For over a decade, my return to the U.S. countdown had been one of the most constant elements of my post-deportation life. September 1st was probably the most anticipated date of the year for me until the countdown reached zero (in 2019). Today, it has become a meaningless milestone as my personal circumstances to request a U.S. visa remain unfavorable. Perhaps this realization has given less importance to this “anniversary” or maybe it is the natural consequence of the passage of time, converting into a distant memory with a diminishing effect on my present.
In 2022 (year 13), September 1st passed by me unperceived. I carried on with a normal workday. The following weekend I was not feeling particularly well and allowed myself to fall back into what had become my bad habits during those times of emotional turmoil – wasting time on social media, binge-watching, sleeping at irregular intervals, etc. But this time I wasn’t experiencing a particular emotional state that could explain it. Thankfully, as I have been working on adopting a more disciplined approach to self-care since mid-year (incorporating daily yoga, meditation practices, and exercise), in a matter of days it was easier for me to get back to my healthier routine and habits which have made a difference in reducing the frequency of the disruptive emotional cycles. I have been more diligent in monitoring my progress in my daily journal. As the new week started, I carried on with a more harmonious state of being. September had gone by before I noticed that I have forgotten about the post-deportation anniversary. My body may have remembered how I usually feel on that particular date (perhaps an explanation for my symptoms earlier in the month), but my mind didn’t.
It was this year that my present become more important than the traumatic event that had defined my post-deportation life. I’m still in the process of figuring out what this means in terms of reflecting upon a past experience that is still part of my life’s work with a career in migration/displacement, and how it colors my current thoughts, emotions, and experience. But perhaps I have found a new milestone in my healing process – that at a conscious/subconscious level, the events of September 1st no longer have a hampering effect on my emotional well-being and the possibilities I envision for myself in the future.
This blog remains active since its launch in October 2012. This anniversary is worth celebrating!