Her awkwardness was evident. Not really sure she belonged. She and her mother had ventured a long way from their quaint little village. A never ending, so it seemed, highway brought them to the much talked about “norte”. All she knew was that she was with her mother on a journey to “visit” her Dad. At 9 years of age, no details are needed, just that you are going on a trip. Little did she know that “el norte” would become home.
Years passed rapidly since their arrival and now here she was in another unknown, chaotic environment, where puberty was at its peak. Who knew “bullying” would become such a hot topic? Who knew “mean girls” would be made into a movie? All she knew was she needed to find a way to survive. Why was it that every place she went, including “home” was a fight to stay alive? Life and the pursuit of purpose and meaning continued, hoping to find less pain.
She was not one of “them”. She was not one of “those”. Where did she belong? Where did she fit in? Her clothes had no label, but always clean. Her shoes needed to last and last, cause unless they were falling apart, she would not get another. Who knew outfits needed to match? Well, she knew, she just couldn’t do anything about it. New clothes and shoes and supplies for the school year was not in her radar.
Mr. Diaz was a kind man. He invited her to “The Mecha Club”. She decided to go, maybe she’d fit in? Who knew? Walking in with heavy feet – her feet have been heavily dragging for most of her life – there she was. Her thrift store attire was no match for this clean and pressed group. Stared at, looked up and down to see if she matched the criteria…if she fit in. What torture for a girl who couldn’t hang with the outside crowd, but she sure didn’t seem to fit in with the in crowd.
What was it that attracted her to the gang life? She sure didn’t fit in. She sure didn’t belong. Somehow she managed to get “similar” clothes, tried the make up and hair look AND got the nickname “La Sleepy” — how’s that for a fear inducing name?
Initiation antics followed. Alcohol and dabbling in other illegal substances. Although alcohol had already been the numbing agent of choice. It was the only way to numb the pain of the abuse ( The Runaway).
Junior High, a bridge between kidhood and younghood. A place where fitting in felt more like a pinball machine, however, the “scoring” was way, way off. And, being an immigrant girl with an accent did not help the volley from one place to another, from one group to another.
It seems like ages ago, and yet so readily available in the memory bank. Survived, and life continued with more road to travel on this journey of life.