Immigrant Parents and Finding Oneself

Humans of Venice High

Alicia Valenciana and Julissa Ventureno, News Reporter, Photographer

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Humans of Venice High is a series of photographs and personal histories, revealing the hidden emotions of subjects. Two Oarsman staffers went around the school campus, asking random students if they would mind being interviewed regarding their personal stories.

Julissa Ventureno
Johnny Hernandez

Johnny Hernandez, a junior at Venice High said, “I’m mostly afraid of losing my family. It always affects me in a lot of ways. Whenever I’m in class just doing my work, a random thought just appears. My mom died or my dad has died or my siblings might be dying. It just greatly impacts me because they’ve been in my life the whole entire time. With every single one of them, it’s a close relationship.

I know every day I thank my parents for being there for me. I do realize that they come from Mexico and crossing over the border is such a hard task to accomplish. The fact that they got over greatly surprises me because not many people can do that.

Coming to America with a new chapter of their life, it was hard for them to start finding a job knowing that they’re just immigrants and knowing one language, the language they originally grew up with, and having to learn a new language, it’s been a deep struggle because they’re just starting off. It’s as if going to the United States, was them being a baby again, just in a much more dangerous world.

I’ve been afraid for my parents for a long time. Just as my sister graduated from high school, my dad got his license just to get a car. I’ve always been afraid of my parents getting deported. I always have to be cautious about it because sooner or later, it might happen one day. The fact that they might be deported at an early stage in my life, it would basically scar me knowing that I’m going to be on my own.”

Julissa Ventureno
Emily Johnson

Emily Johnson, a junior at Venice High said, “I’m definitely trying to make my parents proud and I feel like the proudest thing that I can do is be confident in myself and do something that will show my level of confidence. I think it’s just kind of.. I feel like I’m holding myself back in a way. I don’t know how to get myself out of this kind of rut, you know what I mean?

Right now I’m just kind of struggling to find out you know what makes me happy and what I can do to possibly do to, you know, have confidence in myself. Kind of like what I said before I want to be able to find that certain thing I can do or say to myself to like bring me back…

I think my greatest struggle right now is finding myself. I feel like in a situation where there was someone who I thought was a really good musician and there was me and someone thought that I had a potential to do this one record deal, but I’ll say ‘are you sure? This person is a lot better than me and really good.’

I feel like I doubt myself a lot and that’s how I’m holding myself back- through doubt. Because if I feel like I’m not better than someone at something, then I will kind of pull away and let them have the spotlight and I don’t really throw myself in the spotlight very often.

You know, when people give me random compliments I’ll be like ‘.. really?’ I feel like that’s how I hold myself back like I’m doubting myself all the time. Unless I know what I’m capable of exactly, I feel like I’m always going to doubt myself. I feel like everyone doubts themselves- just to a different extent.

I also always felt like a lot of people’s feelings are a lot of my responsibility because I really feel like you can change a person with your words or your actions and I’ve always told myself that I want to make everyone happy, even if I’m not happy. That’s not really healthy, but I always told myself that. So I feel like there’s still a little bit of that creeping up in the back of my mind that’s making me doubtful in my confidence.”