Growing up Brown: Staying


I was taught to stay.

I come from women who have stayed through cheating, beatings, emotional abuse, and overall shitty male partners who treated them as inferior the MINUTE they were wed.

I come from women who by staying taught their sons that this was okay, and in turn those sons turned against them and treated them as secondary citizens the MINUTE they felt like they were "men," thus entitled to a superior place in this planet.

I come from women who have cried, packed their bags, and written goodbye letters, but stayed anyways because they had nowhere to go. I come from women who have scorned me for trying to have a sense of independence so that I never feel trapped, but secretly smile knowing that their niña is brave.

I come from women who have persevered and insisted on staying in volatile situations. They do it for their kids, and for their partners - but they never stay because they want to. They stay because they felt a sense of duty to everyone but themselves.

I come from a lineage of women who have kept secret bank accounts, crushed sleeping pills on homemade dinners, JUST to imagine themselves happy - elsewhere. I come from women who, si pudieran regresar al dia que se casaron, THEY WOULD NOT marry, at all.

I come from women who wanted careers, but somehow ended up supporting husbands instead. I come from women who stayed because they were supposed to - because the world is cruel, and they said: "todos los hombres son iguales."

So I am a runner. I need to run, because I was taught to stay and I have seen where that has gotten us. So I take flight, fast, because I need to, because staying means that I will inevitably pass this tradition to my future children.

I run, fast. I take vacations, I book next-day flights to exotic locations, I spend an entire day at the beach drinking champagne, or I lock myself in my room, block his number, and light candles. But I run. I run for my own good. I run, and carry the women in my line in my heart, even as they stand in shock at my behavior. I run for me, and for them, and for all the women who were taught to stay.

I had to unlearn to stay, and learn to run. I know, I know that running is a luxury. I get it. But I had to unlearn staying and I traded it for this type of radical self-preservation, and while running hurts - staying kills.

** I do not italicize Spanish, because to italicize is to accent the foreign language, and since Spanish is not foreign to me nor to the majority of my intended readers, I will not "other" what is familiar to us for grammatical points.