Some thoughts from an undocumented student who is trying to balance commitment to the fight for immigrant rights, with life, friendships, and love. From an edited letter to a former best friend who is having a hard time understanding.
I’m at a point in my life where I am making a choice between a dream and reality. I can choose to continue school this semester and work with what I have to get through, or I can dedicate my time to organize and mobilize people, to encourage others and hope i wont have to worry about immigration in years to come.
You’ve been in my life for a long time now and I’ve considered you my friend and partner (in so many ways). You always gave me that strength, that feeling of comfort that I lacked before you. You made me strong and you made me happy. Whenever I felt like giving up, you were there, encouraging me, telling me that I can do anything I want. That I am my “worst critic” and my “biggest fan,” and that together we could “defeat them.”
I am writing you to let you know that I love you. That you still mean the world to me and that I’d still do anything for you. But that it kills me when you tell me that I am not committing myself to our friendship. That my involvement in the immigrant rights movement is selfish, and about popularity. That I need to spend more time with my friends.
I’m at a point in my life when I need my friends to understand that what I am doing requires me to make sacrifices, sacrifices that I do not expect anyone else to make for me. Things that I have to give up to put my heart and head into this.
I am tired and frustrated of being like this, of having to pretend that I am okay and ignoring that I am one mistake away from deportation, one mistake away from being separated from the people I love. Either one mistake, or just being at the wrong place at the wrong time. This is why I’m putting all my time into this. It has become a decision between a good life or an unknown future somewhere I don’t know.
I’m sorry that you think those things you told me. And I hope you understand that I’m not doing this selfishly.
But I am thinking about myself.