MEXICO— A Cautionary Tale

MEXICO— A Cautionary Tale


mariachi


I was warned.

… Repeatedly.

Warned.

So many times it lost its potency.

Warned.

 By well-meaning friends

 living in “safe” gated communities with armed guards

 By acquaintances

 who have never been here

 By media reports

 glamorizing and spreading alarm

 Who have a different definition of danger. And of what

 constitutes safety.

 Stupid me!

 I didn’t listen

 to any of it.

 Adventurous, perhaps with a death wish,

 I didn’t look.

 Worse.

 I wasn’t careful.

 And…

In “dangerous” Mexico,

 I was robbed.

 Stupid, stupid me!

 

Yes, Mexico…

 stole from me…

 A smile.

 At first.

 And then,

 it got bolder

 and took…

 A laugh.

 and bolder still, it ran off with…

 my poor self-image.

 Which turned into a larger felony: It took …

 time

 to fill me with compliments!

 Telling me

 repeatedly

 how wonderful it is…

 to be a woman

 of experience.

 Who smiles.

 Who laughs.

 Repeatedly.

 

Time after time. Again and again.

 Until

 finally, I believed it.

 As I was smiling and laughing, and actually trusting myself,

 It had the nerve to go and pick-pocket my lingering self-doubts,

 my well-nurtured insecurities including

 my belief that “real beauty” was limited to youth…

 

While I was still reeling in shock,

 from having been robbed,

 and pick-pocketed

 Mexico took

 the opportunity to kill my previous ideas of what constituted

 “hospitality”

 replacing it with a generosity

that

 is frightening

 to even try to emulate,

 yet so, so fortunate to know.

 See how really dangerous Mexico is?

 And it got even worse!

 

I hadn’t recovered from such brutal behavior, when

 it committed another truly horrible,

 almost unspeakable

 crime.

 It gave me hope and optimism.

 Repeatedly.

 About who I was.

 About who I could be.

 About who we could be together.

 Amongst wrapping me in love and force-feeding me laughter and

 compliments and

 smothering me in generosity

 and unfathomably fabulous hospitality,

 I was rendered helpless.

 Utterly

 helpless.

 Stupid, stupid, stupid me.

 

I did not cry for help

 or

 run away.

 Mexico took complete advantage of my situation and committed the

 biggest atrocity of all. Once again, it stole …

 my heart –

 and my soul.

 Now I’m so scared –

 deeply, utterly terrified –

 that I cannot return the favor.

 Never happier,

 I steal away…

 to wish

 this kind of “danger” on everyone.

 

 By JC Sullivan

piñatas

 

(Ed. Note: The writer is a poet and writer and also a member of the Travelers Century Club for people who have been to more than 100 countries.)

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