Updated: Sep 8, 2019
I have always loved this photo because it's so dated and so perfect. It was taken in my grandparents' back yard in the late 70s.
Either late last year or earlier this year I brought it to one of the Mixed Dialogues sessions where the prompt was to share a family photo. Having this photo displayed on a projector to a group of ppl I kinda knew but not really, but who could also understand my experience better than most of my closest people was... vulnerable, uncomfortable, raw in a probably good way. It was poignant to say out loud that this is who I grew up with.
I was the only kid in my family for my first 11 years. And the only Black person in my family. Each of these people loved me so much, and not one of them was prepared to raise me as a Mixed/Black kid, at least not in the way I needed.
2017 was a year of incredible experiences inviting me to look at my identity from old and new angles. Some of it, like helping put on the Midwest Mixed Conference, was joyful and empowering, and showed me that I can hold a place of leadership and experience within Mixed community. And other experiences have truly challenged and gutted me, some of which I'm in the thick of today. I'm very much processing the impact of what is represented in this picture. Unresolved, not yet ready for the pretty bow on top.
But for today the truth is, for better or worse, these were my people and my growing up environment created who I am today: a Mixed woman therapist who specializes in complex identity, and who's still negotiating her own.