I was born in Caracas, Venezuela under the dictatorship of Hugo Chavez. In this instance, my childhood was characterized by change. My family constantly moved from one place to another, seeking shelter or an area in which resources could be easily accessible. As a consequence, the first word I learned was “goodbye,” for it was the word that was persistently muttered among my family members.
Once I arrived in Panama, my country of residence, I encountered many obstacles. For example, it wasn’t easy to make friends and adapt to my new school. Likewise, I envied my classmates, for they were able to spend time with their family every time they pleased. As I continued to grow, these hindrances persisted, and expectedly new ones appeared. I experienced anxiety, usual teenage problems, college stress, and even experienced family problems. I lived under a grey cloud, and I even started to think life was against me. I hated feeling like that. I hated feeling powerless. I hated feeling like a victim. So, one day, I decided to change my perspective on everything and tried to be grateful for the things I have rather than the things I don’t have.
In this instance, I understood that my parents were hurting too. They left the country that saw them grow while telling their daughters they will have to leave it too. That isn’t a cowardly act as I previously thought, it is bravery. Second, I understood that although I was watching the country I love get destroyed in the flames of selfishness and greed, that didn’t make me a spectator: I could be a warrior from afar. Third, it is from living a life that constantly changes that I learned to love endlessly, for life has a curious way of working and you never know when those things will be taken away from you; to speak without fear, for many don’t have a voice to do; and to work hard for my dreams, for they are the engines that keep the motor of your heart going.
Lastly, this last year was crazy for me. I have grown into a mature, strong, and independent woman. The girl I was a year ago is a completely different girl than the one I am today, and that is okay, that is life. I had been submerging myself in a bubble made from tears until I found love and gratefulness hiding among all those broken things. I learned that with love, even the most broken of places find life along the way. Thus, I learned that those scars I used to hide do define me, but not in the way I previously thought. At first, I thought they were concrete evidence of my weakness. Now, the girl I am today understands that they are the complete opposite. Those scars show that I am brave, and they are a promise that one day, flowers will grow from scars and they are what ultimately make me me.