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  • Magdalena Chauca

Half of me

Updated: Apr 5

It can feel quite lonely knowing there are people out there being represented or fighting for representation, with the knowledge that there’s something different about me and my heritage. A part of me that I haven't been in a position to learn about or experience. I didn’t grow up with my Father’s Peruvian quirks or traditions, so there was half of my education in my family history and things culturally significant to me... lost. Seeing others who are able to make connections with groups of people, carve out a place for exploring self-discovery and have an audience invested in their stories - it can create a pang of pain and longing. I’m not saying anyone should change how their navigating that landscape or way they express themselves, I think it’s amazing that such varied stories can be shown on stage and screen. But I’m not sure if anyone realises there are those of us who really don’t have a group they can identify with. There are some of us out there who are bi-racial, and haven't had either part of themselves flourish. Maybe it’s just me who feels this way, I don’t know. But I don’t just feel like a kiwi - I know half of me comes from another place. (I'm made most especially self-aware of it when people ask me questions like "where are you from?!") I have no real knowledge, memory or understanding of that other place I come from. I know I can make it easier on myself by getting my ass over there and visiting the family I still have over there ASAP, but there is also the financial burden emotional maturity that comes (and is necessary), when being the one to make that decision. I’m just taking the time to acknowledge that, sometimes, I do feel there was something I missed out on. And I’m okay without it, but it doesn’t mean I don’t think about the elements of it that suck sometimes. I’d love to have been able to grow up bi-lingual and now be fluent in Spanish. I'd love to have another whole side of a family to turn to for advice and wisdom. And to have all the elements of Peruvian culture ingrained in my own habits and education - the dancing styles, the cooking traditions, the linguistic and social nuisances. I miss it not because I knew it, but because I know it’s something I could’ve had integrally part of my life from the beginning... and now there are times it seems like just such an alien idea.

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