It’s more than my brain’s unbalanced chemicals. It’s hundreds of years of colonialism. It’s the constant guilt of leaving my country for its oppressor. It’s being first generation migrant in a post-first generation society. It’s my only surrounding community hyphenating -American into their identity when my ancestors and I never had the choice. It’s being asked to cite and source my experiences to validate them.
Because when I post my frustrations my white Facebook friends have to one up me. Because when I’ve never had a community, their sudden loss of it is more urgent. Because those I called my friends hit me with “do you want nachos with that” jokes whenever I dare grace them by sharing my Spanish. Because those “friends” skip my cafre reggaetón cause they don’t like listening to foreign music, but European pop is just fine. Because my White Feminist friend lets this shit slide knowing full well it’s wrong because I was never a favorite. Because they like all my posts calling out the privileged but won’t share them to their own privileged audience. Because all my friends are white.
How am I supposed to walk into my university’s mental health facilities in West Virginia and get the help I truly need? So that some white person can sit there and tell me that I don’t have to place the burden of my isla on my shoulders without understanding that they’re complicit in piling on the weight. So that they’ll tell me that I need to be less angry, and understand the other side, the side that hates me for existing. That the chances of whoever is there to guide me in my healing likely voted for the exacerbator of my illness.
My creative writing classmates always have the same notes on my writing. “Too much Spanish”, “had to Google Translate it”, “not everyone can understand it”. As if I already hadn’t hand held them with context clues and follow up translations. Because I didn’t write it for them. Because I DARED not write for them. They remain quiet in my workshops and don’t turn in critiques because my essay is littered with the word gringo and themes of colonialism, but I have to read about their friend who hurls racial slurs over Xbox chat as a funny descriptor and praises to Confederate generals.
Depression is commodified, it’s a tear jerker and sells empty TV shows when it’s the specific “they never should have been sad” depression. My depression is anger, coraje. It’s being tired of the world being this way and no one caring. Anger that people so often find amusing or funny. Because I’ve had to learn to phrase my rage in a way that won’t off-put people, and that means hints of comedy. But in doing so people choose to see only that, the comedy and not the commentary. Not the intense pain that led me to this. And the more I share, the less people care. “Stop complaining so much” “It is what it is”. If we’re not pleasant, we’re not valid. So my illness isn’t either.
My depression passed down from my Mami and all the Mami’s before her all the way to Colón is too political, too controversial, too uncomfortable, too angry to treat. Because the treatment isn’t meds or therapy, but liberation. Y me duele dudar que algún día llegue.