Reflective Essay: I Am Puerto Rican

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Growing up, I never thought it was strange, as a fair-skinned girl with blonde hair and green eyes, to identify herself as Puerto Rican. Granted, I only lived on the island for the first three years of my life and I was never your average girl. Even so, no one ever mentioned that my physical attributes were not those of your typical Latina. While I still lived on the island, people stared at me because I was unique, not because it was impossible to believe that I am Puerto Rican. However, once I moved to Connecticut many adults would stare and question my nationality. As a four year-old girl I would giggle, politely correct them, and continue about my day, but as I got older and continuously faced the same situation, the way I viewed myself changed.
I grew up in a very small, predominantly white town known as East Granby. I love my home town, but the reality is that it is very closed off from the rest of the world. When I moved here at the age of seven, most kids in my grade, or even in my entire school had no idea Puerto Rico existed, let alone that it is an island, or a U.S. commonwealth. I had previously lived in Manchester, where many kids had some sort of Puerto Rican
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I would brush it off and laugh with them, but on the inside I had never been more insecure or vulnerable. I grew to hate the way I looked and began to struggle with my identity. I knew for a fact that I am Puerto Rican, it is written on my birth certificate, yet, knowing that I grew up in the states and looked nothing like my direct family members, with the exception of my father, caused me to doubt myself. Everything I had ever known suddenly became invalid. My struggle continued for years. At one point, I stopped telling people that I was Puerto Rican. I was so ashamed of how I looked, that I went out of my way to hide my nationality. I felt alone and
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