DEALING WITH MY SORROW by Samuel Gonzalez
I’ve been working on myself a lot, my inner self. I’ve been meditating and processing the things of my past that have left gaps in my emotional well-being. As expected, there is a lot to work on.
Today I was driving down the highway, just thinking about how I could describe the depression I have been experiencing lately. Last week I was happy and laughing and having a good time and now, today, I feel sullen and crestfallen.
As I follow the thought process, I get this twinge in my heart. As if this seesaw of emotions has a familiar sentido. Like I have felt this before. It’s familiar. I keep exploring what it is exactly that it reminds me of and a memory of something a family member told me once leaps from my subconscious to my conscious mind. Maybe they said it more than once. I cannot recall that detail because it has been more than thirty five years since it happened.
This family member used to babysit us as my mother and father were on their hustle working to make ends meet. During the summers we would spend the entire day with this relative and their children.
One day, as I foggily recall, all of us kids were playing and having a good time, as kids do. I was laughing and laughing, like any kid does, at silly things. I can remember giggling and my belly being tight with mirth while I was having trouble catching my breath from so much laughter.
For reasons that I couldn’t comprehend, this family member said to me, “Te va a volver llanto,” and I froze. I stopped laughing. My young mind struggled to reason with what this meant. The words milled in my mind as I waited for clarity, all within a millisecond and then it dawned on me what they meant. Loosely translated, it means that as hard as you are laughing now, it will return to you in sobbing and weeping. I stared at them in awe. How could this be real? How did this work? Why did my heart fall immediately in agreement with this? It got me thinking, which kept me silent and that meant the end of my laughter.
I’m sure this family member wasn’t trying to be malicious. As I recall, it was just them stating what they considered a fact. Mexicans have a certain reputation for their dichos and their tragic outlook. There’s a dicho for every situation in life. Of course, few translate into english. This is one of the ways we pass on a part of our heritage to the next generation. I don’t hold any ill will toward this relative. And at the recollection of this event, I still didn’t feel angry or anything like that. I do feel like they cursed me. It is as if i have been walking around with an actual curse on my life. What a tragic dicho to tell a laughing child.
Since that day, every time i laugh too much, I think about this dicho and then expect to cry soon. This seemingly insignificant incident actually conditioned me to expect happiness to be followed by sadness like it was normal, like it was karmic, like some cruel universal law. Throughout grade school, high school, and even college, I expected sobbing to follow times of joy and laughter. And when it did, it became a self fulfilling prophecy.
Until today, I hadn’t thought about this dicho or saying since maybe my twenties which is over half of my lifetime ago. For whatever reason it was coming up for me now during this time of healing.
As I do my healing work, these wisps of memory float to the surface of my consciousness for a reason. My new work is to explore how much damage or inner conflict was created by this one incident. I want to unpack all the dusty nuances of hurtful words from so long ago. Maybe this is more work than I can accomplish in this lifetime, but I want to try.
I texted my mother to tell her what I had remembered and she replied, “Why didn’t you tell me this then, so I could have addressed it?” I don’t know, mother. I didn’t even know that it had had such an effect on me. Why would I say anything about it as a child? I didn’t think it was that big of a deal.
No one else seems to remember this happening either, so perhaps I could have my facts mixed up about who said it to me, but I know it happened. I didn’t just make it up.
It is things like this that cause me to be angry with my subconscious. I mean, it hides painful things away from my conscious mind to protect me, but I hate that. I can deal with anything it is hiding. I know I can. I desire for these things to be known. It just means I have to keep meditating and diving deeper into my own mind. What a fascinating place to explore.
Conceived in the San Joaquin Valley, educated in Southern California and seasoned in the Bible Belt, Samuel González is now living out his dreams in Oakland’s east side. He spends his time concocting ways in which to create. As well as acting and singing, Samuel has been developing his voice as a writer of poetry, fiction and magical realism. He served three years on the board of QueLACo (Queer Latin@ Artist Collective) where he worked closely with the Bay Area’s best creative artists. You can find him on tumblr, twitter, instagram, youtube, and vine.