Once upon a time there was a girl who had two ethnically ambiguous parents and three ethnically ambiguous sisters. The girl’s father was in the military, so the girl and her sisters moved all over, she even lived in Germany for all of elementary school. The girl lived in a typical German neighborhood, with typical German neighbors, she had German friends and adopted German customs. From this experience, the girl was always intrigued by different cultures and people.
So yes, that girl is me. Spending a good chunk of my formative years in a foreign country, coupled with being a very light-skinned black girl due to generations of miscegenation, meant I was always asked a gazillion questions about my heritage when I moved to a mostly-white Colorado when I was twelve. I remember reading in a Judy Blume book when I was younger, being different either works for you or against you; and I was determined to make it work for me and Colorado was a great place to do that. I stayed in Colorado, graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder. I modeled for eight years in Colorado all through college and after college. I was the first black model used for a lot of companies, although it was made very clear I was hired, not as a black model, but because I was ethnically vague.
I met my husband in Colorado, a handsome half-Peruvian/half-American man from Miami. Let’s just say, he had me at dual-citizenship. We moved to Miami, a place where everyone is different shades of brown, no matter what your heritage. We had our gorgeous swirled daughter in Miami. In 2012, we swapped sun, beach, and city for cowboy boots and suburbia. We moved to the Dallas suburbs on a 113 degree day in August. I gave birth to a little swirled Texan, a boy, during the great ice storm in December 2013.
So here I am, in Texas, happily navigating life with two swirled kids with a swirled husband. Is it ever the focus of our lives? Only when my daughter asks what is Latino. Other than that, it doesn’t really come up in everyday life. My goal is to make them aware, proud, and to not be afraid to seek out friends that are different than themselves. It’s how I grew up and I turned out ok… kind of.
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