Somewhere between a point and a line

Fractals are about the complex dimensions that lie between the dimensions we acknowledge. A point, a line, a plane, an object…

I live between the dimensions in many ways.

The NYC vaccine portal asks race and ethnicity questions for eligibility purposes. It’s the first form I’ve ever filled out that had the option “multiracial” on it.

I’ve never been able to check that box before.

Me, looking at the multiple choice question of “what are you” incites the same bewilderment and anxiety that most people have when trying to prove they are not robots to enter websites.

I feel like I’m defusing a bomb.

Checking the multiracial box feels so much better and yet I still have to deal with other people not understanding why I would even do that instead of choosing white. It’s so interesting to me how easily white people want to claim me and how they forget I am not white.

And yet again I have to deal with my own imposter syndrome. “Is it alright to claim this?” I ask. Have I struggled the way others with undeniable deviation from the white ideal do? No. Not in obvious ways. But I deal with it.

The matter of ethnicity plays into these questions. When I have to answer that question and the options are “Hispanic” or “Chicano” I feel the ignorance of the questionnaire maker. Hispanic is my language designation. I come from a Spanish speaking, or Hispanic, culture. Chicano is a political and cultural designation. I can’t claim that struggle. I’m Latino/a/x.

These things are important and irrelevant. For a lot of people, they fill the questionnaires out without a second thought. But for me, they are difficult.

I’m used to it. My name didn’t even fit on the SAT forms. It sent a subtle but poignant message: college was for people with more common, less vowely names. They didn’t leave room for me.

My complexity is what makes me me. I can see others and allow them to unfold in ways they aren’t used to because I give them room to explore their complexity without posturing.

Tell me who you are, not who you need to be. Show me the depth, the nooks, the crannies, the lock boxes where you hide your soft belly. I will hold it. I will honor it. I will see you and give you the opportunity to see yourself. Your job is to take that gift and give others the gift of being seen too.

This is how things are done.

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