Can I join in here? I don't know what to say about what I am. No matter where I go, people stop me and ask me, "What are you?". I was always offended by their questioning, because to me, I thought I was Scottish.
After years of asking my parents about their backgrounds, my dad finally told me that I am 1/4 Native American. Hello? Why didn't he tell me before?
I spent my childhood thinking I was adopted, and even much of my adult life (perhaps all of it). This has had a profound affect on my life, yet I couldn't even identify any group of people with my looks, because no one told me who I am.
Everyone however asks me... African Americans ask if I am an albino African American. Asians ask me if I am bi-racial (half Asian/half white). One Loatian women at my daughters school put it straight out...."Are you Mix?", she said. I pondered that question for a while. She obviously meant, am I bi-racial. She was sure I was "one of her's". Growing up, other children said I was "exotic". I had no idea what they were talking about. In fact, I still don't. I have never seen myself as anything but what I was. And, I thought I was white.
What a big shock it came to me when I learned I was bi-racial. I have my mothers fair skin, her freckles, and her green eyes. Where my looks diverge are the shape of my face, shape and placement of my eyes and the angular body that I have, that no one else in my family has. My sister and I sound alike, but I really don't look like my sister or brother, and certainly don't look like my parents. My father was always told he was Scottish, or he made it up. I think the latter. He's got olive skin, and similar facial placements like me. He used to change his mind about what he was when we were young, and as we asked more questions, he decided that he was actually ONLY Scottish. I feel like I am pouring this out. Sorry if I am hijacking...not my intention. It's hard to form these words because, I'm 44, and just now finding this out!
So, the reason I am posting about this subject is, all of my life I thought I was white. However, everyone noticed the difference between me and the other girls. I always wanted straight hair. I always wanted blue eyes. I wanted blond hair ect. I thought I wasn't pretty, even though everyone talked about my looks, commented on how unique I looked, and how exotic I was. The African American girls literally flocked around me, and loved doing my hair. I had dark blond hair. Not the light blond I wanted. But I had wavy/curly hair, very long and coarse. In ways it is similar to African American hair, and in ways similar to Scottish hair...very wirey hair.
All I can say is, I identify with some of the things I am reading here. And, I have three children from India, and I have an Indian first and last name, so people often think I am an albino from india!!! My looks garnish the curiosity from strangers, and I think that did a number on my self esteem. I didn't know of any child in my school, or in my entire childhood who seemed to get so much attention on her looks like I did, and at that, no one said "pretty". Just unique and exotic.
So, with my daughters, who are now also having the same insecurities, even though they are not bi-racial. I spend alot of time showing them pictures of girls like them, taking them to India cultural events, taking them to temple, and I volunteer in the Indian community also, so we have a very big dose of Indian (india) culture in their lives on a consistant basis. We have books, dolls, videos and much more that continually uplift their knowing who they are. I can give that to them, something I didn't get as a child.
Anyway, this was very long, but it is the first time I have every mentioned my cultural background to a large group. I've told some friends, and they all immediately say, "That's it!". I feel a bit like a science experiment, where the creator of my being got confused and didn't make me the right way. Maybe that is how our daughters are feeling?
Vegetarian Hindu, mother to L,P and R.