Day 1: Where I come from
Today I am supposed to describe where or what I come from. It can include the people, places, and/or factors that make up who I am. When I started thinking about what I would write about I kind of psyched myself out. It’s not that I don’t know who I am or where I come from but for a long time I didn’t know who I was. I think it is only recently that I’ve become comfortable with this hodge podge a of background that I have.
In a general sense I am from Northern Virginia, about 20 minutes outside of Washington, DC. It is where I spent most of my childhood and where I grew up. Compared to Arizona it is very diverse. I’m used to seeing different types of people with different backgrounds, ethnicities, and religions. I miss that. You’d be surprised to find out that Arizona is very vanilla and a lot of the time I feel like an outsider.
You see me and can tell I’m biracial. Growing up people always thought I was half black half white and for a long time I didn’t correct them. As I got older I started to identified myself as a Hispanic but then many of the Hispanic people I knew said I wasn’t Hispanic enough. I never really knew what that meant and still don’t. I speak the language, understand it, can read it (slowly), and can write in Spanish. So how was I not Hispanic enough?
You see, I’ve never really identified with any one ethnicity or race. I was raised by a very loud, outspoken, Dominican single mother. My Cuban stepfather was in and out of the picture for most of my life. To be honest, for a long time I thought my stepfather was actually my biological father. It wasn’t until after I’d become an adult that I found out he was not, and that in actuality I was half Italian. My mother doesn’t really speak about my biological father and I think I don’t really press the issue out of respect.
Finding out information of my identity later in life is bound to make me a little insecure. And if I was already insecure about who I was to begin with, you can only image the shit storm that I was dealing with when that tid bit of information was finally revealed to me. It is something I struggle with internally till this day but haven’t really addressed it or come to terms with it. As you can tell, I just sweep things under the proverbial rug and move on.
Since Remy was born I’ve thought a lot about how I would explain her roots. I don’t want her to ever struggle with her identity the way I did growing up and want her to feel secure in the fact that she is a melting pot of ethnicities. On Kevin’s side she’s got German, Swedish, Irish, and English blood running through those veins of hers. And on mine she’s got Dominican and Italian. That combination alone is bound to make her a fiery and passionate woman and I want her to take pride in that! So when the time’s comes to put together a family tree of where she comes from I’ll feel confident to say that she’s a citizen of the world:)