This I Believe

Sheryl - Raleigh, North Carolina
Entered on December 11, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

Yellow, white, black, blue, no matter what our skin color is, our heart is basically the same. We all have wants and desires in our lives that we strive to achieve. The blood of a Hispanic, an African-American, a German, and a Native American flows through my veins. When I go home and look at my parents, I see two completely different shades of color and it’s amazing to me because they both come from two different minority groups. I love my diverse family and I love being who I am.

I believe in embracing culture, identity, and family history.

Exterior is always the first thing seen when a person looks at someone else. On the outside, I’m a black girl, on the inside; I’m fun, smart, shy, determined, and strong. I come from boisterous Hispanics who burn the biggest pot in the house by cooking all the rice in it, and from country, down-to-earth, fried-food-eating black folks, who eat collard greens and sit around the table and talk about when their younger days, having to walk to school, bare-footed, in the snow, up hill, both ways.

My family has a long, interesting history that barely originates in this country. My mother is a first-generation immigrant from El Salvador, and my father comes from plantation slaves from Pennsylvania. I love hearing stories from when my parents were younger and being able to recognize the extreme contrast between the two. Neither came from wealthy families, but their childhoods were so rich, vibrant, and interesting that every experience has contributed to their decisions in raising children. I think they have done a phenomenal job and love them for everything that they went through, that they are making sure we don’t have to endure.

It’s been a struggle for me in finding who I am because of the expectations that certain personalities come with certain skin colors. Sometimes, especially when I was in middle school, I found it to be overwhelming and confusing, so I stayed away from people in general. As I’ve grown older and come to realize the world is not so close-minded, I’ve learned to embrace myself and let others get to know who I am a little more. I used to be scared of people judging based on what they saw and not giving me a chance, but I’ve learned to over come that fear and take on new challenges and to meet new people. I think we should broaden our horizons and step outside of our boxes and see the world for what it is.

I love being who I am, and giving what I can to those around, whether it is a smile, a laugh, some kind word or gesture, or just me, I give them every part of me from every part of the world because that’s what makes up who I am. I believe in loving that diversity and wanting to share it with others, and in being who you are in the world.