I'm dreaming of a place, a home, a country. One that's not so divided. I dream of a place where we listen to each other's ideas, ideals, and morals. I dream of a place where we can find common ground. I dream of a world where everyone understands that it's not black-and-white but a universe of gray.
What makes me who I am does not define who I am…It does not separate me from my fellows in humanity.
There were times when who I am could easily have separated me from those around me. I didn't grow up with a clear identity. I grew up half Puerto Rican in a white neighborhood where I was considered "culturally diverse". I grew up in a Catholic neighborhood where Jewish people were few and far between. My differences used to make me feel insecure. I didn't go to CCD (in fact, it made me feel like there was a cool private club I wasn't invited to). I sprouted hips at a young age while everyone else could fit into Abercrombie and Fitch jeans. I didn't feel left out, but there was something that made me feel like I didn't belong.
Alternatively, I didn't feel Hispanic. I didn't speak Spanish. At family reunions, I didn't know the dance moves until my uncle took the time to show me outside a VFW hall so I wouldn't be embarrassed at events anymore. I felt like I was always out of the conversation. LITERALLY. Not only could I not speak Spanish, but I couldn't understand it either. Rice and beans was a fun treat, not a way of life.
I spent my whole life confused by what to put on forms. I'm not "White, Non-Hispanic" but I don't identify simply as "Hispanic". Yet somehow, all of these contradictions made me who I am. It showed me the importance of focusing on individual people, not the labels put upon them.
It doesn't really matter who we are. What matters is the conversation we can share, the love we can give, and the kindness we extend to others. I dream of a place where all this is possible.