After 7 years of blogging*, I am deciding to give Mundo Citizen a rest. It has been a good run, sometimes sprinting with many long pauses in between. Much has come to pass since my first post with a copy of the letter I addressed to the Obama administration or that blog series where I narrated my own story of detention and deportation.
This past September 1, 2019 marked the end of my 10-year US-reentry ban (Just look at that counter to the right). And although I still have many other hurdles to overcome to be able to legally return to the US (including permission to reapply for admission in addition to the normal visa), there will come a point where I will engage in that process. It is just crazy to think that 10 years later, legal migration has not been facilitated and yet, we are asked to try our best against all odds. This is the reason why I consciously made a decision to wait until I was ready to deal with this. I don’t want to be emotionally nor financially drained because of it and I am in no rush to return. It will happen in due time.
10 years after deportation does feel like a new phase in my life, which entails giving closure to this current one. The healing process I have engaged in the past months (including therapy) has allowed to give myself permission (the good kind) to let go of things that have been grounded in my deportation trauma. This blog is one of them. I will miss it, and the identity I had created around it. Mundo (World) Citizen is an uplifting concept and when I initially picked it as a name for this blog was because I knew it could transcend a story of deportation. And it a way it will. Although this blog ends, I will continue to find platforms for expression through writing, I just do not want it to be on a platform where my voice is not given its due credit. My not-so-great experiences with other activists, civil society organizations, and academics (both in Mexico and the U.S.) where my story and content get used without proper acknowledgment (or permission) have made me wiser in searching for other ways to create and contribute to dialogue without feeling used, exploited or becoming a subject to the extractivism of lazy & opportunist people and institutions who can’t do their own work to contribute to the migrant rights conversation (it’s time to do it on my terms).
Do you need a migrant story/expert POV for your scholarly article? Invite me to collaborate, don’t just ask me for an interview, focus group or to give you access to other deportees (do your own fieldwork as I do my own!). Do you need a testimonio for your next journalistic piece? Tell me how your article is going to tell migrant stories in a dignified way rather than just being a vehicle to your next story deadline. Also, don’t ask me to retell my deportation story I have told too many times because I’m done with that (hint: this is what closure looks like). And I am likely to decline to participate in documentaries or other migration projects where I don’t have a say in its direction or it is not done collaboratively (I also mean compensation).
I’m done being a passive subject and being used by others to give your work credibility when it lacks substance and rigor. I rather create my own content and even if it doesn’t have the same resources and reach as other platforms, at least I can be assured that I take control of how my story and my work are shared. This is a reminder that my story is my own. Reclaiming it is part of what I will be prioritizing in my post-ban phase.
Even when I’m redefining how I would like my story to take shape in the public sphere, I also would like to acknowledge that others writing my story has served its purpose. But now it is time I write my own. When I first started blogging, I thought maybe it would lead me to write a published memoir. That hasn’t happened yet and it is an indication to start doing the necessary work to make that a reality. Blogging has been a good training ground, but I will need to be more diligent about developing this craft. It is certainly a personal project I will work on at some point. Also, in it’s due time. There is still a life to live that is worth writing about because I’m more than a deportee. I am a Citizen of the World still transcending boundaries with much more to say and experience.
For the time being, this blog will remain online, and hopefully, I can curate it to serve more as an archive and for followers and visitors to be able to find content I have previously published. I will also add links to other pages where people can stay posted on projects and research/advocacy work I’ll continue to be working on. It won’t be the last time you hear from me (**smiley wink**).
*My initial post mentioned that I had 5 years of blogging. I created this blog on October 8th, 2012, which means I have been at this for 7 years.