Identity-An Act in 3 Scenes

Scene 1-Assumptions

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Senior Pictures, 2011

Because of my tan and round features, I’ve often been mistaken for Hispanic. I can’t say I blame them, since I do look similar to the girl of Hispanic origins right next to me. But just because I have tan skin, a round face and nose, and brown hair, doesn’t mean I am Hispanic.

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My Asian friends and I in a selfie circle, 2011

For some reason, I would sometimes be mistaken for Chinese, or at the very least, half Chinese. Is it the roundness of my face? The  apparent “yellowness” of my skin? Or perhaps the fact that all of my friends were of Asian descent?

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In Darmstadt, Germany, with my very German friends, who look stereotypically German. 2010

“Oh, you speak German? So you’re German?”  This question stupefies me, because I don’t think I look remotely “German”—blonde hair, blue eyes. But in a way, I suppose this means that people are starting to accept that more and more nationalities are made up of different races and ethnicities.

Scene 2-Background

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The most American I’ll ever be with this selfie.

I was born and raised in the United States of America, Land of the Free, the Melting Pot. Once in Italy, I told an Italian that I was from America and he said, “You mean South American right?”  He was shocked when I explained that I was from the U.S. Because, with my dark looks and small frame, I don’t look American-tall, fair, slim. But I’ve never felt American either. I’ve always felt out of place here because I cannot connect to its culture and traditions.

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A scene from D’Aulaires Book of Greek Mythology: The Goddess Artemis has turned Actaeon into a stag.

Statistically, I’m 25% Greek from my father’s side. I have no real connection to my Greek side, apart from 3 things-my name, music, and Greek mythology. ‘Cassandra’ —inspiring love, helper of mankind. A beautiful princess who saw the future and no one believed.  Greek folk music makes me feel its drama and passion, though I don’t understand the words. My love of Greek mythology stems from when I first started reading; its wild and transformative stories made sense to me.

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A young me in traditional Romanian garb, circa 2000.

My parents immigrated from Romania to the U.S. in the 80s. Growing up, I spoke only Romanian to my parents and grandmother and learned to read and write it. I ate only Romanian food. But it wasn’t until I was 13 that I finally visited Romania, a country few know about. And I felt so out of place there, because to my Romanian relatives, I was “too American.” Ah, the irony.

Scene 3- Identity

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A small sample of my library. Much like it, I am also extremely diverse (and entertaining!)

Rather than identifying myself as a specific race or ethnicity, I identify myself as an amalgamation of various cultures: American, Greek, Romanian, Italian, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, German, English etc. I am all of them and they are all a part of me in some way. All these cultures have formed who I am today and forever.

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My violin Solo, playing Pablo de Sarasate’s ‘Zigeunerweisen’-the composer is Spanish, the title is German, and the subject is Gypsies, a traditionally nomadic people without a home or origin.

But most of all I identify myself as an Artist-a musician, a drawer, a photographer, and a writer. I love music, I love singing, and playing violin.  As was once said, Music is the vernacular of the soul. With music, I can convey my own emotions and state of being. I am what I play. 

Photo of a Statue in Washington D.C.

In my photography, I try to identify the beauty, strangeness, mystery, drama, and above all, uniqueness of the object. I take tons of pictures of the same object from different angles, to see things in other ways, trying to show people a new side to what they already know.

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A sample of my more recent and experimental work.

Art, or drawing that is, is something I’ve been doing for a very long time. I admit, my skills aren’t stellar, and I could use some improvement. But like myself, all of my figures are characters without an established identity.

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A recent poem of mine, analyzing the meaning and identity behind my name and namesake.

I do enjoy all forms of Art, but my favorite has to be writing. I am not what I am, but what the reader perceives me to be. For, in writing, my identity is not certain, not tangible-I can be anything I choose to be. I can be everything, and at the same time, I can be nothing at all. 

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One comment

  1. I’m glad to see that you did not let others assumptions get the best of you. In the end only your perception of yourself matters. As an artist you have the power to create a canvas so that others can see you as you wish to be seen.

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