“I will not live life based on my past. I will not live life based on my parent’s past. I will not live life based on my grandparent’s past. I’m breaking generational curses today.”
– Christian Bosse
I was taught that we do not speak ill of our family. Your husband’s image should not be ruined among those outside of your marriage, especially when you know you will stay with him after he disrespects you. It is a cardinal rule of a Mexican marriage. I learned this rule well before I was married.
Growing up we would take family “vacations” to Mexico during the holidays. I remember getting out of school. My mom rushed to pack because we were leaving as soon as my dad got out of work. She packed for both her and my dad, as my sisters and I would pack our clothes. My mom would yell out items we needed to make sure we were ready. It was chaotic. My ‘Buela lived with us and would smoke her cigarette complaining that we always left everything to the last minute. My dad would get home from work, get upset because we weren’t ready, my mom would yell at him because he started drinking. When were finally on the road, the arguments continued.
I tried my best to ignore them, but it hurt to see and hear my parents be so mean to one another. The 8-hour trip would consist of arguments, periods of silence and loud rancheras blaring through the speakers. Once we arrived to Mexico, my mom would turn to us and tell us to not discuss anything of what occurred on our trip there. She would tell us to be on our best behavior and give a hug and kiss to everybody. In other words, “calladitas nos vemos más bonitas.” (Translation: We look prettier when we are silent.)
I don’t hate very many things, but I hated those moments. I learned that to the outside world we were the picture-perfect family. We were the perfect daughters. Well-dressed, soft spoken girls. Looking back, I realize that I was a sensitive kid. I internalized so many painful memories. Which was why having a family with him one day was something I looked forward to in the near future. I wanted it to be different. I wanted to break the generational curse of hiding emotions.
Fast forward to my trips with him. Everything was last minute. We would get into the worst arguments and we would have long periods of silence. I would catch myself playing out the same patterns my parents showed me growing up. I would get even more angry. Not at him, but at myself. I guess this is how we begin to lose ourselves in an unhealthy marriage.
I didn’t expect our marriage to be perfect. However, it was in these moments that I realized the respect between us was fading. So, when the dust would settle just enough, I would reach for his hand as if waving my white flag. I wanted him to know I was ready to move on.
I waved my white flag so many damn times. I can’t recall ever seeing his. I’m sure he did wave it every now and then. None the less, it wasn’t anybody’s concern to know why I got tired and why I wasn’t willing to continue in a broken marriage. It was broken at a fundamental level and when a foundation is broken it takes more than one person to fix it. In my time of holding it all together, I asked myself if I was willing to live with all that I knew about our true selves the rest of my life.
Nobody knew our marriage like we did. Isn’t that the way it supposed to be? Yet, my mom wanted to know it all, so she could understand why I was giving up on my marriage of nine years. I only share those, not so perfect, moments with people who listen without judgement. Without their personal agenda. My mom’s personal agenda? Lisa wouldn’t be perfect anymore. I was divorced…and who wants a divorced woman? A woman who gave up on her marriage. And she is partially right. I did give up.
I gave up on putting his needs before mine.
I gave up on continuing a marriage that was one sided.
I gave up on my future plans to have my own family.
I gave up on my home.
I gave up on trying to make it work.
I gave up on waving my white flag.
I gave up on being the perfect Mexican wife.
However, it was in my giving up that I found my strength to push forward into the unknown, so that I could genuinely be happy. I learned many lessons from this chapter in my life, one of them being ok with giving up to break the cycle of an unhealthy marriage.