I Didn’t Feel Good About Embracing My Identity Until I Got Therapy

Anyone who was not living under the rock for the last few years would know that one of the most significant issues up to this day was racial discrimination. I had no idea how it started, but minority groups practically got tired of being bullied by others one day and decided to rally for their rights. That was especially true for African-American people, who had dealt with slavery for centuries.

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The thing was, when I was growing up; I did not feel discriminated against at all. It must have something to do with my growing up in a primarily black community in Alabama. A lot of kids – including myself – happened to be a product of biracial marriages. There were also a handful of white people in the area, but they were married to African Americans, so there was never any tension whenever they were around.

However, when I was 13 years old, my father accepted a job in New York as a theater director. He was required to be in the city for 360 days a year, so my parents decided to move as a family and leave our little pocket of heaven in Alabama.

Seeing Racial Discrimination First-Hand

During my family’s relocation, I was still naive about racial discrimination. Everyone in the new apartment complex that we moved into was nothing but sweet and pleasant. Some even helped us carry our stuff into the building and told us to knock on their doors whenever we needed anything.

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When I attended the local middle school, though, the first thing I saw was a bunch of teenagers ganging up on a small black kid. They were calling him “Inky” and other derogatory names that I had never heard of in my life. That made me stop in my tracks and worry that I might get the same treatment. To my surprise, no one bothered me at all.

I told my mother about what I saw, and she could not answer me for a few minutes. When she did, Mom told me carefully that it might be because I did not look like a typical African American since I was biracial. I had curly hair, but it was not coarse or thick. I did not have creamy white skin, but it was not darker than honey. In those bullies’ eyes, I might look like I just got a tan.

How It Affected My Mindset

In fear of getting bullied, I hid it from many people at school because I identified as black. It was pretty easy because my father’s job kept him from sending me or picking me up from school. Everyone only saw my mother, and she was white, so no one suspected that I was part of a minority group on that side of New York.

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This little white lie of mine – ironically and literally speaking – came to an end when dad surprised me one afternoon. I had no idea that he would pick me up that day. If I did, I would have faked an illness so that no one would see him. So, when I stepped out of the gate and saw my father waving at me, I pretended not to see him and walked away with my friends.

You could imagine my friends’ shock when dad jumped in front of me and hugged me. I saw one of them was about to scream, probably thinking that there was a pedophile on the loose, but I was quick to tell them to relax since it was my father. Once they calmed down, someone half-whispered, “Did you know Sam’s dad was black? I thought she was Latina all the way.”

My father obviously heard that comment because I saw his nose scrunch up a little, but he feigned like he didn’t. When we got home, he went straight to my mother, and they talked for an hour or so. I held my breath the entire time, unsure of what punishment I would get since I realized in that instant that it was the biggest mistake I could ever make.

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Getting Therapy

When my parents came into view, I saw the disappointment in their eyes. Mom and dad made me explain why I lied about being African American. I felt sorrier than ever for what I did, but the harm had been done.

Still, instead of punishing me, my parents asked me to go to therapy since it was not okay for me to denounce my culture like that. I did it, and the therapist taught me that living a double life could get me in bigger trouble in the future if I kept it up. Not to mention, doing so would make my loved ones extremely sad because it would seem like I was ashamed of who I was.

That last bit did it for me. I stopped pretending to be someone that I was not. I also told my friends the truth, and to my astonishment, they did not care about that at all. It proved that there were still genuine people in the world despite all the harshness we tend to see daily.

Who knew that embracing my identity would feel so good?

I Hid My Identity In College And Required Therapy

I grew up in a little town called Quail in Texas. You might not have heard of the place, and I could not blame you. You could put the entire town in several blocks in the city, but we felt like it was too big for us because it only had a population of more or less 30 people by the time I was born.

Although there were several kids in town, there was no school that you could find. My parents had to apply to get me homeschooled, not to travel every day to another town to get a proper education. They also had to take turns as my teacher, which was not easy because they were busy.

Why did we not move to a town with a school, you might ask? The reason was that Quail had a lot of open lands. My parents always wanted to own a farm, and it was cheaper to do that there than anywhere else. So, even if it was challenging for them to raise a child in a secluded location, they pushed through it.

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Our family would still get some breaks from the quiet life in Quail. That typically happened during the yuletide season when we would visit my grandparents in California. We would go to Disneyland, get In-and-Out burgers every day, and do every single thing that we could not do in our little town.

When My Insecurities Began To Creep Up

I had not always been bothered by the fact that I lived in a place many people might not know of. We had a car, electricity, satellite internet, and everything else we could have asked for, so I thought that was not a big deal. However, I began to feel insecure about people knowing where I came from when I was on holiday at 15 years old.

I could still remember when my grandparents took me to a trampoline park near their home. Since I was a very active kid, they thought that I would enjoy the place. I genuinely did until I thought of talking to a group of teenage girls around my age.

