Untold Stories Of The Pack

Serenity Mejia, Editor in Chief

As a society, us humans tend to judge those before they have even had a chance to introduce themselves to us. Seeing senior April Gonzalez you would not think she has gone through all the things she has. Her childhood consisted of being homeless, raising her siblings, living out of a car, and struggling with an unpresent mother. 

Furthermore, there is more to people than the human eye allows us to see. Gonzalez describes her life as, “Hectic, Saddening, Progress”. Why those three words specifically, she stated, “Because growing up wasn’t easy, saddening because when I have told people my story I can see the pain in their eyes from hearing what I went through as a child. They feel sorry for me, because in their words, “no child should go through that” but the thing is there are many kids who go through that. And that’s why progress is one of them because we grow from it, not away from it. Those traumatic moments and memories will follow us forever, but we will be able to look back and see how far we have come, because yes many people can go through but not many make it out as far as most do.” 

Thus leads to the question, what was Gonzalez’s childhood like? She described it as, “Very much all over the place. There are memories that I can remember where my parents were still together and life was good, then it just faded into living with my birth mom and her boyfriend. That’s where it starts getting bad in my opinion. It was okay at first, but then there were times where it’d be bad with constant fighting and arguments so I had to learn how to tune out the voices and try distracting myself including my siblings. There were a lot of social worker visits to where we lived because neighbors would call them from all the times there was arguing or banging noises. It was so bad to the point where my birth mom took us to live in her car for a while and we’d go back to the apartment or we’d go live with my dad for a while which I loved because it was safe with him. My life with my dad had always been safe and promising because it was one place with the same people, but with my birth mom it was moving back and forth and being homeless without letting my dad find out. But in the end he found out and took us in and we’ve been with him since I was in fifth grade.” As a result, she goes into further detail saying, “Being homeless for a while changed my life because living out of a car or in the train stations of Mexicali, California taught me to enjoy what you have and not take it for granted because it can be taken away from you in a blink of an eye. It also taught me to be close with your siblings because when you’re in hard times they will always be there, yes you will fight but in the end you made it out of those hard times with them along your side. Life has a messed up way of shaping people. I’m not saying being homeless is a good thing but it definitely takes part in why I am independent, wise, caring, and an all around loving person because when you have little it reminds you that’s all you need to be okay.” 

Subsequently, Gonzalez was asked if she had anything to say to her younger self, what would it be? “I would tell my younger self that we turned out alright for all the things we went through. I wouldn’t say things will be okay because they weren’t and still aren’t. I had to fight like hell with the help of my dad just to get the opportunity to feel safe in a house because I’ve always lived in fear that I would be taken or the roof over my head would be because it wasn’t always guaranteed with my birth mom.I would tell younger me that it’s okay to have been scared and strong and used to things we shouldn’t have been at that age because it slowly unknowingly prepared us for the cruel world we live in.”

Nevertheless, Gonzalez mentioned the best person throughout her memory being her grandmother. “Because she was there for me and my siblings when we were homeless living in Mexicali and when we were living out of my birth mom’s car for some time. My grandma, despite the distance, found a way to get us in her possession or had some way in contact with us to make sure we were okay and not harmed.” 

To end it off, a piece of advice she would like to give is, “To remember you aren’t alone it will always feel like it but somewhere out there someone has been in your shoes and they might be able to help you get back on your feet. Life may be tough but you’re tougher! Do Not Ever Lose Hope.”