An Immigrant In The Crowd
Before I started this post , I thought let me go find a powerful image (licensed) that I can use with this post that would really capture my audience. Sadly, when I searched terms like " hardworking woman" or “Immigrant Woman" , I found images of women sitting behind a desk, or at train stations with luggages, pictures of women with children but painted in only one world or atmosphere. The question most may ask, is, what is a an immigrant woman? I myself cannot answer such a powerful question. I can, however, give you a few characteristics and then tie my story into this. By the way I am a 31 year old woman, so my experiences are that of an immigrant child that grew into A WOMAN.
Everyday my heart breaks inside because I want to share my joy and sorrows with my Mother and Father, but cannot, because they are in a different country. An embrace or hug or a tear can only be shed through the phone or video messaging and it hurts.
– A WOMAN –
I grew up in my native country and at the age of fifteen, my Father, Mother and two Sisters left me to go make a better lives for themselves, here in the United States. I was left behind because my mother wanted me to complete my education and at the age of fifteen there is only so much we can understand. I was heartbroken, I cried silently for weeks. I don’t think I have ever said that out loud before. Infact while I am writing, those memories still resonate deep within me. I lived with maternal Grandparents and my Uncle and Aunt. I was well taken care off, I always had meals, my aunt did my laundry and packed me lunches and my Grandmother….well my Grandmother became my heart. I still cry to this day when I think of her sweet gentle soul. God rest her soul in peace. Eventually, once my parents settled in, a few months later, I took my first trip on a visitor’s visa to Florida. Most immigrants from our Country settled in Florida. The climate was warm like ours and there was opportunity to work without papers (social security and identification).
I visited many times but I never understood the struggle.
- My Mother has always been a strong woman who took our family from a place where we had nothing,
- and with her hopes and dreams, she created a new reality for us.
- She never gave up and she never complained.
- She never told us how many times she was looked down upon, how many times she could barely walk because of her arthritis and had no access to health care. She never complained.
My father made his share of mistakes growing up and I have seen him cry. Have you ever seen a man cry tears because all he wants to do is succeed but can’t find a way? Well I have.
The stereotype these days, ring in the question about why these countries can’t create jobs for their own people. Why can’t they do the same thing we do? Why do they have to come to our Country and reap our soil and take our jobs? Why can’t they learn our language? Why can’t they speak properly? Why can’t they write properly? Why can’t they dress properly? Why can’t they ? Why can’t they? … it goes on and on.
My mother; before she came to the United States never knew how to use a computer. Infact, she had never touched one. She saw them in our Country but never touched one or used one. She was disadvantaged the day she landed but that did not stop her. I can’t imagine how intimidated she felt and how embarrassed she also was when she had to use one for the first time. She had a goal and a dream and she landed a job at a flea market as a photographer for a print shop. I hate sharing these personal stories because I do fear judgement but I choose to share because there is always a message and these feelings need to be expressed.
It was in her strength that we all followed. Today I am luck enough to sit here in my New York apartment, a citizen of the United States and write about my experiences. This is just the beginning of my offerings, I have dreams and goals as well. I have been through my share of turmoil and still jump over hurdles daily. I keep most of my feelings inside because I tend to get emotional when I think about my past, present and my future. I am here to share and I am an immigrant woman. I believe if I can do it, you can too. If the title of my story brought you here then don’t loose hope.
There are many individuals out there who just don’t get and never will and that’s ok. We are not here to prove anything to anyone except ourselves as a woman and to God, our almighty.
In our struggle we must not forget that every journey has a destiny. Yours is different from mine but the result can be the same. The trick is you cannot give up, you cannot forget that dream. You cannot leave it up to someone else, no one else will fulfill your dreams or can.
To be continued… share your comments below….