Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Neela Vaswani: Stability of One Thing

"In my youth, I longed to have what I mistakenly perceived as the stability of being 'one thing,'" wrote Neela Vaswani in her comments at the end her short story, which appeared in Mixed: An Anthology of Short Fiction on the Multiracial Experience.

One thing. As a mixed kid growing up in a suburban neighborhood, I had wished for it too. I wanted to fit in somewhere, in one area. I wanted to be white like my friends so that I wouldn't be the darkest one, the oddball, in every picture.

At my elementary school before a concert. I never could figure out how to arrange my face on command.
My parents always said my gift was that I could cross the boundary lines, but that gift many times left me straddling two worlds than belonging to either. Should I hang out with the black kids or the white kids? And if I act out of race lines, will they make fun of me for it? (Sometimes yes)

I've grown up now. While I still straddle the lines of race, I've decided to embrace those differences rather than try to hide them or awkwardly smash those pieces of me together. I don't kowtow to racial lines anymore.

I'm in a stage of exploration and exhibition. I'm being me, all of me. And I don't care who sees it.

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