I am Haitian before I am anything else. I am Haitian…but I've never been to my family's part of the country.

Except for once. When my parents decided early that I needed a connection to something automatically embedded in me, in my DNA, because it wouldn't be embedded in the world around me. when confusion got together to affect me negatively, I would be safe...

Automatically. Something that can't be dismissed by anyone, even myself.

I was baptized in Haiti. But I was born miles away from that scene

Of rebirth, forgiveness and energy.

I will forever be grateful for that moment. It was the beginning of my spiritual journey. in fact, I believe it was hard to see before that. It's something I hold onto when others try to define me and where I belong.

When others try to act concerned for my wellbeing and my roots.

"How can you claim a place you've never seen?

What connection do you have to your homeland?

Where are you supposed to be?

Can you say something in your native language for me?"

Don't tell me to disregard my parents. The immigrants. That instilled my instincts, my beliefs, everything that I was able to see and achieve

At a young age

being Haitian was all I knew how to be.

I've been to Haiti, maybe not literally or traditionally, but I've been to Haiti.

I've been to the border, where Haiti is present on both sides, unapologetically.

I've been to bateyes in the Dominican Republic, where Dominican- Haitians speak kreyol first and everyone just asks questions later.

and I visit Haiti every time I see my grandmother, my aunt, cousins, nieces, and nephew- my family tree has made it a collective effort for me to never forget where we have been, in order to appreciate where we are now.

I visit Haiti every time my mom talks to me. Every time I looked in the mirror in middle school, traced my face with my fingers, wondering where my place is in this space- why no one in my class has the same teeth, lips, and hips.

My parents did a good job at bringing me to Haiti while still living in PVD. And showing me things that would've been harder to see without them. Without my family.

I wouldn't know how to act when someone asked me

"What's your background?

Where are you from?

How do you view the world from your eyes? Seeing as you claim things you've never seen, or been before."

My parents taught me to turn the other cheek. Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, you are with me. always.

To those I've never met, those I grew up with but have now disappeared, & those that influenced me beyond compare.
I know who I am, who my parents are, I respect those on my family tree.

But now,

I see so much more & I claim so much more. My culture, homeland, & instincts soar.

From everything around me,

Everyone here is my family.

In America, I like the way I see.

I see….as a Haitian intentionally born into being affected by American history