“I grew up in Mexico, and got married when I was 17. I just went to sixth grade in school. My family was very traditional and didn’t think I needed more education. I wanted to keep going and cried a lot over it. I got my GED in Mexico after I got married and had kids. I had three babies by the time I was 19 and I was done. I worked in a factory in Mexico. My daughter was born in Texas, and she is an American citizen. We moved to the United Stares for a better life for our children.
I am a server at a restaurant. People in Alabama have been good to us and not racist as other people have said. If you are a good person and respect people, they are good to you. We spoke Spanish in Dallas, but I am learning English in Alabama. I watch movies and learn the language from subtitles. I just did it with Bird Box. I want to learn more English and go back to school to be a cosmetologist. I tried once to go back to Dallas and go to school, but quit to take care of my daughter because she was going through difficult times. My children always come first.
I left my husband because he abused me and had another woman. I had to show my daughter that is not the way to have a relationship. She saw him choking me and didn’t understand why I stayed. He didn’t abuse our kids and we lived so far away from family and our country. My family is also very Christian, and they are against divorce. You get married and stay married, no matter what he does to you. I don’t want my daughter to live like that. I am better off now, and will never let a man treat me like that again. I help a lot of girls through this. Drugs and drinking, too. I don’t know where their parents are, but they need a mama.
I love getting my nails done, don’t go anywhere without makeup, and my house is always clean. I am not a perfect woman, but I am trying to do good. I want to be my own boss, and would like to have a salon or a boutique with plus sizes. I like to make women feel good about themselves. I also have to fix my status in this country. I am scared of what could happen. I am in my forties. How many more years can I work at a restaurant? They want strong and young people. I don’t think I can do this after I am 50. I am stuck right now but want more for my life. I hope I will find a way to go after my dreams.”
(This week is a series on Our Southern Souls about the people behind the name tags, counters, microphones, and visors. The ones who serve us, check us out and help meet our needs. Each has suffering and struggles, dreams and fears. Behind that person is history and mystery that you may never know, but each one is worth paying attention to and learning a little more.)