I know of
It is obvious
that I do not
I belong to me.
In first introductions, people ask about your shoes, your haircut, or something surface-y. It's a natural occurrence in American culture as a way of easing into a conversation (hopefully one of meaning).
Throughout my life, I have been asked, "What are you?" I know what they want to know. The names of the races that make up my face: Cantonese, Okinawan, Japanese, Scottish & Irish. And by the end of the list, they'll say something like, "How exotic." Or "You mixed always look so interesting." I'm not offended by it, it's just uncomfortable. Today, I say, "I am human" and I leave it at that because they are only concerned with the contours of my face, and I'd rather not discuss it. And deep down, I feel awkward when I hardly know anything about "my" cultures, because these cultures are clearly not my own. My roots are there, but I am a third generation American with parents who neglected to teach me their languages because they hardly knew them, themselves. I don't know any language other than those that have allowed me to communicate my feelings (art, film, writing, performance). I do not belong to these cultures and they do not belong to me, and yet, many define me by them. How can I resonate, let alone, explain in depth to others what I do not know? I don't want to do these cultures an injustice. I appreciate these cultures that have "created me", and I'm inclined to learn about them, but first and foremost, I am me, not a race to define. It took me a long time to realize this, since my American consumerist culture had brought me up to believe that this was the most important and defining factor of my identity. I now know that I am more than an interesting face.