Sweet Dreams

I sat expectantly looking up at the sky. It had been a very bleak and cloudy day and I was sure it was going to rain. I sat there waiting for the first signs of rain to fall, yet nothing happened.

After a few minutes she looked at me triumphantly. Just as I began to admit I was wrong, a light rain fell over us. I could feel a smile creeping over my face, but I didn’t want to say anything. I simply put my arms around her and held her as we sat together in the rain. No matter how dull or chilly the day felt right at that moment, I only felt joy from being with her. I felt the warmth of her body as we sat together, and I smiled as I leaned closer to her.

The scenery and feelings I felt changed suddenly. I was no longer sitting with my arms around her in the rain, instead I sat in the back of a large classroom between aisles of desks. There were multiple computer monitors lighting up the otherwise dark and quiet room. Only two others sat in the room with us, but they didn’t appear to pay any attention to us. For some reason I was attempting to take her shoe from her. I felt a playfulness come over me as I continually tried reaching for her shoe. She kicked and kept me from my goal every time I tried. She ran away down the isle and I followed her. I sat at the edge of the isle, blocking her only way to run away from me again.

She attempted to quickly move over me to run away, but I stopped her as she tried. She stood before me and I looked over her beautiful smile as I noticed the same feeling of joy that I felt on her face. Our gazes met and without a second thought I leaned up towards her. As our lips met for the first time, I felt perfect bliss sweep over me for just a moment.

Again the scene before me changed drastically in the blink of an eye. The quiet dark of the classroom disappeared and was replaced by a brightly lit hall. I lay on the ground next to a set of lockers and closed my eyes as I spoke to her. I heard her talking and simply listened for a moment. Somehow our conversation turned to what the outcome in a wrestling match between us would be. We both defended our cases and argued for our personal victories. The conversation died down and she sat quietly a short distance from me. 

She jumped at me, all the while laughing, and tried to pin me down as quickly as possible. I pushed her arms off chest and tried to pin her before she could regain herself and push me back down. We struggled back and forth for a bit until she sat on top of my chest and smiled down at me. She laughed sweetly as I denied that she had every truly pinned me. 

I opened my eyes and was greeted again by new surroundings. I sat on a bench atop a hill that overlooked a huge park. The park itself was nestled withing a suburban area that polluted the air with the sound of passing cars. I paid no attention to either the park or the sound, I was completely enthralled by her. She sat across the bench from where I was, and I could not take my eyes off of her. The sun made her smile glow more than usual. The slight breeze tugged at her hair as she moved it out of her face. She stared back at me with her beautiful brown eyes. 

Her smile turned to a look of curiosity as she asked why I stared at her. I had no answer and simply continued to look at her in awe. She grew more and more beautiful every time I saw her, and I was content simply to sit there with her. When she realized I had no response to her question she jumped up and began to run off. I chased after her and wrapped my arms around her waist when I caught her. She turned to face me and I just continued to smile at her as I held her. 

The scene shifted as I held her. She now lay on my chest and I held onto her as she slept. She stirred and looked up at me with a small yawn. She placed her hands over my eyes as she said it was rude to stare. I laughed as I pulled her hands away from my eyes and continued to look at her. After a few moments she asked, “What is it?” 

“I love you.”


Swimming

Last year around October I began to take swimming seriously by joining a club team. I had never been that fast, but I wanted to get to the point where I could really compete in our school league. My goal was not to be the best, but to consistently get better. I went to the practices daily and pushed myself as hard as I could.

When I started, I was the slowest one. All the girls and the other guys finished sets before me. Even when we worked on my fastest stroke, I couldn’t keep up with the kids who said they were bad at it. I felt so unworthy to swim with the kids there. They were all younger than me, yet they all outdid me with minimal effort. The one thing that I had in common with them was that I wanted to get better. I wanted to prove that although I started swimming really late in life compared to them, I had it in me to swim at the same level as them.

That motivation pushed me through months of work. The practices got harder and harder as time went by, and I was able to keep up with them. Slowly but surely I was able to keep up with more and more of the team. I was never content though, I always felt the need to keep pushing. I wanted to be competing with the best on our team, and I wanted to continue to improve.

Now I’m feeling a bit discouraged. I’ve continued working, but it seems like some of the people I was keeping pace with have left me in the dust. I’ve continued improving, but my rate of improvement has slowed drastically. For the past few weeks I’ve felt slow during practice. I’ve felt that feeling of not deserving to swim with the team again. To make matters worse, in two months I’ll be starting with a college team where I expect the standards will be higher. I don’t feel prepared at this point. I feel like despite all my effort, I will continue to be sub par.

