A quick glance at a first-generation Mexican American woman living in Fullerton, California with an extensive line of relatives in Michoacán Mexico – an internal cultural struggle and adaptation to finding yourself from the eyes of a natural spiritual seeker. Challenging and beautiful.
I recently took yet another trip to visit family located in the center of
Tancítaro, Michoacán Mexico. It is the heart of avocado production; a business my uncle Jorge created from scratch who eventually became the president of agriculture development of the state of Michoacán. Mexicans are a proud race and as such we are over the top proud of our name Viveros which embodies the accomplishments my family has had over the years in the fields of the avocado industry. It is a representation of our determination to better living and the outstanding work ethic we all hold so dearly as a unit.
I was received by my aunt’s delicious mole and an endless number of hugs and welcoming. It’s a tradition whenever the “gringas” show up to what was once our grandparents’ home who are no longer with us.
It wasn’t always like this. See, my parents were looking for opportunity and a better life when they came to USA back in the mid-80s. They suffered in extreme poverty and violence at a very young age while living in Mexico. They took a chance and came here to try to live peacefully. That was their goal and purpose in life: survival. So, when my father, illiterate and unable to speak the language, struggled his way into becoming a stable truck driver, his goals were met. My mother had abandoned her entire family to get away from the violence she faced. She did her best in raising three children alone with a man she met twice before getting married. It was the only escape she could see at the end of the tunnel.
Fast forward to my life today. I’d like to think of myself as an educated fast-paced learner with hunger for knowledge and growth. I never knew what it was like to not eat for three days straight. I never knew what it was like to work at the age of 8 to try to provide for my siblings. I never knew what it felt like to be afraid of being deported and discriminated against because I didn’t have “papers”. This was their world and my world has been completely different because of their sacrifice.
My connection with my parents and feeling what they feel has been both a blessing and a curse. Painful experiences can damage one’s soul. Not many can recover from it or know how. A blessing because I get to see and live both sides of the coin. Visiting family brings me so much joy and reminds me of my roots. It brings warmth and a reminder of how important family is. Sometimes I feel like Mexico is my home and that it’s where I belong.
At the same time, I can’t imagine living there. The dangers of the civil war going on are real. The comfort of an American lifestyle was the peace my parents wanted for me. I find myself constantly confused about what I am most, Mexican or American. My heart stays with my family in Mexico but my strength carries over to the U.S. determined to become something more significant.
I want to bring more to the table and create purpose with intent. I want to add “published writer” and “humanitarian” to our name. I want to give back to communities and help those who need it the most. In the U.S. and in Mexico. We shouldn’t just learn and move on. I believe that for all of us, our purpose in life is not only to break bad habits, but to make sure we all rise together as individuals and as one. Whether you are a first-generation Mexican American man or a fifth-generation American woman, we are all responsible for each other’s lives, not just our own. First help yourself. But, don’t ever forget to help others second. That’s the most important action for slowly creating an active utopia and ending self-sabotage for future generations to come.