Belonging doesn't exist - Advanced Essay #3

In my advanced essay #3 my goal was to explore the question of constructing your own identity and how your awareness of who you are eliminates the idea of wanting to belong. With every advanced essay I've been seeing a development of my writing and descriptive skills. In my advance essay I not only wanted to create a mental image in my readers mind but I wanted to leave an impression on the readers mind.

While watching a Ted Talk given by Thandie Newton in my English 3 class, I was captivated by her accent that I never knew she possessed. Her words caressed my ears and massaged my brain, losing the nerves and allowing my thoughts to flow down into my heart. I went home and later that night I watched the video again. The silence in my room allowed me to analyze every word that rolled off her tongue. Newton confessed her struggle with finding her identity. She spoke on an idea that she assumed most of us believed. She said “We start to believe that belonging confirms our self existence.” I do agree, some believe this idea and they make it a part of their lives. But I have also came to the conclusion that when we become aware of our internal differences, the craving of belonging no longer exists. Even if our desire is to fit in, once we know we don’t belong or fit into society’s norms  we will never be able to do so.

Children’s laughter fills the warm house. The sound of little feet kiss the ground passionately as they play around in the house. The children's mother sits at a large brown wooden circle. On top of the wooden circle sits a sewing machine. She looks up occasionally from the fabric that is being pierced by a needle. The doorbell rings and a small brown girl stops her laughter and approaches the door slowly. She looks back quickly before opening the door for her mother's permission. She opens the door and closes it, “Ahhhhhhh, Help! Help! It’s a black man!” The tall dark figure waiting behind the door looks down at the small brown child puzzled but slowly filling with anger. The mother gathers her robe and rushes to the door just to see it is the husband of her friend. He is coming to pick up the garment the mother has made for his wife.

My mother describes this moment just as she lived it.  This was the first black man she seen that came to the door. She had heard bad things about them on the T.V. She didn’t know she was black until her first encounter with racism at the age of 8. Her mother was a caramel color and her father was Puerto Rican, light and pale. He spoke broken english but he was the only man she was taught to call daddy. My mom grew up in a household full of diversity. She lived and was raised in a predominantly white neighborhood. She had three brothers and four sisters; Victor, Mario, Angelo, Santa, Ava, Vida, and Terria. All of their names were from Spanish origin except for hers. They were all yellow-toned and her brown soiled skin made her stick out like sore thumb. Her hair was a thick wild bush of coils and it took a hot comb warmed by fireplace to get it straight.

My mother was the only child with an African American dad. My grandmother’s first child’s, Terria, father was Jamaican and Chinese. Her second child Vida’s dad was Brazilian. Her last children Mario, Angelo, Ava, Victor, and Santa were born to Puerto rican men.

For a while my mother was very color blind. Not in the sense that she didn’t want to realize the differences between her and the people she was around but because she just couldn’t see them. She never noticed the difference in color between her and her siblings. But other people couldn’t help but notice she didn’t belong. As my mom grew up she became aware that she was different, but she never let her otherness stop her growth as a person. Majority of her friends were white and she dated people of all different ethnicities. She dealt with many acts of racism from both white and black people. Her skin color was too dark for the white people and her language was “too white” for the black people. But one thing that my mom never struggled with was finding her identity and being comfortable with everything she was and everything she would become. To this day my mother still feels like she doesn’t belong. She deals with the “You sound so white” comments and being called a “valley girl.” Once she realized she didn’t belong she never fit in. Her awareness became a strength and not belonging became a limitation. All with positive effects.