My life of Imposter Syndrome: Being Two Ethnicities

Hello, me again. It’s Hispanic Heritage Month! Yay! This is the month where we celebrate Hispanic culture and history! Through this month we learn about the importance of Hispanic Heritage in the United States.

Although this is fun and all, I always feel a little excluded. Because I’m not just Hispanic, I’m also Middle Eastern. So does my heritage count? Do I get to celebrate that too? 

Growing up I always felt I had to be both my cultures at the same time in the same amounts for me to be both. I had to act Lebanese to be considered Middle Eastern and I had to act Panamanian to be considered Hispanic. I didn’t know who I was and what I was. 

When people would ask me, “So what are you?” and I would answer. “Oh so you’re not like fully Hispanic/Middle Eastern.” Those words are hard to hear. 

Growing up mixed is hard, I had so many identity crises because I didn’t fit in. I didn’t feel Lebanese enough to hang out with the Middle Eastern kids, and I didn’t feel Panamanian enough to hang out with the Hispanic kids. When I tried to make friends with them, they’d always bring up the fact that I’ll never “fully” be Hispanic or Middle Eastern. Even though I can relate to their experiences, I understand culture and I speak the languages. It doesn’t matter because my bloodline is mixed.

And I felt like I didn’t belong, that I couldn’t celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. I felt like I didn’t have a home, that I don’t have enough of either culture to belong. That I’m half of each but that doesn’t mean I can claim either. 

I always had these talks with my mom about who I am and what my identity, she is the person to guide me through this process of claiming my culture and who I am. And she would always tell me “You are not half and half, you are both.” 

I’m not half-Lebanese and half-Panamanian. I am both fully at the same time at all times. 

Sometimes I bring out either part more than the other depending on where I am and what I’m doing. But that doesn’t take away both parts of me. 

Coming to Mason really helped me find the courage to switch from saying “I’m half and half” to saying “I am Lebanese and I am Panamanian.” I equally and fully both. 

To all my mixed girls out there celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month this year, You are fully Hispanic/Latina and no one can take that away from you.