Living in the Hyphen

Living in the -hyphen- BannerWhen I was a sophomore in college, I saw a poster announcing Cuban-American author Cristina Garcia as the keynote speaker of that year’s Latino Heritage Month celebration. Her lecture was titled “Living in the Hyphen.” Naïve as I was during those critical years of my life, I didn’t know what the title meant. It was not until I asked a friend about it that I understood that the title was as befitting to me as it was to the speaker. I have been living in a hyphen my entire life, and have chosen to reinforce that hyphenated life in the most literal of ways, by hyphenating my last name after I got married. I am Chinese-Venezuelan, I am tri-lingual, I am multi-cultural. But all the grammar technicalities of proper hyphen usage aside, what the hyphen signifies to me is the multi-faceted aspects of my identity and the many worlds I live in day-in and day-out.

Fast forward a few years after college and I became deeply interested in the social phenomena of race and identity (because our definitions of race are socially attributed and constructed). I wanted to start a blog and write down my random thoughts and opinions about race, racism and racial identity. I wanted to document life through my hyphenated lenses. I wanted to call the blog “Living in the Hyphen” to pay tribute to that moment of epiphany in my life. This idea never took off, mainly because I felt that I didn’t have any authority on the topic. It never took off because I was never determined enough to push my thoughts and observations beyond what they were, just random thoughts, and document them publically on a blog. The idea of the blog never took off because, well, life happened. But given that I am a glass-half-full type of person, I like to think of the “life happened” excuse as something that gave me more to write about, because it did.

When my urge to start a blog resurfaced, I brainstormed different ideas to narrow down what I wanted the blog to be about. I wanted to write something practical and fun, something that people would enjoy reading like home décor or my DIY projects around the house, or write about fitness or my lack thereof, or write about how I have tried to tackle our family finances to become debt-free. All these ideas sounded fun, but nothing I wanted to commit to beyond one or two posts. Then one day, it hit me. Rather than writing about something trendy or worrying about what’s fun to read, I can just write about something I can talk about for days and weeks, and months. I could write about my journey as a new mom to multiracial boys. As such, I have wondered how their lived experiences would be different from mine. I questioned whether raising them to be trilingual would hurt them later on when they were in school and had to speak English. I’ve debated with my husband the kind of impact (financial, social, educational) our choices would have in their lives.

The more I thought about it, the more excited I became. I realized I could use the blog as an accountability tool to help me become a better parent as I write down my reflections of every day life. This tool could help me document my memories of the boys growing up (since I haven’t been really doing this), to reflect on my own quest to discover my identity and be better equipped to help my kids develop and discover their own. This blog could help me record the intricacies of parenthood in the modern world, and along the way inspire others to do the same and find a community of fellow multiracial parents. After all, I couldn’t just write about myself as a mother or write about my children without touching on the topics that I hold so dear in my heart – race, identity, culture, language. So in short, this is what this blog is about. My life in the hyphen as a Chinese-Venezuelan mother raising multiracial and multicultural children in the United States.

Welcome and thank you for joining me in the amazing journey!


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