Sometimes I feel like a fake salvadoreña

I grew up in Los Angeles after my mother took me there from El Salvador on July 9, 1989. At that time there weren’t as many Salvadorans as there are now, and one of the first places I lived in was Compton. From what my mother told me, her plan was for us to be there for two years so she could learn English and how to use computers. We were extremely fortunate to have obtained tourist visas, meaning we skipped crossing Guatemala and Mexico to get to the US.

• • •

Jobs from hell: that time I tried to be a child actor

I was a total geek during most of my school years. Even though I tried to hide it, I really tried to do my best in school even when I was doodling or didn’t understand what the teacher’s said. I was a horrible math student and I’ve tried to get better at doing basic math in my head as an adult. Because I always liked music, I chose to be in band class in the 6th grade. I wanted to play the saxophone and was assigned the flute.

• • •

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is actually a Latino…. or so I used to think

Growing up with a very religious single mom I wasn’t allowed to see a lot of things on TV. We didn’t have cable, so already there were very little questionable TV shows in the early 90s, and since there was only one TV in our small illegally* converted garage apartment the only thing that would be on after 6, 7, or 8 pm when my mom got home from work was Univision or Telemundo. My mother always paid attention to the news, as any undocumented immigrant would. Univision was our fucking lawyer when I grew up and I was an eight or nine year old kid who knew the cops were after me because I’m brown.

• • •

Jobs from hell: canvassing

It was 2009 and the recession was tough. I don’t remember what the ad said, but it said something about non-profits, social justice and helping them with your “hard work.” Plus, it involved money, which was music to my broke ears.

• • •

The Story of Jenny

As a kid my mother tried not to let me dwell on my race or immigration status. That I’d go to college and get a job that would pay decently was never in question. When people wanted to talk to her about miserable it could be to live in the United States without papers, she also tried to focus on the awkwardness of having less than perfect English.

• • •

A freelancer’s journey, part 1

Most people think you need to hoard industry secrets in order to hit it big. But I believe in giving, just not too much. I’m sharing my journey to becoming a freelance writer in a multi-part series. This series will continue to grow as I continue to make mistakes grow as a writer and person. If you’re a budding freelance writer, I hope this series is of help to you. Now go toast to your dreams with that bottle of wine you’ve just bought with the change you just found under your sofa!

• • •