At a young age I would say I was quite different from the other children on the playground. I have always been told that I am a happy child and seem to be living in “la la” land yet it is these quick connotations people make of others without translating them first. Each person has a story within oneself waiting to be translated for others to hear and to take for themselves. In doing so, these translations may cross cultural borders allowing for the exchange of foreign lives and histories. Not only can borders be crossed among lands, but also within oneself. Upon hearing other people’s stories, I began to translate my own story by redefining my own speculations through an opening of reality, allowing me to cross internal borders and to connect to other people through a mirror of my story.
I learned quickly what life’s hardships had to offer as a young child. At the early stages of learning how to read, I already understood the realms of mortality. The passing of my father was my opening to reality at the mere age of five but did not only consist of negative repercussions. My personal incident did not demoralize my being, rather allowed me to use my drawbacks as a learning advantage. With every death comes grief, but it is up to myself to change that grief into an opportunity of insight on every aspect of reality. It is these moments of disheartenment that allow me to speculate on what I can become of this. Rather than kicking around the pebble, I took it upon myself to take the road less traveled hoping that I could continue my journey without his presence.
Times of despair tend to leash the stories incarcerated by people’s lives. Growing up, I noticed I kept my story to myself in the same way. The demise of my father was not a public opening for me until years to come. I was always very reserved about his passing and never spoke of it unless directly asked of his presence. It seemed unnecessary for me to openly discuss it since I believed it was something of unimportance to others. Since it is not her father then why would she care? Openly talking about him to others was not going to bring him back, so I thought it was pointless to discuss the matter.
In the same way that immigrating to other countries offers advantages, one must not remain constricted within borders if opportunities lay beyond. Borders are nothing but a dotted line on a map with invisible boundaries made to be crossed. The term nationality can be applied to oneself and one’s own boundaries. My previous notions of others not interested in hearing what I have to say or that discussing my father’s passing was not going to change things were in essence my border. They kept me constricted as if confining me in my own nation. It was up to me to become the patrol of my own border. I first needed to discover how to become the agent of patrolling, which could only be accomplished by redefining my assessment of whether or not I should discuss my absent father openly.
My ideology of things not changing by simply discussing my father’s death was completely clouded by ignorance. It obviously was not going to bring him back, but what I did not understand was the importance of the impact on sharing my story. The assumption that no one is interested in listening to my story was in itself a complete disregard of others stories as well. Telling mine is equivalent to listening to others also, so if I choose not to tell, what makes me believe others will share their stories? It is the exchange of stories that allows for the transgression of personal borders. My personal gain of insight was in hearing others speak of their stories. By taking off their masks I was finally able to see that they all have the same face as me. It was in these moments of witnessing the unmolding of others that allowed me to unmold myself. We all are holding onto our histories that need to cross to “the other side” where they can be heard, whether the other side is within oneself or across mediums.
Listening to other people’s stories gave me insight of how I have come to cross my own border after an opening in my life. It was not mortality that redefined who I am rather the act of using that mortality to transgress with those around me. Over time I began to question my reasoning and presumption of others when I encountered many other incarcerated stories. I learned I was not the only one with a concealed history. Everyone has a story and each his/her own mask. It’s up to each individual to remove his/her mask, only to find the same face behind each. As I began to see the same face behind every mask, I realized we all share the same element of exclusivity, not letting others into our lives. These hidden stories, although existent, remain silent until they are finally revealed by a removing of masks thus leading to the transgression of people’s personal borders. One can cross a border within oneself once this step has been made.
In transgressing with others, I was able to emigrate from my own personal nation and cross my invisible boundaries. Keeping myself within was only incarcerating who I am as a person, diminishing my ability to extend beyond norms. I was quick to assert others notions without even considering their situations, which I found to mirror mine. Making these distinctions defined me as the agent to patrol my own border, which was opened by learning about other stories. “The other side” for me was the liberation of expressing the person I have become. Now knowing the listener may relate to my challenges, I am able to openly discuss my past in this new land I have crossed. I do not shy away from telling others about my father passing and instead utilize it as a bridge to hear other stories as well. When someone asks me of his presence I find myself now fully engaged in discussing not only his absence but also himself as a being and how he has made me the woman I am today. My overcome-grief past has redefined my negative assumptions of others and has translated not only who I am today, but also my way of thought into the effectiveness transgression of borders holds.