"I Am Who I Am"

October 7, 2007
By Saba Boradeh-Hamedy, Los Angeles, CA

I am from platters of rice and tons of kabob
Salads and stews, pastries that plump
Tea always on the kettle, kitchen is never dull
“Are you hungry?” everyone asks, and even if the response is no,
you’ll be fed you until you are way past full.

I am from mom and dad, aunts, uncles, cousins too.
I have 2nd, 3rd, 4th to name a few.
Loud sounds of laughter buzz around the room
Hazy hookah smoke drifts out the balcony door
People dance to a foreign voice blasting from speakers on the floor
We listen to the rhythm and stomp to the beat
There’s a rumble in the house, happiness not defeat.

I am from mustaches, beards, headscarves, jihad
Mosques, prayers, beads and Koran.
Terrorist is just a label from unfamiliar crowds.
American-Iranian and I am proud.

I am from sparkling ocean water, the sunny California coast
Lazy Sundays, BBQs, pop culture and holiday hoax.
I am from government “made by the people for the people”
4th of July, Columbus day, politics and media that has their way
From “the land of the free and home of the brave”
I am from a nation built on a lie,
All this developed over time.

I am from Santa Monica,
S- A- M- O- H- I.
Viking pride!
I am from the overachievers, slackers, outcasts,
AP Exams, SAT/ACTs and all that.
I am from college essays and extra curriculars galore
from the pressure to do great and the need for more.

I am who I am, built by this background
I live my life independently, trying not to frown.
I am me, just another voice from the crowd.

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