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June 9, 2020

The Joy Behind the Pain of Change

Do you ever get excited when you find something that hurts?

Depicted by things like laughter at a funeral or an awkward smile during a fight.

I migrated to the USA when I was 10 years old. I would like to say I took it well, because it is now probably one of the best things that has happened to me. But I didn’t, not even close. At least not at first.

The only family I had ever known up to that point of my life resided in my country of origin. I had created a sense of who I was by living a life with them. I felt an out-of-this-world love for each and every one of them. And I relished in each and every moment we had spent together.

I felt safe in their presence.

So when my dad shared his game plan of moving to the USA, I… flipped… out!

I yelled as loud as I could and uttered who knows what and locked myself in the downstairs bathroom.

I felt betrayed.

None-the-less, none of this was up to me, so we plowed ahead with my dad’s plan.

The next memory that sticks out for me, was the whole family gathering at my grandma’s house to say goodbye.

This was it.

In a few hours we would be boarding the plane to exist in a seemingly different realm of reality. We piled into the car. Something I remember always being a tight squeeze, as back then a seat belt did not depict how many people were supposed to fit in that long bucket seat of the Malibu.

I was pressed into one of the doors, and the nerves paired up with the hot leather seat had made me lightly start sweating. I held on tight to the back rest of the seat in front of me to pull myself forward just enough to see my family waiving on the porch.

Each and every one of them teary eyed, but yet with a loving smile on their face.

And then…






Laughing hysterically.

Laughing so hard I lost complete control of it.

Tears were rolling.

Snot running down my chin.

I was happy crying! Something my 10 year old mind did not comprehend and heavily judged my subconscious for, especially as the adults in the car questioned what in the hell was happening to me.

But I couldn’t stop it, I couldn’t answer, my mind had no clue what was happening and was therefore incapable of formulating words that would even begin to explain this phenomenon.

We drove away before I was able to calm down or regain my “composure” as some would call it.

I remember leaning slightly down, pressing the crown of my head against the back of the front seat, and looking down at my feet.

Staring at the crooked floor mat, the few crumbs accumulating on its edges, the woven loops of fibers on the carpet, at the light shining through the window making visible those magical air particles that look like glitter.

That was how I meditated when I was a child. By the deep observation of tiny objects that made time stand still.

It took me many years to understand that laughter. Many years until I started correlating it to the joy behind the pain.

It’s just that when you find the wounds, and hurts and the cause behind each, that they become a blessing. Because now that the wound is clear and you are fully aware of it. You can heal it and stop blaming external forces. That still brings me great joy.

I am in control of everything in my life.

Pain is no different. I choose it as a lesson, and let it go once the lesson is clear but I hold on to the joy of the ever present learning.

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Karen Matamoros  |  Contribution: 2,030