Liberty Ledger

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A Bridge Between Two Identities

A glimpse into my life and my heritage

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Life experiences develop everyone in their own unique way and molds them into who they are or who they want to become in life. My experiences from when I was younger have ultimately made me the person that I am today and have given me the goals that I want to accomplish in life. The road to get there was a difficult one that constantly twisted and turned for me. For as long as I can remember, I was always looked at differently based on my appearance and ethnicity. It wasn’t always a bad look that I was given from others, it was mostly out of curiosity. Sometimes, I wasn’t given the nicest looks from people I didn’t know or knew anything about me. It’s not the best feeling in the world, but those events in my life and those particular people I met helped me later on to realize why that’s not a priority for me to care about anymore.

My mom and dad come from, not only different ethnicities, but very different regions and backgrounds. My dad, who is from St. Louis, joined the Navy at age 19 and later on, was stationed overseas to Japan. This is where he met my mom when he was only 23 years old. My mom, who was 23 years old as well, fell immediately in love with my dad, who felt exactly the same about her, and from there, they got married. They were and still are very happy together, but my mom has giving up a lot from this; she left her country and a place she loved very dearly in order to come to the United States. It was a difficult transition from leaving her family, friends and her entire life behind to make way for a new life that awaited her, which included having to learn fluent English. Every time I hear this story, it amazes me how someone could leave all that behind to start fresh and make something of themselves and push through. Because no matter how much time has passed, you never forget where you came from. Her story inspires me very much seeing how strong she is and it’s helped me to overcome certain comments about assumptions on how Asians act, what our eyes look like and racist phrases/stereotypes that are constantly thrown at me, as well as people I know or close to.

People are told from a young age “to just be yourself, and everything will work out” or “be yourself; everyone else is already taken” and I always loved hearing that and how true that was. When you’re looked down on or looked at differently, you don’t really know how to be yourself. No one tells you how to be yourself or teaches you that because that’s up to you and the decisions you make. You can’t control how other people act regardless if they aren’t the most pleasant person in the world but we’re taught that that’s just life. Adapting to that life lesson was something I had to learn at a very young age, but I’m glad I went through all of that because if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be where I am in life now or know who I was today.

As I began to grow up, I learned that I shouldn’t let one comment about me or my appearance affect what I hope for myself. Now, when I hear certain comments about my ethnicity, it’s not such a big deal to me because I realized that I shouldn’t take myself so seriously and other people’s opinions because it’s not my top priority at the end of the day or what I care about most. My parents and my brothers were a big role in teaching me this, because I was so fixated on what others thought of me that I overthought everything and little by little, it began to get to me. My family and its history is something that I should be proud of because I love hearing how my parents met and how everything fell into place for them.

These racist comments and stereotypes aren’t going to impact me in a negative way as I thought they would. In fact, they make me stronger than I anticipated and that’s something that I carry with me throughout life, regardless of the obstacles that I have to face and overcome about my heritage and life. In general, I came to the realization that I’m proud to be half Japanese and half white but it doesn’t define me as a person or what I represent in this world. Like many others, I make my own choices and the future that lies ahead waiting for me, and that’s the sincerity I had to discover along the way and recognize despite what I’m told about “who” I am or “how” I should see myself.  

About the Writer
Alyssa Bailey, Assistant Editor-in-chief Ledger magazine

Alyssa is a junior this year and it’s her second year in publications. She’s very excited about this year and what’s to come for the Ledger. She’s getting involved in more clubs and activities such as The Nest, ASC, the Thespians troupe and Link Crew. Outside of school, she enjoys being with her friends and taking spontaneous road trips with them; she also enjoys going on hikes and creating art. She hopes to participate in some art shows this year and see where that takes her. She loves to write in school and outside of school, and hopes to pursue a career in journalism after high school.

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