How I found peace in literature
“Eso es lo que somos: brunch y burundaga, quiche y arroz con habichuelas, Chase Manhattan y la bolita… Todo depende de como empaques tu equipaje.” – Dolores Prida
I have few memories of when I first came to the United States. I was six then and I don’t quite remember if I was sad or excited about leaving the rural village in Guanajuato, where I was born, for Houston.
I do remember, though, that as I was growing up, I was often divided between two different worlds. Code-switching between home and school and maintaining a tie with my extended family back in Mexico, while at the same time getting to know a diverse groups of people here made me feel as if I was simultaneously part of two opposing worlds. My struggle with understanding my reality prevailed until I was introduced to the works of Hispanic writers, who, as their profession demanded, were able to articulate their experiences more lucidly than I could have ever imagined.
There are many universal themes found in literary works that help us better understand the human experience. Books that explore the uncertainty of a migrant in a new land, the disillusionment of an unfulfilling job, and the melancholy of unrequited love, all contribute their part in helping us better understand our own personal conflicts.
For me, it was not until the spring of 2015 that I first saw reflected my cultural and social identity in literary works. I still remember the feeling of surprise that overtook me as I read Dolores Prida’s text, and realized that she was describing what I had felt for several years but had not been able to articulate.
I had always been confused by my dual character, believing that I was stuck between two worlds, the one that I had left behind in my native Mexico and the one that I presently lived in in Houston, and needed to choose one and reject the other.