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In the middle of my introduction to those girls, one of them lifted a hand to stop me. In a very snobbish way, she asked, “What kind of accent is that? Did you live in the mountains?” The girls left while laughing, and I was bolted to the ground, unsure of what to do.

Well, I had always known that I had a thick Texan accent. Everyone in my family found it endearing and said that it gave me character. But hearing others laugh because of it made me want to get rid of my accent.

Preparations For Reinventing Myself

When I got my high school diploma, I decided to go to a university in California. It was not easy for my parents to let go of me, but they knew that my life was out there. My mother even offered to help me pack my stuff, but I told her that I still wanted my room to feel the same way whenever I came back for semestral breaks.

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I did not tell my mother that I did not want to bring my things because I wanted to reinvent myself. Since I had a lot of free time as a homeschooled kid, I spent most of that watching TV shows and practically imitating how the actors talked. I sometimes surprised myself because it sounded like another person was talking instead of me.

Before the semester started, I had already decided how to introduce myself to people. I would go along the lines of, “Hey, I’m Anna! I live here in Los Angeles, but I have always been homeschooled.” I also changed the way I dressed subtly to keep my family from noticing it. For instance, I began to wear more colorful clothes and got rid of my plaid shirts.

Facing Reality

I genuinely believed that hiding my identity would be THAT easy. I had three years to prepare for it; I was more than willing to lie to people about my hometown. Then, I went to college and did that, and my efforts paid off for quite some time since I managed to mingle with the “it” people.

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But I made a fatal mistake: I invited my new friends to my grandparents’ home. We did not do anything wild, but they found out that I hid my original accent when my friends were around. That caused them to tell my parents about it, and they staged an intervention for me – with a therapist in tow.

In reality, I had no idea that my mindset was not usual. I thought everyone did everything to feel a sense of belonging somewhere. However, the therapist clarified that I shouldn’t have had to change to be likable for others. “That’s how life goes. Not everyone may not like who you are, but it does not mean that you should listen to them. If you do, you may lose yourself.”

What Did I Do?

I returned to my true self, of course. I lost some of my newfound friends along the way, but I eventually found people who liked me for me. I never had an issue with hiding my identity again.

Learning About Beaches In Florida For Your Next Family Trip

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The first time I went to a beach was when I turned 18 years old. The reason was that my parents were a little overprotective of me, their only child. Whenever they thought of the ocean, they assumed that a tsunami would occur, and the water would take me. But the older I became, the more I insisted on going to the beach until my folks eventually gave in. 

Now, I can never claim to be a beach expert, but I can tell you about a couple of beaches in Florida that your family may like.

Atlantic Beach Area

During the 1900s, Atlantic Beach was a small residential community located by the shore. Then, Henry Flagler of Florida East Coast Railway decided to construct the Mayport division of the Railway and put up a station where Adele Grage Cultural Center is presently positioned. More or less halfway between the railroad distance of Jacksonville Beach and the depot, the Continental Hotel—with approximately 300 rooms—was made. The area around it was sold to people who wanted to build their summer houses on the seaside.

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Changes took place in 1913 when Atlantic Beach Corporation, the company that bought a large portion of the land, started installing lights and sewers on the newly paved streets. When the corporation went bankrupt due to World War I, parts of the property had been resold. This time, Atlantic Beach became a real town in 1926 and finally, a city in 1957.

The city of Atlantic Beach further developed when the Matthews Bridge and the Mayport Naval Station were created and opened to the public. From then on, the inhabitants made it possible to build a water plant, a sewer plant, a fire station, a police station, and a garbage collection system–all with paid workers and the right equipment.

Overall, this city had been faring well financial-wise. They had a manager who regularly reported to the commissioners and the mayor. More than a decade ago, the commissioners saw the need to buy and develop more land for recreational purposes. So, in 1994, the Tideviews Preserve came to life. In 1998, together with Jacksonville City, Atlantic Beach City increased its parkland by acquiring Dutton Island Preserve with the Florida Barge Canals funds.

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Atlantic Beach City covers three square miles of land area and two miles of the beach. Its northern boundary was stretched out in 1987 by taking over the Seminole Beach area, while its western edge extends to the Intercoastal Waterway. Roughly 14,000 residents currently inhabit this new residential city.

Ponte Vedra Beach

Before it was even called Ponte Vedra Beach, a seaside area was not as populated as the other communities nearby. St. Augustine had been established here during the 16th century, and Juan Ponce de Leon might have seen the place, but there was not enough evidence to prove this idea.

In 1914, it was popularly known as the Mineral City because of the National Lead Company’s mining operations conducted there. With Henry Holland Buckman and George A. Pritchard at the helm, the people started recovering titanium, rutile, and zircon from the sand. These minerals’ sales were high during World War I, especially for the titanium, because it was previously used in manufacturing poison gas. However, when the war ended and the need for such minerals reduced, the National Lead Company ventured into another business. That’s when Buckman and Pritchard hired Telfair Stockton Company to develop the area.

