Happy Mexican Independence Day

This year Mexican Independence Day has an entirely new meaning for me. 2020 will forever be known as the year of the pandemic but for me this has become a year of personal independence and new beginnings. Out of the blue, I was given a chance to begin writing again. I say again because I have a history as a writer. I wrote my first essay at the age of 8. Writing came naturally to me and I quickly grew accustomed to receiving top grades for my work. At the encouragement of one of my teachers, I entered a city-wide essay contest in the 3rd grade. I finished in 2nd place out of all of the city’s young writers that year. I continued to improve my writing skills throughout my education and found joy taking journalism classes in high school. In fact, I was in the same journalism class with KSAT TV reporter Jen Struski. I spent a semester at a high school in an extremely rough part of San Antonio. The teachers at that school were so impressed with my writing abilities that they had me tutoring other students to help them prep for the essay portion of the standardized testing exams. I knew I was an excellent writer but it never occurred to me to consider writing professionally. As an adult, I find myself writing at random times. I’ve kept journals over the years that mainly consist of song lyrics and unfinished short stories.

I’m being honest in saying that writing was a long forgotten hobby of mine. I can’t help but recall a memory from when I was a little girl. I wrote a short story and I was so impressed with my work that I ran to show my father. He didn’t even bother to read the story. Instead he asked, “What do you think you’re doing writing these stories?” I told him I wanted to go to college to become a writer when I was older. My father’s response was not what you would think. He straight up laughed at me. Any other child probably would’ve burst into tears but I refused. I simply smiled at my father and walked away. I never brought up the subject of writing to my father ever again. As an adult, I’ve thought of that memory with my father many times. I don’t believe he was being mean or trying to mock me. My father grew up in the typical Latino household where the men labor and the women maintain the home. College education was not even a blip on the radar for my father and his family. Thinking back to that moment, I can only assume that the idea of his own daughter becoming a college educated writer was so far-fetched that the idea itself was laughable. Without realizing it, my father sentenced me to a generational curse and stereotype.

I never imagined in a million years that I would be writing again. I certainly never thought I’d be writing for a magazine that is Southside based, Latino, AND woman owned. 2020 has been one heck of a year. Just as I never thought I would be writing again, I never thought I’d live to see a pandemic but here I am living through one. As a little girl, my father shut down the idea that I could become a writer. Yet, here I am with my own blog. I received a copy of Live From The Southside Magazine last week. It was a very surreal moment seeing my written work published for the first time. Of course, I thought of my father who doesn’t know I’m writing. He doesn’t know this blog exists and he doesn’t know about the magazine. He doesn’t know that I’ll finally graduate with a bachelor’s degree in November. I’ll tell him at some point but it won’t be because I need his approval or because I want to prove myself to him. I come from the same barrio as my father. I want him to see that someone from the barrio can become a college educated writer. I want him to realize that the idea isn’t far-fetched. Becoming independent of typical stereotypes has been the best part of this year for me.

Today, I celebrate freedom from generational curses. Along with my fellow Mexicanos, we celebrate Mexico’s independence from Spain. Many don’t realize the battle for Mexico’s independence lasted over the course of 11 years. September 16th commemorates the battle cry of Miguel Hidalgo declaring Mexico’s independence. That day was only the beginning. Today release your own grito and declare independence in your own life. What is holding you back? What generational curses are keeping you bound? Find your own independence! QUE VIVA MEXICO!

Con mucho carino,

Melissa

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