This I Believe

Juan - Live Oak, Texas
Entered on March 6, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: setbacks
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This I believe. I am worn but not broken. In my youth I was introduced to what was right or wrong. I am one of five children of a divorced Hispanic mother who struggled to keep her family intact. I was a product of the welfare system. I’ve known real hunger to the point that my only escape was sleep. I’ve known hard labor as a migrant worker harvesting cantaloupes with my family to accumulate enough wealth for the coming school year so that my brothers and I could attend. I struggled with my faith, but never renounced it, as I experience the cruelty that the world has to offer through conflict.

This I believe. I am worn but not broken. I struggle with my family, angry that they enjoy life so much while I am stuck in memories of my mind. I explained to deaf ears of experiences in cities like Srebrenica or Baghdad, for them movie shows on the television that could easily be changed by the flip of a switch, but for me engraved in the movie clips of my memory forever.

This I believe. I am worn but not broken. It is in my early years that I got introduced to the man in the mirror, except that he was a child. It was there where I started to define who I was and what I was all about; where I had no problems seeing me and believing in me. Too bad I did not remain in that state of naiveté because as I matured the man in the mirror stops looking. It is difficult to remember the child in the mirror and what I stood for as I was pushed into the business of living. While I struggled to please all those around me for acceptance, I became someone whom I am not. I looked the other way when things were not right and rationalize it with my struggling participation in the human race. In the end, I am looking but not seeing, seeing but not feeling, and feeling but not caring. It is me without the child-like quality that began my journey suffocated by the corruptions of the world around me.

This I believe. I am worn but not broken. I have survived but am not yet fully living, waiting to come home. Certainly it how I feel when I have had to make major changes that took me out of my comfort zone. The constant worry of feeling exposed in an unfamiliar environment until such time as I was able to adjust. Everything seeming new, and while scary, so interesting that it occupies my mind as personal growth occurs. It is growth that builds on itself. It is development that never really ended. I am waiting for the child to return to my image in the mirror determined to ensure a pleasant final conversation with the man in the mirror, because I am worn but not broken, this I believe.