Two Worlds J. Tristen Begay

Two Worlds  by Joseph Begay

I go back to my grandfather’s home on the Rez for short visits. I feel comfortable there sitting under a tree in our backyard. Some tourists tried to take pictures of me like I’m a freak show. I still get mad at this. One woman tells me she will pay me $2 if I would pose. I just glared at her and left. I hitchhiked and got a ride right away. I had forgotten how Natives always stop for anyone needing a ride. The Natives who picked me up didn’t ask me any questions and shared their food with me.  They weren’t drunk or anything—just regular folk who treat me like I belong.

I also saw those who had nowhere to go and nothing to do just sitting around. I had forgotten how many people do nothing and hope nothing.

There’s good and bad there. The bad is mainly that the future doesn’t have any substance. When I got back to Albuquerque, I compared my life to what I saw. I saw people who care about more than the shallow stuff.

I am a part of a different group of people now. We are still Natives but we have a future. I enjoy going to school and working and having my own place to live. I enjoy planning for the future and how I can give back to my people. I am proud of my people who have made something of themselves and stay sober and focused.

I also miss just hanging out with my own people on our own land.

It is hard being in two worlds. I want the determination inside me to never drift again and to focus on moving head while staying Native.

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