Beauty in Naiveness
Updated: Sep 8, 2020
The beautiful thing about youth is how naïve one is to the world.
The word naïve has mostly, a negative connotation, but in definition, it's just the lack of experience and wisdom.
It is natural and unaffected innocence.
As an adult, you start to make sense of the world through lived experiences.
These experiences affect the way you think.
The choices you make.
Your view of life.
Experiences begin to mold our understanding of specific subject matters.
For the most part, experience makes you less naïve on certain things.
When I was 8, I moved back to Chihuahua, Chihuahua Mexico with my mother and my two younger siblings.
My father and older brother stayed behind in the US.
Living in the US as immigrants was tough for my family and to be honest, I’m not sure why my parents decided to separate and live life this way.
Even though I am certain they have their reasons, one thing was for sure, I was 8 and naïve.
One day, I was playing with an older friend that lived “en mi cuadra.” / “on my block.”
He was about 2 years older than I.
He was faster. He was stronger.
And even though he was a naïve kid like me, he was not as naïve as I was.
I had him beat on that aspect, at least.
We were standing in the street, in front of a vacant house lot.
In front of us, at about 30 yards, was a brick wall standing no more than 10 feet tall.
My friend started throwing rocks at that brick wall.
After three or four tries, he finally hits the wall.
He then looked at me and said, “A que no puedes pegarle a la pared.” / “I bet you can’t hit that wall.”
I just stared at him, processing his challenge.
He then proceeded on calling me a “mariquita.” / “girly boy.”
At a very young age, I’ve never liked losing.
As a matter of fact, any sports related activity to me ignited my competitive spirit.
Nothing pissed me off more than someone telling me I couldn’t do something.
The “mariquita” comment, in all honesty, is something I didn’t understand at the time.
I grew up in a culture where sexists and homophobic slurs were thrown around every day, but when I was 8, I didn’t know any better.
I was naïve.
I proceeded on picking up a rock and throwing it with the purpose of hitting that wall.
My first try was miscalculated, completely short of my target.
My friend laughed at me.
I remember his little fucking giggle clearly because it pissed me off.
He mocked me for my first failed attempt.
So I grabbed my second rock. Locked my target and I threw that rock with purpose.
I hit that wall smack in the middle. Bulls eye!
I dusted my hands off and with a naïve smirk on my face said, “solo dos tiros.” / “only two tries.”
My friend, stone-faced and shook by my will and confidence, pushed me and said “A sí. ¿A que no puedes aventarla más allá de la pared?” / “Oh yeah. I bet you can’t throw it beyond the wall?”
Naïve smirk still gleaming. I laughed at him.
I had a feel of how far that wall was and even though it did take a lot of my strength to hit it in my first challenge, my SUPER strength would definitely come in handy in completing the second challenge.
So I grabbed a smooth rock, a perfect size to gain momentum on my throw.
Once again, I locked my target and threw that rock with purpose.
In slow-motion, I remember watching that rock float in the air and easily clear the top of that wall onto the other side.
“¡Jajaja que pendejo!” / “Hahaha what an idiot!”
That’s what my older, stronger, faster and less naïve friend shouted as he hauled ass and left me behind, never to be seen in this story again.
I stood there, naïve as can be, disabled with my feelings because seconds before I was triumphant and now…
I didn’t know what was happening actually.
I vividly remember being paralyzed.
And before I knew it, I heard loud screams and shouts.
“¡Pinche niño cabron! ¡Ahi lo veo, correle!” / “Fucking little kid. I see him, run!”
I just stood there.
And at the end of the street, I saw a bigger, older young giant franticly looking all directions, he locked eyes with me and full speed started running towards me.
That is one of the times I recall fear creeping into my body and naturally do what I believe it was designed to do under those circumstances.
…and cry. Hahaha
Growing up Mexican, it is common to always have an “apodo.” / “nickname.”
Mine was “cachetes.” / “cheeks.”
I was always a chunky little kid growing up.
So the nickname was fitting because I did indeed have big cheeks.
Can you picture it?
A little chunky, big cheeked 8-year old kid crying while running the opposite direction of a teenage giant running full speed towards him.
Remember, I was in early 1990's Mexico.
