Where are you from?

I’m sure you’re familiar with this dynamic. Someone asks someone else where they are from only to have them launch into a monologue about the city they were born in, where they were raised, where they call home now, and the country their parents moved here from.

Why do we ask this question and assume simple answer? Who is from just one place? Who can distill their entire essence into one geographical location and satisfy the almighty question?

I’m from Missouri. St. Louis, Missouri. And I’m from much more than that, too.

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Where you are from?

 

I am from a moment of creation.

I am from a long chain of people, mostly white, who’ve spoken many languages

I am from curly hair and olive skin and cancer

I am from dinner at the table—or in front of the T.V.

I am from one house that hasn’t changed much in the 23 years it’s been ours

I am from a woman who cares for other women and the babies of those women in moments of new existence

I am from hot, muggy swingsets and birthday crafts

I am from moles. Many moles

I am from a man so much like myself it makes me question the limits of nature

I am from years without children but only months without marriage

I am from Halloween decorations and Christmas box advent calendars

I am from an example of a sister

I am from the front seat of the car, but only after I turned 12 and only on odd dates because hers were even

I am from trips to museums and trips to other places and trips down the scary basement stairs

I am from many moments of creation