I ran across this article yesterday. I hadn’t really thought about it before, but I have been asked that question an inordinate amount of times in my life.
Like most people of mixed race and background, that is not a simple question to answer. I cannot simply say something like German or Mexican or South African. The answer is far more complex. Even for people of a pure ethnicity I cannot image this question is simply answered either. There is much more to what you are than the area of the world that your ancestors came from. Your identity is made up of a wide variety of experiences, preferences, recognized orientations (gender or lack of a commonly recognized one, sexual preference, religious affiliation or lack thereof, etc.), familial groupings, and so on. Although when people ask this question, it seems that they are looking for specific answers: race, gender, and/or nationality.
I could answer this question in so many ways. Human. Female. Bisexual. Atheist. American (not a particularly proud one). American Indian, French, German, and many unknowns (my mother was adopted, we suspect based on our physical traits and other facts that we may be Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and/or African). But I want to ask in return, why does it matter? If I answer with anything but human I may be judged. Apparently I already am anyway, so why would I tell you anything else besides human?
I have no issue discussing “what” I am with people I know. My story is interesting and varied and has a lot of mystery. But why does a complete stranger think they have a right to that information?
What do you think of this question? How do you answer it?
In early 2007 I moved from Arizona to Nevada without any notice or planning. My marriage had come to the breaking point and the only place that I really had to go was to my mother’s. I could have stayed with friends, but at the time I had no job or income of my own due to a layoff (the beginnings of the housing crash were the cause) and frankly I wanted to be with my mother. She had relocated to Nevada with her jobin 2003 from the city in Arizona that we had lived in since 1989. It was not an easy separation for us. My mom and I are closer than most siblings and have our relationship often compared to that of twins. The opportunities that this relocation would offer her were not something that she could turn down and although I knew it would not be easy for either of us, I encouraged her to go. She’s gone from poverty class hourly wages and living in a rented trailer to making $60,000 more a year than she was a decade ago, owning her own home, being able to save for retirement, being able to purchase a new car, and have more comforts in her life. I followed mom to Nevada because I wanted to be near her and had nowhere else I could realistically go. At the same time that meant leaving behind my friends and the few family members I associate with and a city that I truly love.
In the last four months I have run across images or information concerning three of the major men that used to be in my life. The first, *Scott was my boss back in the late nineties and early 2000s. He and I became lovers and were having an affair. He was married to a woman that he had met out of the country and had brought here so she could obtain citizenship. She also had health issues (at least so he told me and it very well may have been true) that prevented them from having a sex life. Again, according to him, she knew about me and was okay with our relationship. I fell in love with this man like I had never with anyone else. We kept our involvement a secret, although it wasn’t a well kept one. Continue reading →
* Not his real name. (In a continuing effort to remain anonymous and protect our privacy, my boyfriend’s name has been changed. I will mark any detailsthat I change in a similar fashion.)
I mentioned in my first entry that one of the things that has brought me here to wordpress is the desire to blog about my boyfriend Graham. There is an almost ten year difference in our ages and I’m the older one. Honestly this doesn’t make much of a difference to either of us. After two years I’m pretty sure that if it were going to cause us major problems there would have been an indication. It works for us quite well. He’s mature for his age, which makes it much easier for him to encourage me to not work and accept full financial responsibility for us. Initially I had intended to seek work again after I was laid off, even if only part time work, but he told me I didn’t need to and he didn’t particularly want me to. It was easy to see just how much healthier and happier I was without a job. I still may eventually pursue something part time, but right now I am in the process of booking my first paid wedding photography gig (fingers crossed).Continue reading →