INSP has been asking vendors from across the street paper network to write letters to their 25-year-old self to mark the end of INSP’s 25th anniversary year. Four Mi Valedor vendors contributed to our #VendorLetters series: Alfredo (44), Antonio (38), Francisco (43) and Juan (52). Juan chose to flex his artistic muscle and write his submission in the form of a poem.
I turned 25 on 4 March 2000. The world back then was that of the afores, the new pesos. Around this time, I lived with my mom and with my brother, and it was great. Later I left my home and rented a place around the airport, and I was doing well. I worked in the Afore Santander of Mexico and they paid me commissions for registering people in the afore. I had a girlfriend, Margarita, and I introduced her to my Mama, but eventually we broke up.
25-year-old Alfredo would think of me today that I have been a human being with highs and lows, and that, despite having a family, I felt alone. I was quite the womaniser and I liked parties. I had to learn from my failures and the problem was that I did not know what I wanted from my life.
When I was 25 years old, I did not know anything about street papers. But when I moved into a shelter for homeless people in Mixcoac, I met Delphine and Mariana [from Mi Valedor] and they gave me work, and a vote of confidence. I felt like I was not worth anything but thanks to Mi Valedor my life has changed. I currently have regrets, but here I have found some amazing supporters and mates, and thank them for having faith in me.
My advice for 25-year-olds today would be that they should not take drugs or drink, but if they do, that they do it at home with someone familiar. Money does not change you; my family supported me but I did not value it and wasted my time on things that didn’t help me. Yes, everything can be done in life, for there is a saying: “Will is power.”
Yes, you can look into a mirror and say: “Yes I can and I am alive.” Be a good son and honour your parents with what you do as you represent your family. I believe a father always wants the best for you.
It is good to have an understanding with your parents. Go to the cinema, go for a coffee, visit your family. Like they say: in life, brother, in life, after death you can no longer tell him how much you love him.
God wants to restore your life and for you to love yourself first and love others, forget the grudges and forgive yourself.
You are valuable, rejoice young man in your youth and know that one day we will realise our life, the good and bad we did to others. Get ready, study and be happy, always do your best.
“What we can fix since yesterday?”
Hello! My dear Antonio, I come from the year 2019, I congratulate you for having begun working at this mall that we like so much. I am doing well.
Surely you will ask yourself, what have we dedicated ourselves to in the last year, given our taste is reading and culture? We are now working in a cultural magazine, not only do we sell and promote it, we also take photos and all of a sudden we write. Very often we go to museums, galleries, book fairs, exhibitions and presentations. I know that you like all of this, and that you would like even more the fact that, in your work, they have done these type of events. It is good that you feel proud to be a part of this project and that now you know how to get ahead from nothing, earning yourself the respect, and perhaps the admiration, of people.
Please do not put in a broken bag everything that makes you unique, as well as the advice of your parents, who were always loving you and your sister, until the last of their sighs, and now they are stars.
Be prepared to shed many tears, since each one will be worth it, just like every drop of sweat. With all my devotion to you, evolving from my own past, for one of your many futures.
By 2001 I already had drug addiction problems. The world was entering the 21st century and everything was still fresh. In Mexico, a change of political mentality was brewing because there was a struggle for a change of government.
I had the intention to do different things and to get to know the world in some way. I also vaguely read something of US street papers.
My advice to people who are 25 is to prepare themselves to fight for what they want, not to destroy themselves, to think about how not to destroy the world and try to help somehow for a better tomorrow.
I remember that at 25 I was clear where I would have to go, which was to seek to leave behind my vices and start studying to have a better quality of life.
Today, years later, I work with the first street paper in Mexico and I stay away from those vices of my younger days. I keep busy going to the workshops offered by Mi Valedor. It is a beautiful experience to be part of this network of newspapers worldwide.
I then dreamt
in another way
with other landscapes
with a different heart
I was married
– or that I thought, at least
I was worried
about the Zapatista uprising
about the death in the streets
(Colosio, Ruiz Massieu)
and I was an engineer intern
kept doing poetry
loved going in disguise
as “normal” people
I had a happy life
(that was another dream)
and at times I forgot
one cannot live this way
as if beauty did not exist
and now I don’t say
some forget in life
although it seems horrible
it’s better if you pay attention
to the beauty of everything
it is hidden
Check back in every day over the festive period for more #VendorLetters.
INSP members can download the #VendorLetters feature on the INSP News Service.