On day ten, which was yesterday, I wrote the final punctuation of my faith story involving my Latino and “Italian” heritages. I can hardly believe I had started off simply, and with great devotion, pushed through and managed to flesh out a full-scale memory of the entire landscape of my cultural identity. On paper, I am a Colombian-American and not a Colombian, as most people are apt to assume, but the distinction doesn’t stop people from being rude and saying things out of ignorance.
I will gladly note the biological fact of my real cultural background on government papers and census forms, but saying it out loud usually gets me in trouble and starts the ball rolling on cultural assumptions. Throughout this extended faith story, you’ll understand more about why I feel labels of cultural identity are more damaging than they are worth, and usually don’t lend a hand to starting off good friendships in the community.
You’ll also get to see how peoples’ treatment of me varied according to their levels of education and (gasp) location. Yes, location has made a difference and has been the thing to most strongly shape the way I see and identify myself!
Today is day eleven and my final day for working on and completing my faith story about my culture. For eleven days straight, I poured my heart into my writing, recalling as many tidbits and pieces of my cultural upbringing and background as possible. Some of the things came to me easily in flashbacks, other aspects eluded me.
I wrote in detail about my childhood, went right through high school, touched upon college life, mentioned my first full-time job, discussed my move to a new state, talked about my law school days, and finally ended up things with getting married and having two daughters. Believe it or not, each of those life events brought its own set of cultural experiences to the mix, all of which have shaped me in some way.
It’s surprising to me that my original faith story started out simply as two pages and fleshed itself out into nearly twelve pages. This section alone is nearly 13,000 words! Overall, I’m really pleased at my ability to write a story about my culture and weave in as many elements as I did.
In one of those elements, I wrote about the time I was affiliated with the former president of Cuba, Fidel Castro, during a time in my life when I lived in a rural town with white people who had not been exposed to Latino cultures. Thankfully, I learned that the so-called affiliation was false!
If you’re interested in reading about how I could have possibly been grouped in with the former president and dictator of Cuba, I know you’ll love reading this section in my book. Please stay tuned and keep reading this blog. Your comments are always welcome and appreciated!
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