I Learn Library

A human library inspired by the stories in the film

I’m Always Scared to Make a Mistake

By Joseline Viera Canas  |   From : El Salvador  |   School : East Boston High School


My name is Joseline. I’m 14 years old and I’m from El Salvador. I came to the United States when I was 13 years old. When I first came to the United States, I was kind of worried about the language because I was scared that people might judge me. In my Latin class, I didn’t participate at all because in that class everybody in the room speaks perfect English. I was worried they would start laughing or saying that I’m dumb because I pronounced something wrong. That scared me and I wondered: What if I make a mistake or pronounce something wrong? Will they make fun of me? But one thing that I’m really sure of is that I’d feel kind of sad if they made fun of me. When I was a little girl in my school there were girls and boys who used to make fun of me because I was the youngest one. They would pull my hair and I would start crying and they made fun of me while I was crying. I never had the courage to tell my mom because I was scared that the girls who used to bother me would do something to me. Since then I’m always scared to make a mistake because people can laugh at me or say things that would hurt me.

One of the happiest moments in my life was when my little brother was born, I was at school and at the hospital the doctors had scheduled the C-section for my mom on October 30th, 2014. It was a Thursday at 11:30 in the morning when my aunt picked me up at school. She said that everything went well with the C-section, so she asked for permission at school to take me out. When we arrived to the hospital I had to say that I was 15 because they would have not let me in if I have told them that I was 13. On that occasion, it was worth lying because when I saw my brother my heart beat faster because he was there. My little angel, my company for the rest of my life. I saw him and thought OH MY GOD! It was the best moment ever. I felt like my whole life was complete. Then I carried him in my arms and that was the best part because I could feel him, his warm body and I saw his precious face. He opened his eyes and looked right at me and smiled and I saw his dimple on his left cheek! That was my happiest moment ever.
One thing about me is that I’ve never met my father. We talk by phone. He has always sent me money, but it’s not the same because I want to feel his love. I know he has been responsible with money for me, but I don’t feel his love. I’ve always wanted to feel what it feels like to have a dad with you or how it feels to live with mom and dad. The reason that I don’t know him is because he came to the United States when I was 2 years old. My mom and my dad were divorced, so my father wanted to reunite with his brothers in Arkansas. He didn’t have anyone else but me to give him a reason to stay, but anyways he decided to leave. I don’t remember a thing about him. My mom shows me videos that he recorded of me when I was a baby, videos about my first steps, or my first birthday party or when he was taking care of me he liked to recorded me when I was laughing or when I was saying “daddy”. I feel kind of sad when others girls talk about their moms and dads because I’ve always had the desire to live with my mom and dad but I know that is impossible because my parents are divorced. The reason they got divorced was because they had issues between them. My father cheated on my mom and they were always arguing.
This year in the summer I’m going to go to Arkansas to meet him. I’m kind of excited but nervous at the same time because I don’t remember anything about him and he is an unknown person to me. In my life, I’ve had everything with my mom. She has always been there for me. In my country she was a doctor, so she used to leave early in the mornings and she always went to my bedroom to give me a kiss. She was never home except for the weekends. She always spent the weekends with me. I met my stepfather when I was three or four, I don’t remember. The thing is, I have never seen my stepfather as a real father to me because I barely saw him. He used to travel twice a year to go visit my mom in El Salvador because he lives in the United States. I didn’t care about that because he was to me a simple person, nothing special.
I have so many high expectations for my future, like graduating from High School with excellent grades and getting a scholarship for college. I want to be a professional. My future goal is being a doctor. I have always wanted to be a doctor since I was 3 years old. My mom has this video of me when I was home with her at my birthday party. I was unwrapping my gifts and someone gave me this set of doctor’s toys and I was so happy. My mom played with me and the toys because I said I was a doctor. she said, “oh my head hurts” and I was like, “I’m coming mommy”. I supposedly gave her a pill and a kiss and magically the pain went away. I love to watch that video because it makes me so happy. So that’s a little bit about my life.

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