Letting go is hard. When my mom was a young teenager, her family left Cuba in disgrace. In 1966, the Revolution was over, Fidel Castro was in power, and many of the changes that would prove him a ruthless dictator were already taking place. My grandparents were both teachers–intellectuals were reviled in communist Cuba because they were considered among the most outspoken against the new regime. Before she left, my mom saw signs posted around the campus where her father taught, declaring him a traitor. The government seized their house, and they were only able to bring two suitcases among the five of them. I’ve never seen a picture of my mom as baby for this reason. On the airplane, she had to surrender her Cuban passport for refugee admissions to the United States. To this day, she has never again set foot in Cuba.
Part of living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)–at least for me–is kind of thinking everything is completely my fault, even when I insist outwardly that it’s not. Some of that comes from stigma. I may know I’m in the right, but when people who know I have PTSD treat me like I’m wrong just because I have PTSD, it’s hard not to internalize that.
But this time, it’s actually, undeniably not my fault.