Dear future Victoria,
I wonder how you’re doing right now and what high school was like since I’m about to start in August. I can’t imagine how different you’ll be from now on and of course what you might look like. I just hope that you’ve delved into the question: who are you? As of right now I feel as if I don’t have anything that makes me unique although I’m sure there’s something but I’m just not aware of it. I’m thinking about how things might be different in 10 years, in 2030, when you’re 24, probably done with college and now on with working. Man it’s crazy just thinking about it, but I wanted to tell you some reminders/memories since I know your memory is pretty bad.
I want you to know about what I am thinking currently about who I am as a person and I have realized that I really don’t know myself that well. I identify as being mixed including being Vietnamese in spite of barely knowing the the culture, food, and tradition but I hold this pride in being Asian. I feel conflicted whenever I say that I’m black for some reason, is it because I don’t look the part? But African-Americans come in many shapes and forms. Am I different from them? Of course I am, but that’s just how things are. Why don’t I really feel “Mexican” enough? Is it because I don’t speak the language and don’t “act” like my classmates at school? Do I put this expectation on how a particular race is supposed to be and try to fit myself into that category even though I will never fit into them? …Yes, sadly. Don’t even get me started on my Puerto Rican side, I feel the farthest from it. I am so confused and I know that it’s normal for someone who’s mixed like me and anyone in general, but I just really want answers right now. I know that the only way into figuring out who I am as a person is through time and experience, plus I’m only 14, only been on this earth for 14 years, almost the same amount of time as to when Pluto was demoted. Life is pretty crazy right now with the whole Black Lives Matter protest and I firmly believe that there won’t be a revolution, that there won’t be a major change in society, people DON’T like or want change, they’re too comfortable. Now that we’re home during COVID-19 we’re being exposed to what America is truly like. I’ve also come to the realization with the fact that race is a made up concept that we humans made to differentiate ourselves from one another as a way to prove who’s better and who’s at the bottom. It made me think of myself as a blob and I really could just be, but there nothing wrong with that right? Being different is what makes you unique but it also makes you a target. I am really thankful for not having to experience racism or discrimination so far in my life. Although these things could change when I start high school and as I get older, being exposed to more people and different places. Only time would tell I suppose. In addition, I do want you to remember that time when you were with Kaylen at Jewel-Osco and this older African-American male came up to you to ask if you were mixed, and in the moment you replied with yes and told him what you were made up of. He said that he knew it and called you beautiful and it was the first time someone ever noticed that you were mixed. You should also know that receiving a compliment from a stranger feels so much better since they didn’t necessarily have to and it could be sincere. Now looking back on it, it does sound a little weird, an older guy telling an underage girl that she’s beautiful; he saw and had a feeling that I was mixed and I will forever take that as a compliment. I felt proud for being who I am even though I had no control over it but I just gotta live my life as who I am right now.
To summarize how I feel currently about myself, I’m proud to be mixed but I’m just as confused as to how I perceive myself with these different ethnicities. I know that it’s going to take me awhile to figure things out as time goes on but I’m up for the challenge if it answers my questions.
Victoria Sharif (2020)
St. Ignatius – DMSF