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I’ve always hated having my picture taken. The flash would hurt my eyes and burn my skin. I have never seemed to care about capturing moments. Even as a child I always thought a photo op was silly, since there were always other memories to be made. I suppose, as a result of my attitude, I am the brat of a family of three girls that has accumulated the least amount of childhood photos. When I feel nostalgic or curious, I stumble upon the same photos over and over again, always seemingly meaningless, but yet mysteriously significant.
My childhood is split in two dichotomic parts. One part dwells in the beautifully mountainous, yet painfully poor city of Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The second part dwells in the green leaves and sunny skies of Parkland, Florida. Most of the pictures my parents do have of my childhood are set in Honduras. In these photos, I’m often sporting a blue and white striped uniform and an annoyed sourpuss expression. The expression is misleading, though. Living in Honduras, simply put, were the best years of my life.
I laugh when I look at one specific photo. I stand in front of a cascade of colorful balloons and I’m tugging at my uniform. It is my kindergarten graduation. When my mother looks at this same photo, she sighs with discontent, claiming I ruined a very good photo with my signature miffed expression.
That photo marks two years before the rest of my life, before the revolution of my innocence. I was only graduating kindergarten then, but looking at the photo 11 years later, I feel as if as I was graduating my dear youth. I soon outgrew that uniform and those balloons deflated.
That little girl, who seems so strange and distance now, felt like home once. She marks the life I can’t touch, but that lives in me like a soft whisper.
I didn’t speak a lick of English yet, nor did I dream of moving to the states. I could barely run without falling. I still laughed at cartoons and colored in clouds blue. My face might have screamed displeasure, but my heart sang bliss. That little girl, that little I, had not yet lived through the disintegration of the self. She is whole, and she is alien.
My childhood was ripped in half. I had to change my entire dynamic. I had to learn a new language, make new friends, and gain new customs. My change had ended up being for the better, but I still reminisce on my hard to reach past.
Everyone else looks at my few photographs as cute reminders of me as a child. I look at my photographs as symbols of change. I may still look the same (expression and all), but I am not the same. Those photos, as few as they are, are my connections to the other half of my soul.
My childhood was interesting and diverse, but it was also difficult. One half of it felt comfortable, the other half felt foreign. As I get older it becomes harder to remember the life I led in Honduras. But, I know that who I was then led me to who I am now.
Still, I try to remain youthful at heart, but all I have left are photos. My only regret is not taking enough of them.





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