I’ve always been bipolar or had a split personality. I have this public persona who is incredibly loud and generally obnoxious. It’s always a performance, a dance, a show with no end, no interlude, no intermission. It’s boisterous, arrogant, obstinate and can be rather aggravating. And that’s my better half (the dean of my college Dr. Lisa Bisell Paulson tried to tone it down in me by stating that “less is more”).
The other is more introspective, darker, desperately lonely and entirely alone. It is more hesitant, more contemplative, and often exhausted. Of course, no one can tell when anything develops in human beings but I have a theory. In Mexico, for the first 8 years of my life, I don’t remember even being alone. Not once. When I came to America, I didn’t know the language and kids didn’t play in the street. So I started hanging out at home more. I read more which was good but I played alone more. I had two brothers but David was just an infant. Alonso was starting high school at this time and the most interaction he ever had with me was beating me up. My cousins Junior and Benny beat me up a lot too. And they all beat up my cousins Ulisses, Edgar and Abel as well. And I hope they all feel very guilty about it, those jerks, but I digress.
This was American me and Mexican me. And they never merged. Still haven’t.
The Mexican me wanted to play in the street with Selene and Linda, Hugo and Julio. The American me wanted to get A’s in honors classes and watch Heman once in a while. The Mexican me went door to door selling his mom’s burritos and tamales in any neighbordhood. The American me was embarrassed and didn’t really want his friends to know. The Mexican me can’t wait to tell the next joke or be the butt of one if that’s what it took for a laugh. American me was afraid of laughing. Mexican me was a theology major. American me was a psychology major.
And I really do believe this was all about two different styles of playing in my childhood. In Mexico I don’t remember having any of my own toys. I don’t doubt I did but they were all shared with people. In America, I don’t remember anyone really knowing how to share in a qualitative way.
This battle still strives in my soul. But I became an American citizen this year and it was a hard hard thing to do until I did it. And then like the rest of the time, I was about what’s next. Which one of those guys is winning out? I still have no clue.