Friday, March 4, 2016

Rumor is it's the lithium in the water

Diana Washington Valdez/Courtesy
Diana writes  © By Diana Washington Valdez

I am writer who grew up in El Paso, Texas, a city that in 1925 saw itself as the center of influence for a 400-mile radius. The city on the U.S.-Mexico is an epicenter of sorts, although more than 100 years later it is still seeking its identity. El Paso exists across from Juarez, Mexico, in an uneasy juxtaposition geographically, culturally and socially. The most amazing things have happened in this place.

The Border City

EL PASO, TEXAS -- Rumor is that there's enough lithium in the water to keep the masses from openly rebelling like they did (on the Mexican side anyway) during the 1910 Mexican Revolution.

 The same substance keeps people in El Paso from getting too anxious or curious about their state of affairs.

 It's a unique place to live in. Everyday people co-exist with unsavory and violent drug dealers, corrupt officials, army soldiers, immigrants, university students, bureaucrats and laughable politicians.

 That was on which side of the border? Follow me on this journey to find out. I became the person that I am in great part because of where I lived. This is probably true of all of us.

You have to wonder about a region that attracts the interests of Pope Francis and Zapatista revolutionary "Marcos," enough for them to make a trip to Juarez to see for themselves just what on earth is going on. The pope came in February 2016 and Marcos in November 2006.

I care to write about a lot of other things as well. It's not easy to open up about one's self, about how I developed as a journalist and as a human being. Although I've tried to sustain a life that is highly compartmentalized, separating professional from personal, this from that and the other, it's more likely that our subconscious keeps everything intertwined. 

Sooner or later, things buried or suppressed come to the surface. And then we really start to live, sometimes in spurts, and then only until self-imposed limits rein in the rest. I often wonder whether I've spent most of my years living for others, through a long time of observing and reporting, mostly observing the others, to avoid living my real life. When is it too late to start over? Is it worth it to begin anew? Does it matter.

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