When people ask me where I am from, I have to put on my happy face and ask some clarifying questions. Like- What does your question really mean? What information are you really looking for?
- Did you want to know where I grew up?
- What does grow up mean to you? childhood years or teenage years?
- Where you looking to figure out where I was born?
- Where did I move to Portland from?
Each one of these questions has a different answer. Language is important.
Usually I start by saying. I moved to Portland from Austin, Texas. Then they usually say- oh you grew up in Austin.
Wait? What? I said I MOVED here from Austin.
I grew up in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Then they think I was born in Colorado.
I was born in San Francisco, California
Spent half of the childhood years and 3/4 of my Senior year of High School in the Bay Area.
I realize this question is meant as a friendly conversation starter however I find it painful.
After all the answers- this question comes.
Did you move around so much because your family was in the military?
oh no… another innocent question is about to open a can of worms….
No, we moved a lot because I had a dysfunctional family – I say with a smile to ease the tension.
I don’t really have any family per se. I have never met my Dad. Well that’s what it feels like anyway. I did see a picture of him holding me when I was about 18 months, my only half-sister passed away and my biological mother is dangerous to my happy life so I don’t talk to her nor have I for a very long time.
I wish society would come up with some other basic questions to get to know each other. Pronto. It’s quite possible that this question serves to constantly remind me that I am not like everyone else and to be comfortable with that. I can relate to orphans more than anyone else. Next question please.