Dear Tam and Cynthia,
Life has changed quite a bit since I took your advice to move to the East Coast. I can work legally now! I can get a driver’s license! I have a credit history! I can rent my own apartment! Technically, I’m still getting booted out of the country, but we don’t have to worry about that for a while. I still wish someone would just pay me to leave this place and give me my 13 years back, but we can’t undo the past. And so I am still here, trying to live in the present and not think about the beloved past or scary future.
I was just in your Los Angeles last weekend, treating myself to lovely fish/shrimp tacos while attending a wedding with my girlfriend. Yes, I actually have a girlfriend now, and you wouldn’t believe it, but she’s white and works for the government. I don’t know if that is an epic fail or an epic win but she’s a real sweetheart and so beautiful. You would have liked her if you were around.
I see that UCLA is releasing The Undocumented and Unafraid: Tam Tran, Cinthya Felix, and the Immigrant Youth Movement. You’ll be happy to know that the cover has a young woman on it, as opposed to a cisgender man. I have yet to get a copy of the book but I contributed a piece to it, along with Flavia, about how the revolution will be conducted over GChat. Somehow, people doing their dissertations still contact me for interviews about undocumented youth and organizing online. It hasn’t grown old yet — it has all just grown so much bigger and better.
You are frequently in my thoughts. I have learned a lot from your lives. I have learned to celebrate the time I’ve been given here. I’ve let a lot of anger and bitterness go while adding much more joy to mine. I care more about loving and living, less about working, organizing or studying. My friends say I seem like the weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I have taken to heart what you used to tell me, that “exceptions are made for exceptions.” I have found that to be true in the last two years, as people have reached out to me with the goodness of their hearts and helped me out of rough situations. The undocumented youth “movement” has found it to be true as more of us who fit the “good immigrant stereotype” have been granted a reprieve from deportation.
I don’t know if I am the exception or the norm. I just know that I am happy with how things are turning out.
Thank you for guiding us every day. Agitate in peace, Tam and Cynthia