Youth is imagined, by both adults and youth themselves, as a time filled with rallies, crazy nights, and a rushing feeling of immortality that fuels it all. Being in high school is our time to be carefree, or at the very least only worrying about our grades and homework. But, for many like me, youth doesn’t get to match up to that image.
As a daughter of immigrants, the day I graduated and got accepted into a 4 year University would be the day my parents constantly fleeting “American Dream” would be fulfilled. I could never forget that. Mi mami came from Colombia in pursuit of the opportunity to get educated and escape a dangerous political climate back home. But, life got in the way of those opportunities until eventually it was just my mom and me. Each night watching her break down and beg for me to study the way she never did, I knew a heavy weight rested on my shoulders.
Today, I can finally say I did it. I didn’t have a mami who could help me with my homework, or one who had much time to do that even if she could. But, I had a strong-willed mother who would work endlessly to help me succeed. If you’re reading this Mami, te quiero con todo mi corazon y gracias por trabajar durisimo para mi. Te prometo que valdra la pena.
I said “AGAINST ALL ODDS” because the journey here wasn’t easy. This was much more than just graduating high school or the first step. This was a long exhale after struggling to keep air in. I spent the majority of my high school experience running out of classrooms crying. I faced mental illness diagnosis after new diagnosis after prescription after new therapist and although I can’t say that the battle is won, I can say it’s being fought. Finally, I am on the path to healing. I’m learning & unlearning.
I truly made it, against all odds. Amanda Agustin: daughter of immigrants, first generation, daughter of a single mom, daughter of an addict, low income, queer, PTSD diagnosed, survivor, Latina woman of color, and now high school graduate. Soy la flor que crecio del pavimento.