Angelica Ayapantecatl, Contributor


Words do not come out.

As I try to speak my truth

My unconsciousness stops me.

Living in fear of one day going back to your home country you never grew up in

This is a reality.

Of waking up at 6 in the morning, making sure your siblings get to school.

Giving them that smile that says “it’ll be okay”

Swallowing the uncertainty that it might just be the last day you see them get ready rushing to catch that yellow bus

Because as soon as you walk through that door, you are vulnerable.

Playing hide and seek with the “family heartbreakers”

Hiding in the shadows to make sure that eagle eye does not catch you.

I am only 16, but yet I have to play the game to someday disrupt the rules.

So I need to hide and pretend I am white,

For me to pass by, and make sure once I get home, I don’t have to say “goodbye”

Hold on, let me stop that bus

This is a reality.

Sitting at my desk, wanting to solve that math problem,

Reminding me even if I can’t solve my own status “problem”

Because the deadline already passed,

And the government hasn’t agreed.

Creating more what ifs and what can’ts

Counting down the 259 days left of your “2 year protective status”

Hold on, don’t leave, “do good in school guys”

Unknowingly staying determined looking for colleges you might not be able to even attend to,

But hustling each day to know you are doing what you can,

Forgetting you are still a teenager but at least you haven’t been caught by la Migra.

This is a reality.

Of how work is paying the gas bill and saving up a stack

in case you do end up going back.

Hold on, have fun at school okay?

Watching to see no red and blue come by cuz they’ll hand you straight to green.

Where they, the family heart breakers, will break your Latinx pride and stitch in that broken heart, trauma.

“Okai, I know I said this but listen to your teachers.”

This is reality.

Of a 16 year old undocumented Latina woman,

Who has to take care of her siblings, fighting to finish high school and working to help pay bills,

Worrying about college and her aspirations,

But yet at the same time, worrying about her future taken away because of DACA balancing at a mountain’s peak

“Apurenle, ya llego el bus pero diviertanse”

Having mouths stabbing my creativity and stereotypes sewed up on my skin.

Dreams of what people call “impossible”

Cries of surrender and stabs of “go back to your damn country”

Hurry, the bus is here.

I see my madrecita.

“Échale ganas mija”

I know mom, I’m trying my best,

I’m not drugs nor some gangs

“Be safe guys”

Esto es realidad.

The harsh truth of breaking families apart.

Fearing that the next day you might not wake up to see your siblings or mother.

That because of a society “status” you have to leave everything behind and go to the place where you were born but not raised.

“Portense bien okai?”

Es realidad.

El miedo q tenemos q cargar por no ser blanca o ciudadana.

So let me tell you this.

I am not your bargaining chip.

I am not your quotation marks criminal.

And in no way do you get to decide if I am an “illegal alien” or “illegal criminal” or your “vato”

“Do good in school okay! Se portan bien ehh!”

My hidden words will speak louder than the shadows you’ve built.

Yes. I am a dreamer.

Yes I am scared yet fearless at the same time.

Yes I am the disruption to your system

Yes, I am confleis y la India Maria

Yes i am the tamales y mole

And si, soy Mexicana y orgullosa de serlo.

And I am educated and I promise you

That your nightmare of my dream becoming the first undocumented Latina artist woman president will be a reality.

“I love you guys, se cuidan”

Esto es mi realidad.

This is MY reality.

This article was originally published in the September 27, 2019 issue.