What's YOUR goal? : D
Hello, curious folks! I'm making this for a couple reasons. First of all, I like discussions and I like goals. So I'd love to hear about your similar planned projects and ambitions. Secondly, I need a place to put my story, for those who ask to hear it. So, with a warning for TRIGGERS regarding depression, anxiety and suicide,
I will tell it.
This is my story.
I go by Alie, and I was born in Venezuela, a third world Latin American country, settled near the equator, about a month after an important man named Hugo Chavez came into command. My family decided to flee the country for a better life in the States, when I was just a baby. We quickly grew accustomed to a kind, suburban life, and I grew up speaking 95% English. I could only understand a bit of Spanish, and loathed speaking it, as I had a very childish accent.
What I did love doing was art. I would draw constantly and write stories everyday, when I wasn't acting them out in my backyard or with my stuffed animals. Creating art became my first love, and my first passion. I grew up happily for the most part, with a vivid imagination and a supportive family. I had a dream career in mind of becoming a famous author and illustrator of my own books.
But as we know, dreams change, and often get pushed away, when we encounter obstacles that seem to overshadow them.
When I was ten years old, my family's visa expired, and we were forced to move back to our homeland, which was still under the command of Chavistas, as it had been for ten years, and would continue to be for several more. I left the snug, fairytale life, and only one I'd ever known, and stepped into a crime-ridden nation in shambles. My family was left in a grim financial situation. For almost two years, we lived in debt, in a house that wasn't ours, with my parents unemployed until my older sisters, only eighteen, had to take charge and use their English skills to support our family.
And me? I had been put in a gang-filled school, to receive an education in a language I didn't know how to speak - a language I hated speaking. And being forced to learn it, I began to hate it even more. Whenever I opened my mouth, people would laugh at my thick accent. I hated speaking. So I stayed quiet, and observed with preteen angst and hatred. I learned to get around, but I began to hate myself. Among many things, I was a forever foreigner, a mute, a helpless child. I was gay, even, as I would soon find out. But that's another story.
I fell into depression, and a deep, crippling social anxiety. I began to hurt myself in private, and dreamed courage to commit suicide. I had much more disturbing thoughts and issues that I will not go into detail about. All you need to know is, I needed help.
When things started looking up for my family, they were finally able to afford the psychiatric help I needed. But before that, I spent most of my time on the internet, and I heard about a language called American Sign Language. An entire language where you didn't have to speak, just move your hands. It sounded like a dream, and I quickly fell in love with it. My second love, my second passion. ASL and languages/linguistics in general.
By age thirteen, I began to keep track of every word/sign I knew, and studied everyday through the internet, unable to get a real class. On and off, I also kept drawing, and by age fifteen, got my own drawing tablet. By now, I began to get questions about what I wanted to do after high school. There was one dream I had held onto since I had moved - to leave Venezuela. Ideally, to return to the USA, the place I knew as home.
But everyone I knew said it would not happen anytime soon. That it was too expensive, too unrealistic, and I would get angry and sob at the thought of having to stay in this country much longer. It was in ruins, I knew, and the process to get out was difficult, to say the least. Many people began to flee as the situation got worse in Venezuela. As much as I grew to love my country, I want to be one of those people.
Today, I'm sixteen, in my penultimate year of high school. I never stopped learning - I became better at drawing and better at signing. I'm even attempting to write a book. And I can say it with confidence now. I want to be an interpreter. I now take pride in my Spanish, despite my thick accent. And I love ASL. And English, my native language, too. I want to use all of those, and keep learning many more, and become a professional in using those languages. And I want to do it by traveling to the USA to live with my brother and niece, and take my first official ASL course.
All I need is a plan. I'd like to do this as a highschool graduate, as I will be in June of 2016. So I began to consider all the costs. First, the costs of getting a visa to the US. Next, the course cost, which I rounded up to be safe. I had a place to live, already - I added in some living/spending expenses for about six months. And finally, the plane ticket to my destination.
$2500. That was all I'd need, when I added it all up. Though my family is large and still struggles to get by at times, they would want to help a bit. The rest would have to depend on me. I have approximately one year. A year and a few months, actually, but to make it simple, one year.
So what do I do? Well, my friends. I will use my art skills to do commissions. I have taken on some other freelancing jobs to do in my spare time. I have a plan to give a few English classes this summer, and I will do whatever it takes to fulfill my goal, and my dream.
In the meantime, I will keep improving, learning, studying for good grades to finish off highschool, and focusing on my third passion and main love that I discovered - that being, my love for my family. And, after many doctors, prescriptions, and 10 medications a day, my love for myself.