Hyphenated Identity

This piece reflects the dilemma of all the immigrants who have a hyphenated tag to their identity- reflecting their ethnicity and the country they (or their ancestors) immigrated to- eg. Indian-American

Have a unique identity, I am told

Be your true self, be authentic, be bold

But what am I supposed to do

When my hyphenated identity is confusing to you?

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I am expected to switch constantly

Between the two sides of my hyphenated identity

Depending on the need of the situation

I am expected to change colors like a chameleon

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Sometimes I’m confused, which side to display

Leaning towards one or the other can sway

My experience of the moment from positive to negative

This is a constant conundrum through which I live

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Halves of me I try to project as whole

Sometimes it feels like impersonation to my soul

I struggle with being authentic, being true to my form

My hybrid hyphenated identity does not with expectations conform

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The two sides of the hyphen represent

An amalgamation of two cultures, two languages, two accents

I am that hybrid, that amalgam, you see

Let me stay true to this identity

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