This I Believe

Bryan - Evansville, Indiana
Entered on November 2, 2008
Themes: family, humility
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I believe in Rough Roots

I am proud of my Salvadoran background. I used to think it was a bad thing because of society’s judging. It used to get annoying fast. People that noticed or tried to communicate with me automatically had an “ideaâ€? of who I was. I was instantly Mexican. When I stated their errors, they replied, “Well, don’t you speak Mexican?â€? From then on I just became more frustrated. I just didn’t like the fact that I was instantly someone else. I felt like I just shared the same identity with many others. I pictured what would happen if I responded: “But hey, isn’t your family Mexican?â€? Again the frustration arises. People’s habits reminded me of a machine in horrible condition: rust everywhere, oil needed, and parts missing.

When I was 14, my father pulled me from my video game and I was angry because I just wanted to play. At the time I didn’t realize it, but the story he was going to tell me was going to change my life. In Spanish, he started, “Bryan, you know my father’s death anniversary is coming up and I want to take you to El Salvador to see him for that occasion.â€? I was surprised because I had only been to El Salvador once as a baby. I replied, “Sure, I’ll go,â€? With that, it was settled; I was going to see my grandfather’s grave.â€? When I arrived to the funeral, I was astonished. I saw thousands of people gathering over one man. I never saw so many people at once. I was sad for the actual death, but at the same time, I felt great. Our family name did mean something. I felt good about myself. My father told me that my grandfather was a great man; everyone knew him. The Salvadoran military force saw my father as a perfect candidate for a soldier. My father refused; he would not fight and kill a man just because he could. My father decided to leave to America and leave everything behind. Not too long after, my grandfather was killed and my dad wanted to return badly but he couldn’t. He kept living in California, making a living for himself. He learned English, grew wiser, married my mother, and had me. “That’s that,â€? my father ended in Spanish. All of this was shocking to me. I couldn’t understand how he wasn’t showing tears. His pain, sorrows, and struggles; all so real. I realized that the blood of my father and grandfather is within me now. I carry it now…with pride. After hearing and experiencing all of those situations I realized that being humble and proud of your roots is important and good for you.