BLOG | Valeria Gomez
What Time has Taught Me
July 2, 2019
Every day is different, but they all start the same. I always worry about not getting enough sleep, but never make the most of the hours in which I should be sleeping. As I slide out of bed, I can’t wait until I reunite with it. Somehow, it’s already 7:48 by the time I spray my perfume, and I rush to pull my shoes on, in order to be on time to my 8am class. Throughout the first year of my college education, the ideas and themes introduced to me in class are often big, and self-important, but I get anxious when I think of how and when to solve the issues of the world. Time is a funny thing, because the more I think about it, the more I wonder where it has all gone. I cannot believe that I am weeks away from being through my first year, and yet, some weeks have felt endless. If there is one thing that I have learned from time, it is that it waits for no one - it is truly the most independent thing in this world - and my greatest struggle is abiding and conforming to it.
I pause, to glance at my phone and check the time, and notice a call from my mom in the middle of class. It’s 9:25. I take it outside. She asks if she can withdraw money from my bank account for my monthly bills, and asks if I can pay for my little brother’s tuition. I say yes, and tell her I’m hanging up now. She tells me about my grandmother; she’s developing dementia. My mom bursts into tears, and I accept the fact I will be missing the rest of class, as well as work. In Mexican culture, your family is as much an obligation as religion; it is simply an unspoken expectation that you be present for them. I help my mom with everything I can, from managing my little brother’s high school experience to simple things like helping her make online payments. It can be taxing, and especially emotionally draining. Yet, I could never imagine a day in which I am not there for my mom. She has worked so hard to give me everything, and to me, helping her is a form of gratitude.
I have known that I have wanted to be an attorney since the age of eight, but as I drive to meet my mentor team for a noon lunch, I wonder to myself for the first time if my grandmother will be there to see it become a reality. As I meander meekly over to lunch, I can’t help but break down while I encumber my mentor team with my life happenings. Expectations are a form of pseudo-reassurance we use in order to make ourselves believe that we know what is coming in the future, to make us confident in the unknown. My mentors are people who understand me emphatically and empathetically; they are sympathetic and full of heartfelt advice and support. I can’t say I did not have expectations for the LSYWC program, but my mentors have fostered a comforting space in which I can come into as my most vulnerable self, which goes beyond the expected professional advice I thought I would receive.
I visited with my family for the remainder of my day, which evidently made me miss class, and a shift at my second job. After a fifteen hour day, I could finally fall into my bed and rest from the responsibilities that befall me. I worry about my grandmother, my mother, my siblings, but most of all, I wonder how to balance the time I spend with them as well as with everything else I have to do. If it were up to my mom, she would have me stay forever.
I am almost never able to go to sleep before midnight, and sleep is the antithesis of productivity of homework, but I can’t focus knowing my mom is crying at the feet of my grandmother’s bed. Family is one of the most complicated systems we will ever navigate, and there has never been a simple and comprehensive manner of dealing with them. I fill so many different roles in my life, but the one I am the most proud of is the one that is immeasurable. It is the one in which I can make jokes, and fight for. It is the one that is the most emotionally depleting, yet the most rewarding. I know everyone says that life is short, and before you know it, you’re out of time, but although time waits for no one, it is a patient entity. It gives us time to become ourselves - time to learn what really matters to us. And, although none of these lessons can go on my resume, the time that I spend developing them is what truly makes me who I am, and in my eyes, it is what defines me.
“Sí, Se Puede” is a phrase born of farmworkers, who, under the leadership of the UFW, César Chávez, and Dolores Huerta, fought valiantly for equal protection under the law. As a result of the efforts of the UFW, “Sí, Se Puede” has become well known as a call that engenders hope and inspiration in those who face similar battles. We thank the UFW, whom we acknowledge to be the sole and exclusive owner of the Trademark SI SE PUEDE, for granting us a limited license to use“Sí, Se Puede” in connection with our efforts to recruit, in Colorado, students of Hispanic or Latino descent for our law school pipeline program. For more information about the programs offered by the UFW, please see UFW’s webpage (www.ufw.org); UFW Foundation’s webpage (www.ufwfoundation.org); and UFWF’s immigration services webpage (www.sisepuede.org)