My Childhood is Coded in Spanish

(The Story of an ESL Kid)

Todas mis historias y memorias de me niñez están codificadas en español.

Translation: All my stories and memories from my childhood are coded in Spanish.

While having a conversation in Spanish with my beautiful, marvelous, fantastic girlfriend recently, I had this realization that brought me to tears.

The more we were sharing our day in Spanish; the more memories got triggered from my childhood. My early childhood.

These were memories and stories that I hadn’t recalled in decades. They were flooding my mind and overwhelming me emotionally.

It’s as if they were unlocked by simply speaking my mother tongue.

I was born in Mexico and spoke Spanish exclusively until I was six and in the first grade.

It must have been middle school when all my siblings were also proficient enough to hold entire conversations in English.

We still only spoke English to make sure our parents were included in the conversations. All first-generation immigrant children know this feeling.

So all the trauma, sadness, and joy from those years are coded in Spanish. I processed everything through the language of my ancestors.

Today I speak Spanish sparingly and even struggle to talk to my parents. It’s like a muscle; if you don’t use it, you lose it.

I’ve improved dramatically in recent years because of my work, but it’s still challenging.

I haven’t been to therapy in a while but wonder what would resurface if I found a Spanish-speaking therapist.

What else could be unlocked? What other clues can be uncovered in my psyche?

--

--

I write about my journey in raising my daughters from a distance with a scarcity of time. My personal struggles became my unfair advantage. Read on…

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Teevee Aguirre

I write about my journey in raising my daughters from a distance with a scarcity of time. My personal struggles became my unfair advantage. Read on…