Something that stands out most about me is my traditions and my brown skin.
I say my traditions because as a Catholic, we celebrate many stuff like the Virgin Mary, Ash Wednesday, and many other things.
My brown skin is a way that someone can identify me by. I know I’m not the only brown skin teenager, but I am a Latina too. I love to listen to music, I don’t care what it is, as long as I like the beat. Yes my family is Mexican, so yes, I do love to listen to a lot of Spanish music and dance it as well.
I lived in Bell Gardens for a couple of years and when I came back to East L.A., it felt so weird at first but I got used to it again. Bell Gardens was much quieter and calmer, and when I came back to East L.A., I would hear more sirens and when I’d walk through a street, it’d either smell or be really dirty. I found it dirty because I moved to Bell Gardens when I was young. I had totally forgotten about gangs and all that stuff. I was really uncomfortable the first few months, but got used to it afterwards. For example, on Fourth of July, my family couldn’t even pop illegal fireworks without the cops coming to our street in less than five minutes each time a firework went off.
My community is neither good nor bad, but it makes me think that I can do better in life. I’m the type of person that thinks that gangs are irrelevant, sometimes. I only say this because those who are in gangs call each other family. I understand, but isn’t your real family at home?
I’m aware that not everybody is like that but why are some wasting their time tagging, drinking, smoking, or doing drugs when you can be with your real family? Is it because they don’t care about yourself? What if they do care about you think? I know one guy that is in a gang, his mother cares about him as much as she cares for his other brothers. That guy is the middle brother, yet the youngest brother is the one with money, a job, a car, trying to get his life together, while his two older brothers are doing drugs, in and out of jail, and in gangs. Instead of the older brothers giving the youngest a good example, the youngest brother is pushing himself to do better than his brothers and staying away from the streets because he’s learning from their mistakes.
My community made me who I am in a way. I mean, yes I am mean but then again, it’s only when someone provokes me. My neighborhood taught me that no one else can protect you other than yourself. You need to learn on how to be brave. Every person that you call your friend is never really your friend. You don’t know when they will ever change their mind and do something bad to you. You can’t trust everybody that you know. What if you get set up or something?
I can honestly say that I can do better and get out of my community. I’m not trying to talk bad about my community because I love East L.A. but I can honestly do better and be a better person. My goal is to get my family out of this city and go somewhere safer, cleaner, and better. I don’t want my mom to worry about money, rent, bills, or anything. The faster I get my life together, the better life my parents and siblings will have. I can guarantee anyone that.
I know some people who always say that I’m always putting everybody else first and that I should think about what I want for myself, in reality, I just want everybody that I love and appreciate to be happy and to be better than me in every way possible. Why? A lot of people would doubt me in many things and they’re not doing anything with their life. I don’t mean to talk ahead of time but I feel like I will be better than them just the way that I would love for others to be better than me and be someone important in life in every way possible.
I honestly wouldn’t want them to change much in my community other than to make it cleaner, safer, and give people different types of opportunities to make their life better and easier. I wouldn’t want people to fix any stop lights or signs or anything like that. For example, a few days ago by Lorena Pharmacy, I saw that they had taken down the crosswalk button and that had been about the 10th time that the crosswalk button had been taken down, yet they keep fixing it over and over again. Although, it’d be perfect to have beautiful things around East L.A.