“I am not my upbringing”

Project Description:

Often times people are confused as to exactly what I am. See, they have a general perception as to what I should be… but they can’t quite put a finger on it. Are you Spanish? Are you African? Are you African American? Are you Black? No, wait…Maybe Alien? These are the thoughts that run through people’s minds, or, if they’re ambitious enough, these thoughts are vocalized. I don’t have a problem with them asking, in fact, I rather they did. It’s more when I’m not sure whether or not they’re wondering about it that I begin to feel uncomfortable. And the whole situation becomes very convoluted when they see my family members. When your mother, father, and little brother are of the “lighter complexion” and your several shades darker, questions are immediately raised:

Other person: “So your adopted right?”

Me: “No not quite, more like “half – adopted.”

Other person: “So wait…wait, your mom, with the blonde dreads? She’s your biological parent then?”

Me: “Yup.”

Other person: “Ok ok, so the short white dude is your step dad then?”

Me: “Yea, but I think of him as my dad and not so much the step part….”

Other person: “Oh so he’s cool then.”

Me: “Yea pretty cool.”

Other person: “So where is your biological father?”

Me: “Lets just say he’s not in the picture as of now…”

And that’s the way that the conversation often goes, ever since I was young. Once again, I actually welcome when people ask it’s the whole, “If there’s an elephant in the room introduce it” thing, but internally is where the insecurity begins to form. I sometimes wonder what my life might have been like if I hadn’t grown up in the situation I currently find myself. For sure, I am so grateful for my family and for the part they have played in making me the person I am proud to be today, but there is always that bit of unsettling curiosity. Being human, it’s difficult not to ask such questions. And naturally, the more questions I ask it becomes increasingly more difficult to quiet them. So I go through my life as a teenage kid, genuinely loving life and immersing myself in a variety of experiences, but in the depths of my conscious the reality of my “mismatch” is ever present. It may be the reason why it takes me a while to open up, and why change has always been so difficult for me. That said, going into the future, I strive to use my insecurity to my advantage. I know that I can overcome much in life due to, in fact, my very upbringing.