28 February 2017

Feature: Word From The US

Hi all, this is a brand new feature from Jade which will be a monthly spot on Bad Mum magazine and it will feature Jade's view on her family life living in the US right now. 

This will be so interesting and to have a point of view on what is happening now with the world, and how it will affect families, especially children. 

Over to Jade! 

And the Hammer Keeps Falling

I woke up at 5am this morning, slightly afraid to look at my phone, just in case yet another hammer had crushed one of our freedoms in this country again. I suppose I got a few hours of respite because it wasn’t until around 10am on the West Coast that that awful woman was confirmed as the new education secretary. A person who has no intent on actually improving the already terrible education system in this country, but actually wants to actively make it worse. I shouldn’t even be surprised anymore, I mean with everything that has happened here in a few short weeks, who would be? But every day I feel the noose tightening around us, corralling us into a pen, forcing us to kick out in anger, with shouts of “resistance” and “stand up” to them.

I am Jade, 38 year old mother to two little girls with another child on the way. I am not married, but in a very happy and loving relationship and we promise each other every day that we will do our best to bring our children up to be happy, healthy, caring and loving individuals. Doesn’t every parent, though? We also are not your typical, average US citizens. Actually not at all! I immigrated to the US on a temporary visa in 2005, falling in love with NYC on landing and never leaving again. My other half is an immigrant from Mexico, arriving in NYC in 2006. 

We are immigrants (please don’t ever call me an ex-pat, that word has no meaning to me), and we fell in love with each other, and have created a family together. Living in NYC for all of those years I loved the multi-cultural, multi-ethnic melting pot of people from all over the world, living and working hard together in one small place. I loved riding the subway and seeing newspapers in at least 10 languages at any given time. I loved being able to eat an authentic American-style diner breakfast followed by street tacos for lunch and a spicy curry for dinner. I loved my Yemeni deli friends who would walk me home if I felt unsafe at night, my French diner friends who would whip me up an omelette at any time of the day and night, and my Irish friends and bosses, our little bar full of people just like us. Some people call NYC a “bubble”, I just called it the perfect mix of everything that I love, a small part of every part of the world, all in one place. We were all New Yorkers, running around trying to make the best of things.

Becoming a mother and then moving away from the city changed a lot for all of us. Granted, if you can’t be in NYC, California is probably the best alternative right now, because it will always be the most progressive state. But we aren’t in a big city like LA or San Francisco, and while I have heard that where we are is the most diverse city around here, it still feels very segregated. Or maybe I just feel that way because of the Trump signs that appeared around us once the election process was in full swing last year. I don’t know, but I don’t feel comfortable here anymore. 

I mean when a presidential candidate is calling the love of your life a rapist and drug addict, says that he wants to remove birthright citizenship meaning that my kids would effectively lose their right to live here, and calls many of your friends terrorists, while speculating that it’s OK to “grab a woman by the pussy” (amongst so many other things), I don’t see how anyone who isn’t white and male can actually feel safe and comfortable here anymore. But there were enough people who thought he was up for the job, so here we are.

I hear people say “oh but it’s OK, you came here the “right” way” (if only they knew), or “but it’s OK your partner works hard and contributes to this country not like others” (oh my gosh you have absolutely no idea what it is like to come here as an immigrant do you?), or even “oh but YOU will be OK” (and what about all of the millions who won’t be?!), it literally makes me want to vomit. Have we come to a point where nobody else matters anymore? That none of the executive orders that have been passed in the last few weeks matter until they actually hit you directly? Has the population of this country become so apathetic that it is fine with just watching one civil liberty be washed away at a time, thinking that it’s OK because the great US of A will never be ruled by a dictator, because “Land of the Free” and all that?

We aren’t rich, so we will be counting on the public school system to educate our children, and I can’t see us being able to move to the best school areas just like that. We are immigrants so technically we do not have a voice when it comes to electing officials (although that hasn’t stopped me writing and calling as often as possible). We come from different places in the world and want to make sure that our children are proud of us and their heritage, not made to feel like they are second-rate citizens because they are not white and male. Racism is so ingrained in this society, sadly even within supposedly progressive movements such as Feminism, but I still can’t believe the comments and slurs that I hear people make quite naturally, on the internet or in real life. It’s NOT normal and never will be. As long as we are here I will do my utmost to fight it, but we are making steps to go somewhere where we feel safer, and where we feel our children will have better chances. I have settled in new places so many times before that leaving one home for another doesn’t faze me anymore. But doing it with a family in tow is a whole other story!

Next installments will include themes such as divorce, marriage, multiple citizenships, visas, birth all mixed with the general feeling of a country in turmoil, not knowing what is going to happen next.

Social Media:

Website, From the Inside:
Instagram: lunajadeX
Twitter: @jadeannahughes 



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