I am Mixed. What does that mean? I do not know, because I have not fully explored my Mixed identity, during the last 30 years. Furthermore, until recently, I did not have a community/place to share my story and compare notes.
Please don’t misconstrue, I do experience otherness on a daily basis, but I function on autopilot as I engage with the different circles I operate in. It is always with strained tension between who I am, which has been fuzzy, and who I think people assume I am.
What do I say to people when they ask me “what are you?” (add your own version of this question). I reply, Irish (with emphasis), Portuguese (with emphasis), Native American (with emphasis), and African-American or African or Black (with apology). It hurts me to write this because of the painful experience of not belonging; an outlier like Pluto (after finding out it is not a planet).
As a male, I accepted my status with passive frustration, but hey, I thought to myself, that was my lot in life. Moreover, I had no desire for kids and I have no kids. Furthermore, I had the good fortune of only seriously dating people that did not want kids. Hence, I had no pressure of worrying about how my mixedness and their mixedness would impact our lives.
I mention this because most of the leaders in the Mixed movement are women, which I believe stems from their historical role as the primary caregiver for kids. Consequently, they’re more likely to be immersed in understanding and defining the terms of Mixedness to better help their offspring.
I’m Mixed, but now it is beginning to have meaning, because I’m immersed in the Mixed experience. I’m now writing and curating content for Mixed Roots Stories. I must admit it is a challenge to write about the Mixed experience, because it reveals my deepest insecurities around self-identity. So much so that I’ve been unable to write: suffering in silence.
No more. I need to talk and tell stories. Oy, I feel vulnerable.
It is a struggle, but sharing this story is a beginning.