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First Generation

I belong nowhere. I pledge allegiance to no flag and no land. I don’t smell home in the damp earth of my motherland or the rain slicked streets of this big city. I can’t see myself in posters, magazines, television screens, window panes, mirrors. I am innoculated and simultaneously vulnerable and asthmatic, utterly ethnic but a bland and watered down expression of my color. I was born in a neighborhood of exported souls and displaced humans, just like me, on a crossroads of livelihoods and new misplaced lives. A better life, a better life, a bitter life — a life with helter-skelter opaque identity, a life evaluated by material goods and the luxury of education — we want a house, and a car, and 2.5 kids and enough money to never be hungry — but we want the old world’s value, the mystery of that agape kind of love, that treasured close family dynamic, that language, that religion, that home away from home — an invisible house made of glass. The feeling of being surrounded by items and feeling completely empty and inarticulate. Why am I here? Do you think I want to be here? Do you think I’m here to steal your job? Do you think I like being asked where I’m “orginally” from, or if my marriage will be arranged, or how many arms my god has in comparison to your white washed messiah (who probably looked more like me than you if and when he existed)? I just want to be comfortable somewhere. I just want a home somewhere. But I am who I am. I am the child and grandchild of immigrants, and I have to fight every day to formulate my identity and evaluate my existence.

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