This feeling is the exact opposite of what I want. I don’t want to quit, I don’t even want to pause. Swimming has become a sort of addiction to me. Whenever I’m in the water I feel a unique ecstasy that I don’t want to give up. Although at the moment my goals while in the water seem so far off that the feeling I get doesn’t cover my disappointment. I have my goal in mind and I want to stick to it, but it just seems so unrealistic right now. These doubts seem so childish, but I can’t shake them off when I can’t rely on myself to improve how I want.

I need to work for it until I find that spark again. My passion is misplaced at the moment, but I’m going to find it and push through the four years of college swimming I have ahead of me. I know that I have love for this sport, I just have to keep working until I stumble upon it again.

Heritage

Last Saturday I sat watching the USA vs. Mexico game with my parents. I cheered on for the United States while my dad was ecstatic over Mexico’s win. Simple enough Saturday night, except it got me thinking. My dad jokingly called me a traitor while I thought it was obvious I should cheer on the team that represented my country, but I really felt torn between the two teams.

My whole life I’ve been told I am a Mexican. My heritage is Mexican, the food I eat is Mexican, my culture is Mexican; it seems that the little part of the world I live in is mostly Mexican. Yet the area I live in is American, the music I listen to is American, the culture I connect with is American. My world to this point is an odd toss up  between American and Mexican. So what should I consider myself?

I don’t feel like I have the right to consider myself truly Mexican. I was neither born nor raised there. I have visited where my family comes from, but my so called family all felt like strangers to me. I had nothing in common with them. I came from a completely different world, and it seemed like they found more amusement in asking about that world than in immersing me in theirs.

Once I did see what their world was like, I realized that I did not share their struggles or their joys. The life they lived was far from what I had always experienced, and not even the shared blood and language we had could change that.

Yet many of my friends in the same situation seemed to strongly believe that they were Mexican. That they should have pride in the country that their families came from, and not the country that they had lived in their whole lives. And as much as I disagreed with doing this, I couldn’t find a way in which I considered myself truly American either.

As much as the American culture and view of the world seemed to be mine, there was so much about the “American” view that I didn’t share. I am the son of immigrants, this country is mine only as much as I work for it. My first language wasn’t that of this country. I grew up in a mixed world and going straight to the American lifestyle doesn’t seem right. I still find some pride in where my family came from. The ties to Mexico weren’t strong enough to let me consider myself Mexican, but their presence kept me from being American.

I feel left without a country to truly consider mine. I feel little connection to the two which should be mine, so I feel at a loss as to where I should believe I am from. I don’t think I could stand by a person from either country and simply say, “I’m just like you.”

I don’t want to simply say I’m Hispanic or Latino either. Those words include even more heritage and culture in them than simply saying American or Mexican. I suppose this is simply the beginning of the melting pot that is the United States. If college applications serve as a foreshadowing of anything, it appears that eventually my family will simply be another Caucasian family. That only leaves me to wonder if those generations that feel they are truly American will find any pride in the Mexican heritage that they carry.

Faith

Before I start I want to say that I have nothing against people who consider themselves a set religion. I like to respect people’s beliefs, but these are mine on the subject of religion.

I was raised as a Catholic. My parents were very religious when I was young, and because of it I went to church almost every week. My parents taught me about morality, and I learned a great deal of right and wrong from studying religion.

As I grew older my parents wanted me to follow the general path of a Catholic. I started my classes for my first communion in which I had many of my questions answered. Almost every question I had was met with an answer from the Bible, but there were the few that had no real answer. I was told to simply have faith.

At the time that answer was more than enough. I wanted to believe, I wanted to know that God was out there looking over us. When my friends began to falter in their faith, I told them to simply believe. There was the matter of evolution and the Big Bang, but I thought those were simply put there to test whoever didn’t truly believe.

Yet as I continued to grow, my own faith faltered. My junior year of high school my mindset went through a huge change. I went from simply taking God’s presence for granted to once again questioning how things came to be. My curiosity overcame my faith. I wanted to find my own answers.

Throughout that year I asked for people’s beliefs on the subject. I wondered how everyone else thought the world came to be. Many told me that they believed science was right, others said that their religion answered that for them.

It seemed to me like religion had become more about the community of people and not the beliefs themselves. People just sought to have something in common with others, to feel like they were a part of something bigger than themselves. Many weren’t truly interested in the thoughts that were associated with the title they carried over themselves.

Religion seemed to be what certain people lived for. In times of weakness they attributed everything, good or bad, to God’s Will. Instead of meeting God half way and chasing after what they wanted, they simply sat there waiting for their prayers to be answered. This didn’t seem at all like what a deity would want of his creations.

After all the years spent thinking about how religion should work into life, I came up with my own way of seeing life. I don’t think any one person can have everything right, but I decided to live by what I found.

I strongly believe that life is about creating yourself in a way that everyone can respect. To be true to yourself and your morals. If there is a God, even he should be able to respect the way you build yourself. And if there isn’t, then make those around you see that the corruption of the world isn’t complete. There is good in people, and the minor differences from one person to the other don’t change that.