Throughout my life, I have encountered many choices that are no different from the ones facing every other person on this earth. Each day I encounter decisions that must be made: choices concerning minor things, such as what to eat for lunch, to major decisions, such as what I wish to do with my life and my education. Each choice affects others, whether we see it now or not. And each choice I encounter has a time limit on it, a due date to make.

What college will I attend: Due April 30th, 2014

What will I do with my summer: Due sometime before the school year ends

What will I do this weekend: (Let’s be real) 9 pm, Friday

I have seen deadlines for all of these choices, except for one choice in my life I have yet to make. I was born to two amazing parents, both supportive, both my rock, one Polish, the other Black. In my eyes, they are no different. They are my parents, they love me. Who cares what they look like and, in extension, what I look like?

Questions from strangers and friends alike have come my way more and more often as I have grown older, asking, “What are you?” or “Why don’t you act black?”

Standardized tests in elementary school stared up at me with their blank bubbles, asking me to choose what I see myself as. I have encountered others who have attempted to decide the answer to this question for me (“You look black, so therefore you are”) and others that have decided, without even expressing it, through their treatment of me. This choice I have been asked to make has been a question that I still cannot confidently answer.

I take pride in both sides of myself. I take pride in the rich histories that flow through me. Holiday meals range from kielbasa to chitlins. Family stories touch on the segregated United States to work camps in Poland. I am lucky to be able to take both of these identities as my own.

As I think more and more about this decision, I see that I do not have to choose. This is the power of choice. I have the option to not choose. That is powerful.

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