How My Cultural Identity Effect’s My Life
Culture plays a large part in many of our lives. Food, clothes, and language are aspects that play into the culture people belong to. Our lives, attached to these aspects, shaping us to the people we are becoming. Culture runs through generations, traditions are passed down as well as stories. I am a Mexican and a Serbian American. In my Hispanic culture, you have amazing food, ingredients, and recipes past throughout the generations. And, in my Serbian culture, you have the stories of my grandparents coming to America right from Serbia, now observing the country they begin to call home for their life.
Growing up, I wasn't exactly culturally accepted you could say. Since I was part Mexican I never really looked like it really, my pale white skin, dark brown freckles that reached across the bridge of my nose and partially covering other places on my face. My mother is white, while my father is Mexican And Serbian and, you could definitely say I took the characteristics from my mom rather than my dad. Never looking the “part” of my ethnicity constantly brought doubt to people, always commenting that there is no way I’m another race other than white. It was the same routine, mentioning that I’m Hispanic, then the doubt, then brushing it off realizing I’ll never exactly look the part. My mom would say I didn’t look like my ethnicity, my dad would tell me to own it and deal with it and my brother would help me realize I should just stay quiet about it. The constant doubting from people made me confused with what exactly I am. But, I soon learn to deal with it and realize that it really is the identity that I am seen by other people that they observe my culture to be.
There was one time growing up, where I was sitting in class in sixth grade and we all talked about what growing up is like what we do on the holidays, and exactly in a way that our culture really is. I was confused, I knew I was Mexican and Serbian but I always knew I didn’t look like other people that were the same culture as me or how everyone else did that was Mexican or Serbian. I remember zoning out trying to come up with what to exactly say. I said I was Mexican, and then, of course, the doubt came, which wasn’t surprising of course. I was constantly feeling left out like I didn’t have a truth to be told. I didn’t have a story that was as big as everybody else’s, I didn’t have any of the cool traditions at the time, I didn’t exactly have the family aspects that some of these cultures do. I felt alone in a way, not really having much to represent as a person.
Over time, it took me a while to realize I didn’t need the complete validation and acceptance from other people to value my culture and what I bring to the table. I constantly wanted people to believe me, really just looked for the validation I was wanting. But, I learned that my culture doesn’t exactly make me who I am, I am still the same girl that grew up in Everett her whole life, lived in the same house for 15 years straight and that had an amazing family that is shaping me to be the young adult that I am today. My culture is still a big part of my life, we still have the small traditions of making tortillas with my grandma on the days leading up to Christmas, still hearing the stories about my grandparents coming here from Serbia. But, I've now learned to realize just because I don’t exactly look like my exact ethnicity doesn’t mean it doesn’t make me the person I am right now, I realized that as long as I know who I am, that’s really all that matters and I don’t need the acceptance from other people about what culture I belonged to. I am myself, and nothing will change that.
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