My life now is drastically different from the one that my family planned out for me, and if I were to be completely honest, it is not exactly the one I had envisioned for myself. For starters, I am not an ambitious shark of a corporate lawyer whose primary goal within the next ten years is to slowly ease into politics. I am not the doting momma of a chubby toddler (cared for by my momma while I am at work) or the loving wife of my first love, who is an equally ambitious businessman, lawyer or doctor. There was no bi-continental wedding written about in society pages. I didn't get to re-wear the self-designed ball gown I wore when I became a debutante. I didn't borrow my momma's wedding veil, or have my da walk me down the aisle. There is no house on a cliff that overlooks the sea, or a minivan littered with sippy cups and Animal Crackers. There is no Barney and Friends DVD permanently residing inside my DVD player. My parents won't ever get to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary surrounded by a houseful of grandkids and great-grandkids. So many things didn't happen, so many plans didn't pan out. Time passed, self-imposed deadlines came and went, and the life I thought I would one day have--the one I worked so hard for--will remain someone else's, never mine.
I spent my late teens to early twenties meandering through a hazy fog of loss. Loss of my da. Loss of my innocence. Loss of certainty, security, familiarity. They say bad things come in threes, and in threes they indeed came. 1, 2, 3: the pillars of my life slowly crumbled to the ground, and my world crashed. It was an Age of Darkness. I was lost, searching and waiting for Hector amid the ruins of my world.
Mid-twenties were spent rebuilding and (re) discovering. An Age of Hope. Awareness. I decided to withdraw my acceptance into law school and started being more involved in human rights advocacy. Worked with immigrants and refugees. Became more active with language and cultural revitalization of Native Peoples. Became involved with helping survivors of gender-based crimes (re)gain their sense of self-worth. In helping survivors heal, I somehow began my process of healing as well.
And now here I am, in my late twenties, finding Andromache and keenly aware I had saved myself. Still wandering, though not lost. I've found a place of my own in this vast world.
I think my da would be happy and proud to know that when I turn thirty in the future, I will have already lived the life I deserved and needed.