So there is no blog post for yesterday (June 2nd). I spent my whole day taking down all of my apartment’s decorations; thus stripping it of its unique personality. It has now revert back to that hollow 2 room concrete complex which I called home for two years. It is now almost prepared to take on a new host and assimilate their personality and give them refuge. I know I am being a bit dramatic, but it feels like it should be dramatic. I mean, it was my home for two years. To me It is the end of an era, the destruction of an empire…and I’m done. There will be another post (hopefully) where I go more in-depth and become more dramatic about my apartment.
This post is about something totally different. It’s about realizing what I left behind; not in a sentimental, ‘I miss you’ kind of way. I mean it in a ‘I missed that shot by this much’ kind of thing. Let me explain, I come from a small town in Puerto Rico (which will not be named). There really isn’t anything surrounding us but cows, horses, a couple of beaches and farms (lots of farms). We don’t have many fast food joints, shopping areas, or even schools. My town is a dead-end for all who end up here. Well, if you’re an old person or a grown up with your life set up, then it is a good place to stay. It’s quiet, crime free (relatively) and it’s a small town (very small) so there isn’t much of a hassle to get from one place to the other. However, if you’re young and vibrant then you will feel trapped.
As a young person, you will want to go out to the movies (you have to go out to the next town), you will want to go to the mall (next town), you will want to go to the beach (half-way to the next town), you will want to have a place to hang out (next town), and so on. My town doesn’t have any of those things. There are no clubs where one can get involved, no good extracurricular activities (aside from dancing or track and field) and there isn’t a neutral place where you can hang out with your friends (aside from school and the colmado your mom won’t let you go to even though that’s where she buys milk). My point is that the territory is not meant for young ones, especially the ones who have big dreams and aspirations.
It may sound clichéd, and a little out dated but here in this small town you grow up to be like your parents. Your dad’s a carpenter, you will be a carpenter. Your mom is a hairdresser, you will be a hairdresser. Worse than that, you will only become someone if you learn to keep your legs shut, and a condom in your wallet. I’m not saying that people here are wild voracious animals’ intent on having sex in every corner but it is a bit of a norm to get knocked up before or in high school. The number of preggos in my class weren’t that high, but I knew a countless bunch who couldn’t keep it in their pants and felt the need to skip lunch to go do the dirty. I am not saying sex is bad, I am saying that in a town where there is nowhere to go and nothing to do, doing others was a way of passing the time (even If parents sweared on the virginity of their children).
Nevertheless, the point I’m trying to reach here is that the minds of the people are only sized by the territory they live in. It takes time and dedication to stretch that mind and realize that that small town is only the beginning to your life. Many of my classmates never realized this and by default they still stand in the same town, doing the same things as before they graduated high school. Many have completed a bachelor’s degree, some an associate’s degree but most have found their way back to the Twilight Zone they call home. Barely thirty and they have started families of their own (mostly unwanted). They resort back to the place where their glory days went down, they latch on to others in the same situation and post (on Facebook) continuously how happy they are. I have no reason to doubt them, but sometimes I wonder.
I find no reason to do the same as them. I, from the start, always wanted to get away from home. My mind, stretched by reading, molded by knowledge and fueled by desire led me to walk away. To leave them all behind, even those I called friends. It may have seemed foolish at the time. I was afraid to be alone but I knew sacrifices had to be made; I did cry, much to my dismay. But now that I stand, I stand tall and I am glad I jumped, instead of fall. I am glad I walked away from everything that once held me back, from everybody who told me I couldn’t do it. My phone may not be ringing every day, I may not be invited everywhere, but I can say I did it my way (sorry Sinatra). I am able to go where I please as I please with whom I please. It may seem selfish and mean, but I am setting forth towards what I was meant for. More than that, I am finally surrounded with people who share the same passion as me. People who love me for me and not because they’re afraid to be alone. People who are not afraid to stand up and face conflict, who speak up and take life as it comes and not as they think it should be.
I am glad I got away while I had the chance. I look back and see my old friends tied to dreams not their own, to sentimentalities of long ago. Now reader, don’t you dare say I could have helped them and did not; I did set out to open eyes and guide, even though I had no right or power to do so. You see, a person cannot change unless they want to. As an individual, one can give words of wisdom or options but it is the other person who decides if to take it or not. And that is the crux of everything in this blog. I took the words of my first BA professor and planned to leave the Island as soon as I graduated. I realized my potential and my will. Now, my classmates may have not had words of wisdom and if they did, maybe they didn’t listen to them. Nevertheless, and here comes the twist, who is to say they are not happy doing what they are doing with their lives? I will never know, I bet they don’t even know themselves. All I know is that I am happy leaving this place; not my family, but sacrifices must be made. I am willing a ready to keep running until I reach wherever it is I am meant to be. My classmates may have reached that place, even though it does not seem fulfilling to me.
It seems a little selfish and mean, but remember your happiness can only happen through completing your own dreams.