After my meditation this morning I felt compelled to write this out of a love, sympathy and compassion for those feeling bullied for the things that are going on in the world right now.
I am Colombian, and as you may very well know it is from that wonderful country, filled with the most phenomenal souls that a lot, if not most, of the cocaine comes to the United States. I moved to the US when I was 17. A tough age to leave my country when all I cared about at that time were my friends, dancing salsa and having my delicious natural fruit juices (we have such an awesome variety of tropical fruits) and food. But my family was looking for a better future for all of us, a safer place with greater opportunities and they couldn’t have chosen a better place for me than the United States.
But boy did I miss my country, my friends, my food, one or two boys 🙂 that I liked at that time, my Feria de Cali (a fun time in December where everyone dances, drinks, eats, rides horses in the middle of the city and have just plain fun…dancing to me was the most enchanting activity), and so I had to go every year, and twice a year when I could. After a great vacation, then it was time to come back. And without an exception for almost twenty years I was stopped by the immigration department. I was detained and questioned, many times taken to a room to make sure I had not ingested condoms filled with cocaine, or had cocaine in other parts of my body or my personal belongings.
Not once did I feel bullied. I knew that a very tiny, small, horrible group of Colombians had created this situation for me and I innocently was paying the consequences. I obviously met the profile of a mula (people who smuggled cocaine in their stomachs) or drug trafficker…maybe my age, the fact that I was not married and usually traveling alone. I am not sure what it was, but all I know is that I was always stopped and harassed.
Did I ever feel bullied?…No
Did I ever feel that my civil rights were violated?…No
Did I ever feel like a victim?…No, even though I was in a way. I never perceived myself as one.
Was I angry at times? Yes! But, I also, tried to make fun of it when I could. I was able to tell my family members the time that the flight coming from Colombia would arrive, but not the time I would come out of immigration. It could easily be hours later depending on the guards inspecting me.
I remember one time I went to visit friends in France for the New Year. I passed immigration fast and I said wow! first time I go through this process so fast in my life. Then, as I was almost walking out, a guard came and hand-picked me from the crowd (I was very embarrassed that day…I felt people looked at me like this woman was caught with drugs), again they took me to a room, questioned me and did the body check.
My passport said Place of birth: COLOMBIA. That was my sin, my crime and my offense. I could have chosen to be angry at the guards, but instead I was understanding and tried to joke with them…. when they were not too serious or going on the verge of rudeness.
I could have chosen to hate this country, but instead I felt blessed for their efforts (that not always worked) to keep this country safe.
I could have chosen to see myself as a victim, but instead I saw myself as part of a healthy process to protect a great country.
I felt the actions of the country, the immigration department and the guards were for the good of all.
I guess it all boils down to “everything in life is perception.”
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