My life has been a constant hassle for the past six months. From relocating to establishing a business venture, it has certainly been a time of much change and rearranging. But I think part of me was using that as an excuse to take some time away from blogging. The state of politics in both Mexico and the US has been chaotic (perhaps writing about it could have helped me a bit more) but the blogging hiatus was more about an internal and personal process. I could not quite put my finger on it until I Tweeted the following to my friend Azul with whom I have kept the daily #postdeportation countdown as we were approaching 2018:
3,036 days gone & 616 days left on my 10 year US re-entry ban @HappyCosmopolit. Merry Christmas dear one!
In addition to the Christmas spirit, I smell change in the air. As 2017 comes to an end, I’m working on being ready to let go of much of my #Postdeportation mess.
— Mundo Citizen (@mundocitizen) December 24, 2017
Most aspects of my life, including personal, work, advocacy and my writing have been shaped and influenced by my deportation experience. Even this blog, it started because of a story I wanted to tell and the opinions I thought needed to be shared from a perspective of someone like me. At the same time, the realist part of me has come to feel that it has all reached an expiration date. Anything that could have been accomplished by sharing my story has already happened and what has not (i.e. social justice or some sort of reparations) will never happen.
Although I plan to complete the postdeportation countdown until it reaches zero, I know that my life is not going to change drastically as it did when I was first expelled from the US. As I try to explain to most people that have followed me over the years with this blog and my social media conversations, ending a 10 year US re-entry ban will not magically give me the life I had before deportation. That is because that life no longer exist. I don’t even know if visiting the US will be an option, or whether I want to do that under this administration, especially because I’m likely to lack the qualifications necessary to prove to the US government that I don’t intend to overstay a tourist visa. The cards against me are my Mexican nationality and my undocumented past which always be a burden too difficult to overcome. I hope that my good track history with countries that have actually given me visas (UK, Canada, Germany) plays in my favor, but then again, we are talking about an irrational administration when it comes to migration. I still plan to at least try just for the sake of documenting the whole process, but I need to be willing to waste an application fee ($160 USD) for a minute-long interview that will probably result in a denied visa request. But, I’ll cross that bridge when the time comes.
This leaves me confronting the life I have tried to reconstruct in the last 8 years, somehow incomplete, at times wanting for it to be different and feeling frustrated from trying to fit misplaced pieces that will no longer be in their place; feeling despair because my sense of home was taken away and I can’t seem to recreate it. However, these are the things that I want to change, leave behind, or have some sense of closure. My realization is that I can only begin to do that to the extent that I am able to disengage from the post-deportation conversation; a seemingly impossible task as I have constant reminders that it’s very much present in my daily life, but perhaps I can find a way that it no longer takes center stage. Also, I don’t want this blog to be a recycling bin of grievances of the US and Mexican government or immigrant advocacy efforts that fail at inclusion. It has plenty of that already and I don’t see how any of it will drastically shift in a positive direction anytime soon.
I’m still sorting this out, but now I am ready to explore and I hope this blog follows me in that process. I am sure it will still be political, that it will continue to take a critical look at social issues (definitely migration as a research area I have undertaken). But I also want it to tackle the life’s nuances as I navigate it, reconnecting a past that illuminates the way I see the present in situations that are never dull for a citizen of the world like myself who constantly challenges labels and categories of nationality, identity, and belonging.
Thank you to all my followers and everyone who continues to support, encourage and inspire my writing.