I clearly remember having this conversation with my parents:
Little Priya: Mom & Dad, I'm not 50% Indian and 50% Finnish.
Dad: Oh you're not?
LP: No! I'm 100% AMERICAN!
So, there, for anyone who says I'm not patriotic. I would like to add to this that for my first audition EVER, (age 9) I sang "God Bless America". I also have a pair of patriotic socks and a hair bow.
Throughout my life, I've grown accustomed to people asking me, "What are you?", along with people speaking Spanish to me, people not believing me when I say I'm half-white, and checking "other" or "ethnic" or "mixed" when I'm filling out a form (which makes me feel like 1) an alien, 2) a hair type and 3) a cocktail, in that order).
Here's what I'm getting at: these days, I love the cultures that I am a part of. I can't get enough. I can't have enough Finland pins, or India t-shirts, or vocab from either country, or generally, pride, for either of those places. And I wish more than anything I had been taught another language growing up, so I could be bilingual (or TRILINGUAL like some people I know, Andrea, looking at you).
But it wasn't always this way. Growing up, I really didn't want to be different from other kids. I especially didn't want to have parents that celebrate different holidays and listen to music that I couldn't understand. I wanted my parents to have the same views as my friend's parents when it came to "American things" (dating, sleepovers, Halloween, junk food, MTV, to name a few).
Maybe it was when I went away to college that I began to appreciate the way my parents are. And miss my mom's "Finnish sayings" and my dad's pronunciation of the word "tomato" and singing songs in Malayalam really loud and not liking cheese. I miss them a lot these days. And my whole family, really.
And sure, there are days when I wish I had blonde or red hair, and freckles (I've always wanted freckles! I would get really jealous of my sister growing up because she sometimes had like 4 freckles #ethnicprobz) but then I realize, why not be happy being me? No matter how I feel about it, it's not going to change, so I may as well embrace the cray Indian hair and Finnish nose with a dimple (thanks Ma) and everyone thinking my name is "Bria" or "Preya" or "Priba" or whatever (when I played when I was younger, my name was always 'Emily' not joking, not trying to kiss-up to my housemate. I just wanted a normal American name).
So maybe it's taken me 21 years, but you know what? I love being me. I'm 100% Findian.
Here's my advice to you: no matter what you do, you are 100% you, so why not rock the hell out of it?
Let me know you've read this so I can encourage you further!