My first week back I went to an orientation for a training at work. I went it very skeptical as it was titled “La Cultura Cura/Culture Cures”. “Bullshit!” I thought “My culture is filled with oppressive guilt ridden machismo crap!” I really wanted to see what this guy had to say for himself. Of course I was in for a bit of surprise.
He didn’t so much talk about culture, but more about child development. He talked about traditional western child developement and how it is not a concept that known about, much less practiced, in the latino community. From my experience, in the Latino community, children are seen as a form of commodity. More hands means more workers, means more financial stability. Who has time for self-esteem? So when he spoke about having a mother who never said “I love you” and a father who drank and didn’t allow tears. I got it. I could relate.
He talked about how mal attachment as child leads one to keep searching for attachment. You keep searching asking, “I am wanted here? Am I safe here?” Yep, that’s me.
He also went on to discuss how parents/adults dump their baggage/crap on their kids and kids grow up thinking that baggage is theirs. Uhm. yeah, check and check. When he asked his mother why she didn’t praise him as a child her response was “I didn’t want to lose you”. She had seen that her son was already becoming someone she couldn’t relate to as she didn;t have a basic education (and here he was going to college). In her eyes, praising him would only cause more distance. She was dumping her baggage on him. Like my family, she was living in survival mode while he was trying to live beyond it. For me, it’s been difficult. How do I learn to live beyond survival when I’ve never been taught how?
His closing story was what moved me the most. He talked about his grandmother who was caring his little brother who was a very fussy baby. When the baby cried everyone would say “That’s just how he is” (that was me too) but the grandmother would pick him up. One day the baby cried and cried and it was because his diaper was full. All the kids would say “Don’t pick up the baby! You’ll get poop all over you!” But the grandmother didn’t care and held the baby and kissed him and proceeded to change his diaper. “You see, ” the trainer said, “that’s all we want. To know that someone is going to love us, and accept us, even with all our shit.”