“Oh, I forgot to brush my teeth!” I ran up the stairs and into the bathroom. Tooth paste and toothbrush, I scrubbed and rinsed as fast I could to avoid tardiness to school. When I looked up, I saw, in the reflection of the mirror, the same people I see in it every day. Unfortunately, I have yet to figure out who they are; who I am. I see two people of contrasting features that, like a bow and strings, provide an indispensable unison to my existence. Although they appear as a concrete figure to a bystander, those two people remain nebulous to me.
Forty-two years ago, my father emigrated from Costa Rica. He, like other immigrants, sought a better life and the American dream, his own dream, to become a doctor. However, he had to make the important practical decision to forego his medical career in favor of supporting my mother and my siblings. My mother, as ambitious as any African American woman can be, was born and raised in America. She, too, planned to pursue the medical field, but swayed from her dream as society focused its headlights on areas other than her education.
Coming into this world of diversity, I have felt a distinction between myself. I struggle to figure out what I can be and how I will cycle my life in becoming Me. But what I am sure of is my difference. I am bicultural. I have two Independence Days in my home. I celebrate Father’s Day on a different day than everyone else. One night I could be swallowing a plate of “chicharron” and “arroz con pollo”—rice and chicken. The next night I might enter into a home where a symphony of collard greens, stuffing, and fried chicken is welcoming me into my seat at the dining-room table. I have options. I can be whoever I