I think my neighbors may have been laughing at what was unfolding while they sat out drinking their “chelas” / “beers” or cleaning their paved front yards and driveways with Pinol. (aka Mexican Pine-Sol)
Needless to say, I didn’t even sprint 20 yards full-speed before this giant fucker caught up to me and viciously grabbed the back of my shirt.
“¿A donde vas carbonsito?” / “Where are you going you little fucker?”
Heavy-breathing, scared and with blood shot eyes and buggers running down my nose I looked up and said,
“Dejame ir pendejo. No te hice nada.” / “Let me go fucker. I didn’t do anything to you.”
I have no idea how I summoned the courage to say that to him under those circumstances.
What I do know, is that I had no idea what I had done.
I was also terrified.
In a more grown-adult, serious tone he then said, “¿Donde vives?” / “Where do you live?”
Cautiously, as he still grasped the back of my shirt I pointed with my chin and said, “Aya, a la vuelta, privada Teófilo Borunda.” / “Over there, around the corner, street Teófilo Borunda.”
He proceeded on walking alongside me, finally letting go of my shirt, until I got home.
I opened the front door of my “barandal” / “iron fence”, these are common in Mexico, many times decorative, that added extra entrance security for our home.
I knocked on the door, giant fucker still next to me.
And my mom opens the door.
“¿Buenas tardes señora, este es su hijo?” / “Good afternoon mam’, is this your son?”
My mom, looking straight at the giant fucker says,
“¿Usted quién es?”/ “Who are you?”
And before he could even answer, she looks down, locks eyes with mine and says,
“¿Que hiciste?” / “What did you do?”
The way I remember my mom at that age is very different than the way she is now.
I don’t mean that in a bad way, it’s just that like me at age 8, my mom was very different at age 32.
She was confident and untrusting of strangers.
And like many mother’s, fierce when it came to her children.
She was also alone.
The pressure of being mom, provider and protector was real.
That giant fucker deflated when my mom asked him a direct question with authority.
Hahaha, she was a total bad ass.
For me, that lasted one second though.
Because when she asked me what I did, I just…
Started crying… again.
I’ll share with you all right now, if you grew up Mexican, you got your ass whopped when you did something you weren’t supposed to do.
If that’s too much for some readers, I’m sorry.
But I’m just going to keep it real.
Giant fucker in tattle-telling voice says,
“Disculpe señora, es que su hijo le tiró una piedra a nuestra ventana y la quebró.” / “I’m sorry mam’, but your son threw a rock at our window and chattered it.”
My mom, upset… actually, livid, looks at my cry baby, chunky cheeks, buggers running down my nose ass and says,
“Metete.” / “Get inside.”
I ran past her like lightning.
My mother ended up making a deal with giant fucker, ultimately paying for the replacement of their window.
As adults, it’s crazy how quickly we judge innocence.
I’m sure you may have read this story and thought, what an idiot little kid.
Or maybe you have a kind soul and thought, aww…what a little unaware kid.
And because we are no longer that innocent, you’d be right.
My mom went back to the room and whooped my ass.
Let me just get that out the way.
That was her form of discipline. It was a form of discipline I grew up with and honestly, I don’t hold any grudges about that.
She literally just spanked me. Yelled that I should know better.
And I did what I knew best, I just cried and said I’m sorry.
She knew I was.
She knew I was a good kid. But the truth about that time is that she also struggled financially and life was hard.
It was a financial curve ball she didn’t expect.
After everything was over, I laid in my bed and everything sank in.
My “friend” had tricked me.
My innocence had blinded me of someone else’s true intention and that was to get me in trouble.
I remember all the feelings I felt that evening just thinking about that.
Guilt. Embarrassment. Betrayal. Shame. Sadness.
I was so… naïve.
So, what’s the lesson in all of this?
As a 35 year-old adult, the lesson I forgot is the most important one in this anecdote.
Being naïve can be a catalyst to accomplishment.
Oftentimes, we focus so much on the bad that we forget to focus on the good.
Like my “friend”, life will poke and challenge you.
We’ll either back down or face it with everything we’ve got.
When we do, we accomplish and overcome.
That, is just the beginning.
The beauty of not knowing any better is that you’ll just end up doing something instead of nothing.
Something instead of nothing is the beginning of an experience.
Something instead of nothing is the beginning of an accomplishment.
Something instead of nothing is the beginning of greatness.
Have the courage to be naïve and do something, instead of nothing.