Multi-Racial means having a fluid Identity

Jesse Ponnambalam,
Bolingbrook, IL.

When I see most of the people I know; they all somewhat fit into a specific group. Some may identify as a “skater”, a “Anime Nerd”, a Brony, a “Jock” a “set specific identity here” kind of mold. Now I know that people have more than one Identity, But I never really fit into one Identity. What I mean is that My Identity does not seem to fit into any specific mold, and when it did, it quickly changed. I think this Phenomenon, though it exists in everyone, is extreme in me because of my lived experiences in being Multi Racial, Multi-cultural, and my Dad being a war refugee from Shri Lanka twice, and my mom Being raised in America by family that came from overseas from Germany and Italy.
To start off, my dad was born into an upper-class Tamil home. He lived life comfortably as a Christian, Tamil within a Sinhalese, Buddhist nation. This changed when civil unrest started between the Singhalese people and my dad’s people, the Tamil’s. At the age of twelve my dad’s family fled the country to live in Zambia. My Dad then went to the only college in Zambia and graduated as one of the top ten in his field of study. My Dad then moved back to Shri Lanka where things were more volatile than before. His dorm ended up being burned down and people were after his life due to his ethnicity. My dad then moved to the united states and met my mom, when they were at the University of Bridgeport.
Now my mom also had an interesting life. She lived with cousins who were immigrants from Germany, and Italy. She spent a lot of time with my great uncle Carmen, who was ex Mafia and other relatives from Germany. My mom was also living in poverty with an alcoholic dad and later an alcoholic step dad. But all in hall he was surrounded by many immigrant family members that complicated her identity.
Now One might think that my family discarded some of their traditions and cultural norms, but not my family. They just sort of combined cultures. My family gave me a European/ American name and gave my sister and little brother Tamil type names. But that wasn’t all, the cuisine in my family was mixed. I ate things from American food, to Italian, to south Indian food, even other foods that weren’t linked to our heritage. I lived with my mom using some German and Italian language and my dad using Tamil language. my life at home was much different than any of my other relatives, a very different from the normal culture that I would see at my friends’ houses and at school. Now other things happened, such as my families S.E.S changed from upper class to upper middle, to middle, to no income, Poverty, to working poor. Which also affected the people I was hanging out with in my childhood.
This affected me in many ways, I became interested in many things, branched into many hobbies, met people from many backgrounds different than mine, and sort of adapted to all of them. I kind of have an interest in almost everything. Especially things that I see as different than what I grew up in. I Identify as a skate boarder, football player, a martial artist, an Anime Nerd, a soccer player, a poet, a feminist and much more. In a sense, I absorb bits from every group I have encountered, and even more I am attracted to these differences, if it’s something I am foreign to I want to learn about it. All in all; my life experiences and my parents life experiences have played a major factor in why I have a fluid identity, and I am fortunate to have had such an upbringing.


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