my heart is Mexican, yet I have no clue of where I came. No real identity of who my ancestors were or their struggles. I know more about Sam Houston, Stephen F. Austin, African-American history than my own history. Yes. They are now part of my history since I’ve lived in the U.S. for 38 years but what about the last 300, 500 or 2000+ years? Are they not pertinent anymore since I don’t live in Mexico?
I’m embarrassed to say but yes that is exactly what I believed. I figured my ancestors history has no bearing or place in my life anymore especially growing up in a small West Texas town.
So let’s get back to the story. Why do I feel such a sense of gratitude right now?
It’s because there always comes a time a person’s life when we wonder where we came from and my time came last week when I purchased a book called The Mexican Mind: Understanding and Appreciating the Mexican culture!
It’s the irony of irony when a Mexican has to buy a book written by a Gringo to learn about his culture – I just smile because life is funny that way sometimes.
I am on page 34 of the Kindle edition and I’ve learned more about myself in these pages than in the previous 38 years of my life on this earth.
It’s hard for me to read because of the guilt I get for not knowing of my ancestors struggles to get where we are today. I mean I didn’t really understand the complex history behind the Mexican people and their fight for sovereignty and dignity.
I can’t help but think that if I were born just a century or so earlier, I would’ve have been a slave to some Spanish hacienda owner and born into a caste system where I’d be born into debt, into the indian/mestizo class and looked upon as a third class citizen. WTF!
So today, I sit here feeling grateful and with a renewed sense of duty to make the most out of a life so many of my people fought for yet never had the chance to live.
But more than anything I’m so happy I’m here writing this today and you are reading it because that means, if even just for today, we’re free to live the life we’ve chosen not one chosen by our masters.