Sometimes I find myself filled with an unerring sense of ennui and trepidation, a depression that has no face nor source nor logic to it and is, as such, a more fearful enemy. When I probe these feelings for the center I find nothing but fear, and maybe it is this fear that gives birth to my unease and my unease that in turn gives birth to my depression. It is fleeting and yet devastating. Momentary as the cloud of locusts that descends and departs again within a day but leaves the earth behind it scarred and barren, it comes and goes within hours or at most days. In the more recent months I find that these episodes come on the heels of problems of money. Is it money then that is the root of my unhappiness?
This one is born of anger as well, and a sense of hopelessness. Those “friends” or “family” I would have counted on in years gone by abandoned me in the days of their ease and now, when confronted with the face of poverty, return to me with hands out and fake smiles.
“Why haven’t you called us all this time? You forgot us. Nos has olvidado, no nos quieres ya.”
When it is them instead who forgot me, left me behind, and deleted my calls.
Sí, los he olvidado, y con razón. Yes, I have forgotten you, and when I send you this check I will forget you again. When you didn’t need me you never called, and now that you do I find your number three or four or five times in my phone per day; do not placate me with words of tenderness. Hijada querida, nuestra adoptive, la tremenda Molly… ya no soy.
I peel off bits of my skin, shedding like a snake, becoming someone else, someone whole and yet broken, someone different in spite of the memories that surround me like mosquitoes on a summer’s eve. I am not you any longer, I am not me, or her, or them. I speak many languages and find no home for any of them.
I speak English but I am not American. I wear hijab and pray towards Mecca but I am not Egyptian like my husband nor do I speak Arabic. I speak Spanish but carry no blood or reason or remnant in my life that explains why.
My identity shifts like an ocean’s tide.
But beneath I am me despite having no mould within which to fit myself in comfort. Instead I forge my way through this world with nothing but my heart and my God Who knows who I am and what I am and from where I come and to where I will return.
I have no frame of reference but my own.
I fit myself to no one but who I choose to be.
Ya no soy su hijada.
Hoy no soy quien fui ayer ni quien seré mañana.
Ayer, ahora, mañana y siempre, me nazco cada día en forma nueva.
I am who I am, I will be who I will be, and I will walk the paths that God places before me. But today I find myself empty but for what others wish for me to be.
And tomorrow I will have forgotten this fleeting moment of unsettled ennui.
But today, I am not what you would want me to be.