A Wild Tongue
When I was in another room later with opinions that opposed mine, I pulled together enough energy to recount previous encounters with police. I thought back to the Republican National Convention, when I was part of a group of immigrant rights protesters putting together a ‘Wall off Trump’. Members linked their arms to create a wall of unity. I remember the line of police facing us in our vulnerable states as we risked arrest. I remember how the police faced us, prepared to take action.
My original idea for this article was to have it be in two pieces. One was meant to address the struggle with mental health of feeling like your life is just about survival, like you’re constantly falling and getting yourself back up. I wanted to follow this with an article on survivor’s guilt when survival feels like a huge accomplishment at school, knowing people are struggling back home with less access to resources. I decided, instead, to combine them, as I’ve noticed how survivor’s guilt has kept me solely in survival mode.
These actions and thoughts have filled my mind and my schedule for the majority of my time at Harvard. Our days are split up into our mornings, where we schedule in our classes, and afternoons and nights, where we schedule in our extracurriculars. Board after board, I found myself in these scenes that many students find themselves in across campus. The work must get done. The events must get planned.
To get to know each other better, we were supposed to do “life mapping.” We drew diagrams for critical moments in our lives (up to that point) that we were going to share at the end. We shared stories that consisted of a lot of pain, but my friend, who I had known for years, and I laughed together at experiences we had shared in a way that was probably confusing to the other people in our group who didn’t know us well.
Gloria Anzaldúa speaks on her own experiences as people tried to stifle her voice as a lesbian Chicana. They tried to tame her wild tongue. The pressures around me did the same. I found it was too much effort to try to speak up. If I didn’t say anything, I couldn’t be ignored. My shyness stuck with me as part of my personality as I limited my words to close friends and need-based situations.