Belonging

Belonging.

It is a concept I have pondered my entire life.

When you can claim two languages as your native tongues, where do you belong?

When you are a citizen of more than one nation, where do you belong?

When the blood of Eastern European, West African, Native American and Spanish ancestors runs through your veins, where do you belong?

When you are presumed to be inherently different from the father who gave you life and the son whose life you brought forth, where do you belong?

Two languages have existed in my brain since birth so I know what it is to conceptualize the world and myself through more than one tongue.

I was born and spent the first 10 months of my life in La Paz, Bolivia.

I grew up in New York City, spending nearly every summer with my maternal family in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

The skyscrapers, subways and stress of New York City are as familiar to me as the gentle wind, Guayas river and ancestral landmarks of Guayaquil are.

I have ancestors who escaped the Holocaust.

And who survived slavery.

Ancestors who were displaced from their homes.

And who claimed foreign land as their own.

My curls hark back to Eastern Europe.

My lips to West Africa.

My eyes to the Runas, originally from East Asia.

My hue to Southern Spain.

I am the product of all of them.

I have lived a life having to explain or defend my very existence, having to justify that I am who I say I am.

After a lifetime of explaining, defending and justifying, a lifetime living between languages, cultures and worlds, I have come to understand where I belong.

I belong nowhere.

But I also belong everywhere.

Global Citizen.