Us vs. Them

Describe the world you come from – for example, your family, community or school – and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations.

Describe the world you come from – for example, your family, community or school – and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations.I am a ‘them’. In the ‘us vs. them’ mentality, I have been the ‘them’ to most people throughout my life. I am a minority, in almost every way a person can be a minority. I am a multi-racial female who has always lived with a lesbian parent. I believe that this has shaped me to be the person I am today, a unique person with a unique view of the world.When I was seven years old, my family moved from California to Florida. Before we did, my mother drove us up to a hill overlooking our hometown of Long Beach just as the sun was setting. I can still feel the cool breeze on my face and the warmth of my mother’s right arm around me as we stood in the reflective silence that can only come when one knows that their whole world is about to change.“This will be a new adventure,” she said, squeezing her arms around my brother and me in a gesture of comfort, “but no matter what happens, we will always be a family.”At first, as with all younger children, I didn’t notice the difference between my family and anyone else’s. If a friend’s parent asked me if I was adopted, I would laugh and wonder what could have possibly lead them to think such a thing. When my mother hired a babysitter who was transgendered, I begged for bedtime stories with as much gusto as I had with any other neighborhood teenaged babysitter.As I grew older, the differences became more apparent. When bank tellers or waiters remarked on my skin color, I felt as though I was being judged for not being the beautiful white child that my beautiful white mother deserved. When people at my middle school refused to sit with me because they thought I was ‘like my mom’, I felt as though I would never fit in anywhere.Truthfully, when I was younger, I would have given anything to be a member of the majority. I used to wish I had the same creamy white skin and long blonde hair as my mother. I used to wish that I had only grown up in one place and could point to a friend and say “We’ve been friends since kindergarten!” I used to wish I lived in a carefree world with a mom and a dad and a white picket fence.But now that I’m older, I wouldn’t change a thing about the world I grew up in. Growing up around people who accept themselves for who they are has given me the strength to accept myself for the ever-changing person I am. I have a more positive disposition than any person I know who has grown up with a ‘normal’ life. I am an accepting person who understands that no matter what a person’s skin color, sexual orientation, or background might be, we are all just looking for happiness and acceptance.Even though my life experience has been and will surely continue to be different from that of my ‘normal’ peers or that of my mother, what my mother said that day as we stood on the hill was right. Throughout every new adventure, we will always be a family.

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