Up until I was sixteen, I had lived and been raised as an only child. My grandmother had taken me in while Mother was in the USA living the American Dream.
It was a great childhood, don’t get me wrong. I had all my needs covered, and my grandmother always corrected me when I misbehaved and when I called her 'Mom'; I grew up knowing she was my Grandma, but to me, she was MOM. Today, I am who I am because of how she shaped me to become, and I think she did a pretty good job. I am responsible, reliable, friendly, hard-worker, and I know when to pick my battles; life is not to take too seriously. No one comes out alive! She is my hero.
When I moved to the USA, my Mother took me in after I had lived with my aunt for a year. Both women are hard-worker, hilarious, and very strong minded. They have always worked two jobs if possible, and a side job for extra cash; they're always there for each other, celebrating our triumphs, and together in the bad times. Sure we have our rough patches, but so is life. We are Family, we all have our ghosts, but we're always come out above. These two ladies are my hero.
At sixteen, I had taken a job cleaning tables and washing dishes at a restaurant where my uncle worked; he is the brother of my mom's and aunt's. I overheard him once saying he didn't want me to start that type of job, washing dishes and shit, he didn't want me to do what he used to do. He wanted me to do something better paid. But I had no many options, you see, and I wanted to work. I needed the money.
I worked at the restaurant for a year before I decided that I needed to learn English. My brothers were getting older, and I needed to be able to communicate with them. Mother would need help to translate, and I didn't wan to depend on somebody else to do what I should be doing. So I talked to Manuel, Mother's boyfriend, to see if he'd be able to back me up in going to school since that would mean my hours at work would be cut back. He strongly agreed, and I was extremely happy for it. I went back to my manager, Jesus, to tell him the good news; he had already told me that I had to go to school. I remember perfectly the day when he said something about it to me; I had worked a 12 hour shift and he was taking me home when he asked me how old I was."You're still young and you have your mom here. Take the opportunity to go to school," and what that being said, he switched my schedule to the evening and I was set to start the paperwork to go to high school.
In the years to come through High School, I hung out with the waiting staff at the restaurant; it helped me to improve my pronunciation and vocabulary. I knew I had an accent, so I had to work twice as hard to get it right since it would be difficult to understand me. At the same time, I was dealing with financial issues, family issues, and my sexuality; a few things to juggle at the age of seventeen which I guess would be consider 'normal' in this society. It could had been worse if I was back in Mexico, I want to look at the situation from that perspective. Thank God, I had a few people to lean on while I was going through those rough years. A few names come to mind, Rusty, Joseph, Salena, Kevin, Heather, Laura, Chad, Skyler, Lee, Mandy, Valerie, Flor, Gloria; they all were part of my life at some point when I was feeling low and they came swooping me back up. In their own way, they've helped shaped the type of person and friend I am now.
To wrap this up, when it comes to a HERO, do not dare to tell me who I can call my hero.
Heroes come with different capes and powers.
Heroes come to help the ones that need a hand.
Heroes are the ones to make a difference in someone's life.
In today's society, we are so involved in our own ego and bullshit that we get blinded and deaf to other people's struggle; we say we get it, we understand, we see where others come from, but we turn around and go two steps back. It's frustrating to have to explain each other why some things are the way they are. And it would be okay if we agree to disagree, and move on, sincerely learn from each other, and grow personally to better the future as a society. Where exactly am I going with this? I go back to Miss Caitlyn Jenner. She has been judged and personally attacked for being called a hero over other people, soldiers especially. I'm not here to bash on any one, but to try and make sense why Miss Jenner is considered a hero: of course she did not save lives like the soldiers have, but she is doing her part by speaking out for the LGBTQ community, for the youth coming to terms with their own sexuality in a society where you're attacked even for smelling different. Miss Jenner is speaking and standing up for the transgender community and make an impact in those that feel trapped, attacked, fearful for their lives every time they step into the streets of the country you all are so proud of, the land of the free that ostracize their own. Soldiers are fighting for our freedom, so why do we still marginalize others, especially someone who is helping a minority you continually put down?
Do not dare to tell me you're ok with gay and transgender people, but you go back to social media and flood your feeds with subtle pokes and jabs at them. Over and over. I get it, you don't know any different, you're homophobic, you need to educate yourself, you need time to get adjusted, and it's all ok; but do yourself a favor, and while you're doing any of the above, keep your mouth shut. By speaking non-sense, you're not exercising your freedom of speech, you're just making a fool of yourself, and becoming into the generation that your grandkids will be embarrassed in twenty years to come. Don't repeat history, we are better than that!