Saturday, May 03, 2008

Believe Me, I know


There's so much swelling in my chest that it's hard to get it all straightened out.

Parents and teens are in an awkward position, for it's the first time when kids begin to really see themselves, the world, and yes, their parents, in a different light. But with care and thought, a warrior, as Don Juan would say, traverses life with her cup overflowing. She has what she needs and then some.

Luis wrote about the challenge of dealing with his son Ramiro during his teen years, relating it to his own experience. And he says it much more eloquently than I ever could. His words mirror my thoughts and express the profound love and affection I feel for you. I hope they make sense.

With all my heart,


Twenty years ago, at 18 years old, I felt like a war veteran, with a sort of post-traumatic stress syndrome. I wanted the pain to end, the self-consuming hate to wither in the sunlight. With the help of those who saw potential in me, I got out.

And what of my son? Recently, Ramiro went up to the stage at a Chicago poetry event and read a moving piece about being physically abused by a step-father when he was a child. It stopped everyone cold. He later read the poem to some 2,000 people at Chicago's Poetry Festival. Its title: "Running Away."

There's a small but intense fire burning in Ramiro. He turned 17 in 1992; he's made it so far, but every day is a challenge. Now I tell him: You have worth outside of a job, outside the "jacket" imposed on you since birth. Draw on your expressive powers.

Stop running.

Luis Rodriguez
Always Running
La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A.