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With the development came the necessity to change the name of the community. At that time, there was a literary piece about Spain’s Ponte Vedra Beach where the infamous Christopher Columbus was said to be born, and so Mineral City turned into the Ponte Vedra Beach.

Even with its new name, though, they had a hard time selling some parts of the land. Hence, the developers cut back initially with their asking price. As more buyers came to buy a piece of the land and build an inn there or their residential home, Florida finished constructing the road that connected St. Augustine to Jacksonville Beach. Hence, it gave the owners a lucrative idea of converting the whole place into a large resort.

In 1942, the National Lead Company sold its shares to the Ponte Vedra Beach Corporation. What has once been a small golf course has been developed into a resort that operates all year round. Some families still live permanently, but tourists frequent Ponte Vedra Beach because of its immense golf course, approximately five dozens of tennis courts, and a beautiful strip of beaches with white sand.

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Final Thoughts

Once it is safe to sunbathe or swim with strangers on the beach again, you should take your family to either place. After all, if beach newbies like us loved them, there is a high chance that you will also feel the same way.




Psychologists Approved: The Richness Of Dindigul Biriyani That Indian Students Should Never Forget

With hundreds of thousands of Indian-born students moving to the United States to study almost every year, it is possible that some of them have had to visit different psychologists during their stay. After all, making this decision entails leaving their friends for some time in hopes of having a better future. If they do not have relatives in the US, they are practically alone in a foreign country. To keep their loved ones from worrying back home, though, these students tend to put a happy front when talking to their parents, even though they may have a hard time adapting to the culture, food, and people. What they do instead is consult a psychologist who can hopefully help them cope with their new reality.

Nevertheless, based on personal experience as an exchange student, what is more, comforting than talking to a mental health expert is cooking the dishes that my mother used to make for me in the past. My creations may never be as good as Mom’s, but the idea of eating something that I grew up seeing is enough for me. It has allowed me not to miss my family too much and finish my studies.

Now, one of the dishes that I used to make is Dindigul biriyani.

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The Richness Of Dindigul Biriyani

Biryani (also known as biriyani or biryani) is a general term used to pertain to the savory rice dish from the Indian subcontinent. And similar to how there are different kinds of chocolates, shoes, and clothes, there are also different kinds of biriyanis from various parts of India.

One exceptional variation of this is the Dindigul Biriyani, which has originated more than 50 years back from Dindigul, a town within the city of Chennai in the state of Tamil Nadu. It is a non-vegetarian main course that is unlike the biryanis from Hyderabad, Calcutta, Kerala, Bombay, and Gujarat, to name a few. It does not look as elaborate as the others, to be honest. However, if there is anything that life has taught us, it is that the beauty of someone – or something, in this case – comes from deep within.

Below are some of the ingredients that make Dindigul Biryani a showstopper in its own right.

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Jeera Samba Rice

Jeera Samba is a rice variety which is commonly grown and harvested in the Southern part of India, especially in Tamil Nadu. It has shorter grain than the fragrant Basmati rice and is preferable to use for this kind of biryani. The reason is that the latter already has a distinct taste and smell due to its less starchiness. The former, meanwhile, does not taste like anything. Hence, Jeera Samba is more capable of captivating the aroma of the flavors in every grain.

Smaller Cuts Of Meat

Although several biryanis have chunks of meat (with or without bone) integrated to them, the Dindigul Biriyani contains smaller pieces of meat to give it a divergent taste. Whether you use mutton, chicken, or beef, the larger cuts will generally be more difficult to soften and get infused with different flavors. On the other hand, the spices will quickly become ingrained within the tiny cubes of meat that can melt in your as you eat. Since the meat is deboned initially for this dish, and there is not a single part of it thrown away, the plate of rice will be as good as new after you finish the food.


Whereas various biryani dishes rely heavily on curry, masala, and cardamom to spice them up, the recipe from Dindigul is not timid about using a generous amount of pepper. It can downright invigorate your body and give you extra energy to get through the day. Pepper is also an ingredient that turns the dish into a diverse food experience for biryani lovers.

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Curd And Lemon

Aside from the flaming hot taste of this rice dish, it is also famous for its tanginess. The strong acidic flavor comes from curd and lemon, which are staple constituents when creating the Dindigul Briyani. Lemon is a common citrus fruit, while the curd is far from being yogurt – another ingredient for other biriyanis. After all, the former only has one good bacteria, while the latter has two.

In Conclusion

You may try to say that the biriyani in India is much different from what you can make in the US, and that may be true. The spices are somehow fresher in your home country. You get to add other ingredients and share it with your loved ones, too. Nevertheless, your desire to have a better shot at a better life may be stronger than your dream of coming home right now. Just don’t forget the taste of Dindigul biryani so that you can feel like you’re back in your beloved country even for a short while.

Good luck!

Top Guidelines on How To Be Culturally Sensitive

There are billions of people around the world. These individuals have varying backgrounds, nationalities, cultures, and traditions. Everyone must learn how to accept and deal with these differences. Otherwise, chaos may take place, and the peace in the society may be disrupted.

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