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We Don’t Deserve Our Immigrant Moms

3 Min Read
Lifestyle

They are warriors, selfless human beings who are determined to give their kids opportunities they never had for themselves. There were willing to leave behind the comfort of family, love, and language for a shot: a shot at that dream we all talk about. It's not a lavish lifestyle but a dream. This dream is achieved through access to education, a good paying job, and opportunity. And it's all for you.

This is for you, the first-generation American citizen who was raised by an immigrant mom that we don't deserve.

Now, don't get me wrong, all moms are badass. But there is something special about those who cross a border, sacrificing everything they know, to see their kids live a better life. According to Pew Research, "more than 1 million immigrants arrive in the U.S. each year" and today, "more than 40 million people living in the U.S. were born in another country"

Among that bunch, is your mom, my cousin's mom, my neighbor's mom, and my mom. And the truth is, there is so much more that brings our immigrant moms together than what pulls them apart, even if they were all born in different continents.

It all began with packing whatever could fit in a few suitcases to prepare for a long flight, boat ride, or walk across the US border. In the suitcase are clothes, important documents, and photos of family. What doesn't fit is the one-stop-shop to learn the complex English language or the rest of their family. What they feel is hope and anxiety. But they do it anyway.

According to Pew Research, "more than 1 million immigrants arrive in the U.S. each year" and today, "more than 40 million people living in the U.S. were born in another country"

They are soon entering foreign territory. The only familiar piece of their life might soon become seeing the face of the love of her life, a partner in the journey. But they do it anyway.

Maybe they become a citizen. Maybe they are handed a rectangular beige card that has the word alien at the top. Maybe they live in the shadows⁠—undocumented. Your life is different than that of your American friends because of your immigrant mom who knows they will never be American enough.

You are a translator, in fifth grade or college, at doctor's appointments or parent teacher conferences. You first hear the word and not only can you not translate it but you also don't know what it means in English. But you learn. In that moment, you clarify, use hand gestures, and use several small words to explain the big word to make sure they understand. Because you are the translator, and your immigrant mom needs to understand.

You are a financial provider. You work at the fast food job, because you know there is only enough money to pay the bills. You apply for college scholarships, because there is no way you can ask them to co-sign for a student loan. Mom is working in a factory and is not eligible for higher paid jobs because of a language barrier and lack of access to acquiring new skills. But she doesn't complain even though she knows that she is sacrificing her body working the job that most Americans would never apply for.

Your life is different than that of your American friends because of your immigrant mom who knows they will never be American enough.

You are the one who will overcome adversity. Your mom has proven that there is no alternative. Because when your mom picks up and moves to another country without even knowing the language, your motivation is at its highest caliber possible. There's a certain pep in your step to achieve success. You will not only survive, but you will thrive.

Because you are the child of an immigrant mom: a mom who has shown you that being in this country and providing you access to opportunity is worth the repeated sacrifices.

Follow Theresa Agonia on Twitter or Instagram at @TheresaAgonia

This article was originally published January 29, 2020.

3 Min Read
Lifestyle

Tempted To Dial Your Ex: 5 Ways To Know Whether Or Not You Should Contact An Old Flame

Thinking of ringing up your ex during these uncertain times? Maybe you want an excuse to contact your ex, or maybe you genuinely feel the need to connect with someone on an emotional level. As a matchmaker and relationship expert, I was surprised at the start of the coronavirus quarantine when friends were telling me that they were contacting their exes! But as social distancing has grown to be more than a short-term situation, we must avoid seeking short-term solutions—and resist the urge to dial an ex.

It stands to reason that you would contact an ex for support. After all, who knows you and your fears better than an ex? This all translates into someone who you think can provide comfort and support. As a matchmaker, I already know that people can spark and ignite relationships virtually that can lead to offline love, but lonely singles didn't necessarily believe this or understand this initially, which drives them straight back to a familiar ex. You only need to tune into Love Is Blind to test this theory or look to Dina Lohan and her virtual boyfriend.

At the start of lockdown, singles were already feeling lonely. There were studies that said as much as 3 out of 4 people were lonely, and that was before lockdown. Singles were worried that dating someone was going to be off limits for a very long time. Now when you factor in a widespread pandemic and the psychological impact that hits when you have to be in isolation and can't see anyone but your takeout delivery person, we end up understanding this urge to contact an ex.

So, what should you do if you are tempted to ring up an old flame? How do you know if it's the wrong thing or the right thing to do in a time like this? Check out a few of my points before deciding on picking up that phone to text, much less call an ex.

Before You Dial The Ex...

First, you need to phone a friend! It's the person that got you through this breakup to begin with. Let them remind you of the good, the bad and the ugly before taking this first step and risk getting sucked back in.

What was the reason for your breakup? As I mentioned before, you could get sucked back in… but that might not be a bad thing. It depends; when you phoned that friend to remind you, did she remind you of good or bad things during the breakup? It's possible that you both just had to take jobs in different cities, and the breakup wasn't due to a problem in the relationship. Have these problems resolved if there were issues?

You want to come from a good place of reflection and not let bad habits make the choice for you.

Depending on the reason for the breakup, set your boundaries for how much contact beforehand. If there was abuse or toxic behaviors in the relationship, don't even go there. You can't afford to repeat this relationship again.

If you know you shouldn't be contacting this ex but feel lonely, set up a support system ahead of time. Set up activities or things to fall back on to resist the urge. Maybe you phone a different friend, join a virtual happy hour for singles, or binge watch Netflix. Anything else is acceptable, but don't phone that ex.

Write down your reasons for wanting to contact the ex. Ask yourself if this is worth the pain. Are you flea-bagging again, or is there a friendship to be had, which will provide you with genuine comfort? If it's the latter, it's okay to go there. If it's an excuse to go back together and make contact, don't.

Decide how far you are willing to take the relationship this time, without it being a rinse and repeat. If you broke up for reasons beyond your control, it's okay. If your ex was a serial cheater, phone a friend instead.

If there was abuse or toxic behaviors in the relationship, don't even go there. You can't afford to repeat this relationship again.

As life returns to a more normal state and you adjust to the new normal, we will slowly begin to notice more balance in our lives. You want to come from a good place of reflection and not let bad habits make the choice for you. Some do's and don'ts for this time would be:

  • Do: exercise ⁠— taking care of you is important during this time. It's self-care and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
  • Do: shower, brush your teeth, and get out of your sweats.
  • Don't: be a couch potato.
  • Don't: drink or eat excessively during this time. Again, remember to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  • Do: think positive thoughts everyday and write down the 3 things you are grateful for. Look at the impact of John Krasinksi's SGN. It's uplifting and when you feel good, you won't want to slide backwards.
  • Don't: contact a toxic ex. It's a backward move in a moment of uncertainty that could have a long term impact. Why continue flea bagging yourself?