Living the Life of A Black Sheep
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Politics and Activism

Living the Life of A Black Sheep

Hapa [hä’pä]- of mixed racial heritage with partial roots in Asian and/or Pacific Islander ancestry

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Living the Life of A Black Sheep
Chloe Fletcher

Growing up half Caucasian and half Asian is an interesting journey to say the least. I am a Quarter Filipina and a Quarter Chinese to be exact. Or as others may call it Hapa, which means a person who is partially of Asian or of Pacific Islander decent. During my life so far, I have struggled with self confidence, but after rethinking my thoughts over a long period of time, I decided it wasn’t worth it. I decided to embrace the thing that set me apart from everyone else that I knew.

On a fateful Wednesday, June 17, 1998, a petite woman with a poised personality named Desiree Fletcher gave birth to a whopping 8 pound 2 ounce baby girl. My mom and dad named me Chloe. The name Chloe sounds delicate; the meaning literally means blossoming flower. This name should be given to a girl with big blue eyes, light brown hair, a button nose, and soft pink lips. But I was the opposite. As a baby, I was chubby, clumsy, and had mop of black hair on my slightly cone shaped head. I was a real chubba-hubba. You can refer to the cover picture of this article that pictures my 1st cousin Christian on the left, and me on the right (as I am sure you could tell by my description of baby me).

Growing up in the Pacific North West meant I was growing up with all of my Dad’s family. This resulted in my brother Anders and I being black sheep. But this is not a bad thing, this is just the truth. We were the only ones with brown eyes in a sea of hazel and blue, and the only ones with black-brown hair in a sea of blonde and light brunette. Neither of us looked anything like the others, and to this day we still don’t! But nevertheless, we are all related through blood. This visual difference resulted in future complications with teachers. When my cousin Christian and I told our fourth grade teacher that we were cousins, she laughed and scoffed at us, telling us that lying was NOT okay. When we tried to explain that my dad and his mom were indeed brother and sister, she punished us for “bluffing”! That's when it dawned on me; I was different.

I wasn’t different because I was weird, I was different because I stood out in my own mind. Once I had realized that I was not like my classmates, it started to bug me. I didn’t understand why everyone else was fully committed to one culture, while I, on the other hand, had to lead a double lifestyle. I listened to my classmates speaking their various languages according to their ethnicity, and I recognized the sounds from different languages like Spanish, Korean, Chinese, and Russian. I always thought this was amazing and I was frustrated with the fact that I couldn’t speak these exquisite languages like my fellow classmates. People would always ask me the classic question, “Do you know how to speak Tagalog?” or, “Do you know how to speak Chinese?”. My answer would always be no except for the fact that I could say “stinky armpits” in Tagalog. This was always slightly embarrassing considering the fact that I have heard my Lola (Filipino Grandma) speak Tagalog many times and yet the phrase “stinky armpits” was the only one to stick with me.

I was also upset with the fact that I felt lukewarm with my culture. In the Pacific North West, I was always immersed with the Caucasian side of my family, but when I would visit California, where all of my mom’s extended side of my family lived, my life would dramatically change day and night. I would constantly be introduced to new and interesting things by my Filipino family. It frustrated me because every time I would try something new, my cousins would always exclaim, “WOW, you have never had this food? I can’t believe it! This is the best!” These type of exclamations would give me mixed emotions about myself, because I knew I wasn’t as involved with my Asian side of my heritage as much as I was my Caucasian side, considering I lived in Washington. This lead me to feel self-conscious.

In the years between my 8th grade year and my sophomore year of high school, my self-esteem was almost none existent. I made unfair assumptions, attributing my self-consciousness to the fact that I was mixed Caucasian and Asian. I used to tell myself I got the brunt of my individual races. I was very stereotypical. These were unfair assumptions for me to make, and they started to really take a toll on my life.

Also, the fact that I didn’t look quite fully white, but I also didn’t look 100% Asian took a toll on who I was as well. People would often question me, wondering what ethnicity I was, and out of curiosity I would have them guess. I would get all sorts of answers varying from Vietnamese to Native American to Hispanic, which greatly confused me because I didn’t think I looked Hispanic in any way! All of this caused me to feel lost. I truly felt like the black sheep; I felt like I didn’t belong to any certain group and that I was "just Chloe". That was when I realized something needed to drastically change.

However, as of right now, I am completely happy with who I am. Instead of pushing away my ethnicity, I have decided to embrace it with open arms. I embrace the fact that I am different, and frankly, I love it. When people ask me what my ethnicity is, I proudly tell them that I am Hapa. I have learned that at the end of the day, it is only me that can make myself happy, and gaining others approval was worthless. As long as I accept myself for who I am, it doesn’t matter to me what others think. I am special, I am different, God created me in his own image. On days where my self-esteem seems to droop a little lower, and isn’t as high as it usually is, I remember a quote I found on the internet. I don’t remember who said it, but the words have stuck with me ever since I stumbled upon it. The quote goes on to say something along the lines of, “The same God that created mountains, universes, and puppies, looked at you and decided the world needed one of you too.”

I am fearfully and wonderfully made by my Lord and Savior, and He made me in His very own image. So why should I feel self-conscious about that? If being “just Chloe” is what he made me to be, then I will gladly do that with a smile. I have happily chosen to embrace the one thing that has set me apart from all others, and I love it.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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