Untitled (non-fiction prose)

By Erika Monjaras

Often times we asks ourselves who we are, and just when we feel we
have it all figured out the deck of cards gets shuffled. As a child
many things made absolutely no sense to me but my junior year of high
school I was told I was undocumented; the puzzle began to slowly piece
itself together. My life story may be somewhat different from my peer
dreamers but we all share something in common that is much greater
than us. Immigration is a social and political issue.Although we are
all Americans in all senses and we did absolutely nothing wrong to
many we are considered criminals. In the beginning I felt like
everything was unfair and as if my family had scarred me for life. I
started to discover that my experiences, as difficult as they were
made me a stronger individual. I have lived in this country since I
was one year old. Neither of my parents were immigrants; I actually
never met them. My mother passed away when I was a couple months old
from breast cancer. My father was a bad person; he mistreated and
abused my mother constantly. After my mother passed away my father
remarried without taking into account what would become of me and my
brother, who was six years old at the time. My aunt brought me to this
country with my cousin’s passport. I began kindergarten a couple of
years after. In high school I became so depressed that I attempted
suicide and was placed in counseling shortly after. I graduated high
school at sixteen years old and went straight into college. I always
feel as if nobody understands me. I often feel like I do not belong.
To Americans I am considered Mexican; to Mexicans I will always be
considered American; and to my family I am considered the child that
is not theirs. When I first knew about my “problem” as so many would
call it, I became paranoid fearing that somebody would “find me out”.
I stopped speaking Spanish outside of home refusing to keep my
Hispanic roots. I was constantly moved around from city to city never
staying longer than two to three years. I attended four different
elementary schools, two middle schools, and four high schools. School
for me became my haven. I constantly have to live with the fear of
getting everything I have worked for taken away and being sent to a
foreign country. Whether it is being blackmailed by my family with the
same excuse of “if you do not do this we are going to take you out of
school and take you to Mexico” or the fear of getting found out, the
feeling is constantly there always in the back of my mind. I am about
to become a Sophomore in college at Santa Ana College; still being
seventeen. In the future I hope to transfer to Cal State Fullerton and
major in Liberal Arts. I would like to become a kindergarten teacher
someday. In I.D.E.A.S I found hope and support as well as amazing
friends such as: Yesenia, Adrian, Ivan, Jonathan, etc. If I had the
opportunity to go back into time and change my situation I would not
take it. These experiences have made me who I am today and I love my
life. My name is Erika Monjaras, I am an undocumented student,and I am
unapologetic and unafraid. I am tired like many others of having to
hide my life. Being an undocumented student is an obstacle that
temporarily limits me but my status will never define who I am or who
I will become. I am an undocumented American and this is my story.

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