I’ve never had a ‘normal’ life—far from it rather. 

Back when I lived with my Father his family despised me, my mother, and eventually my brother for the unforgivable sin of existing; I was scorned and execrated by almost all of them and their supermarket empire—which in recent times became nothing but an empire of dirt, they can have it all for all I care, jokes on them now. Due to work and family issues we’ve always had to move from one place to another; it’s never been a stable life, I can tell you that for sure.

I was skipped out of pre-school and sent straight into first grade; this had the unfortunate side effect of me always being the youngest kid in class. By the time my classmates hit puberty and whatnot I was still a young kid that was only interested in his vidya gaems and cartoons (perhaps some things never truly change.) 

Fitting in irl groups and societies has never been my forte—but its ok; even amidst all the chaos and disorder that has characterized these first three decades of my life there used to be something you could very well classify as ‘normal.’

Despite all the things that I’ve had the pleasure—and displeasure—of experiencing, there’s been genuine moments of tangible balance, of joy and enthusiasm for a brighter tomorrow beyond the hardships of the today—moments which have become rarer and more treasured in recent times. 

I’ve always been grateful of what I’ve been blessed with in my life, I sure am weak and flawed in way too many aspects, but at least I have my family, a bed, and food; Yeah, it’s always been far from that idealized life you see on television, but it’s a life nonetheless, can’t complain in the end.

As my country and that society that I’ve never truly been part of continues to unravel, I can’t help but yearn for those ‘good times’ when we were happy—we just had no idea that we were.

The accelerated decomposition of the Venezuelan society over the past five years have taken its heavy toll on all of us; many things that one would’ve enjoyed and taken for granted up until recent years have simply disappeared, or have become unreachable, the ‘normal’ behavior of our society has been replaced by an “every man for himself” mentality and a “survival at all costs” mantra. 

Bread lines are part of our new normal now

Before you’ve even had time to realize it, you’ve twisted your daily routine around the shortcomings of this country, you’ve begun to adapt your schedule around the bread lines of your preffered bakeries, spending a portion of your morning time in those huge ATM lines to have just a lil amount of cash for your bus rides; wasting precious hours  of your day searching for simple over the counter meds across many pharmacies—and get amazed when you actually find at least 75% of what you’re looking for in one stop.

The next thing you know is that you’re in a makeshift alley, swiping your debit card on a machine connected through exposed phone lines in order to buy half an off-market carton of eggs, or perhaps a contraband pack of flour or coffee.

You just learn how to live with the out of control violence and crime, you learn (sometimes by the hard way) to not use your cellphone in public because that’s just asking for it; you learn not to wear anything of value, to not trust anyone. You learn to live with the self-imposed curfew hours of the area you live in.

Running water? hah! You build your laundry/shower/bathroom usage around the times when you have—or don’t have water, and when you do, the quality is often dubious, pretty sure water isn’t meant to be brownish, right? 

Electricity? Well—as if blackouts weren’t enough, many regions are now facing mandatory rationing of power, sometimes its four hours, sometimes its way more.

Time. That precious, fragile, and ephemeral resource, is spent in a daily struggle for survival, trying to find whatever your family needs. Thus, many of us in this country have had to put our hopes, aspirations, hobbies, and dreams on standby and focus on one single and important objective: Survive.

I’ve always wanted to be a force of good, I’ve always found joy in helping others, it’s a fundamental pillar of the tenets that I was raised on; I also desire to publish my first fiction work as soon as possible, but my personal priority has shifted from my own aspirations and onto one crucial objective: the survival and happiness of both my mother and brother.

I suppose there’s no such thing as a normal life in this country anymore, or maybe it’s just that what classifies as ‘normal’ for us is way different than in other countries.

Perhaps one day, sooner than later, the three of us—and our entire country— will get to experience what many consider a ‘normal’ life.

-Kal


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