Being a mixed-raced baby like me means you've spent your whole life trying to prove that two different or even opposing things can be true at the same time.
How can your family be composed of racists and still love you? How you can hate racism but still love them? How have they been able to set you and your sister and your brown father apart from the group they judge? Can I accept them without forgiving them?
I've been thinking about this lately, about how my hybrid identity might impact my writing and my characters. My identity, it isn't the same as living on the edge, or between two places. I'm not allowed, or afforded extremes. This has been freeing, in a way, and in other ways, it's a lonely way to navigate life where only my sister understands me, and understands what it's like to be this particular mix of French and Persian, working class and intellectual class, the byproduct of both the Quiet and the Islamic Revolution.
I don't think this feeling of hybridity is limited only to those of mixed backgrounds. Every one of us walks through life wanting things that we can't all possibly have at the same time. We want freedom, but we also want security. We want love and comfort, but we also want adventure. We want cheap clothes and cheap shoes but we also hate child labour. We want to be intelligent or beautiful in the ways that others will recognize, but we also want to be different and unique.
What I find myself gravitating towards in lots of my stories then is these opposing wants within my characters. Characters who struggle against parts of themselves in favour of other wants, or who are eventually simply paralyzed by this internal conflict. Recently I wrote a story about a young woman struggling with accepting her own happiness in love, feeling so strongly as she does the particular weight of the land underneath her feet, land she knows was stolen from First Nations communities. So then how does one build a life there and still be a good person? How does one forgive themselves for building a happy life upon stolen land?
At times, my characters, like myself, become more or less aware of these conflicting wants and desires. Nevertheless, whether in the background or in the forefront, the conflict is always present, always begging for some sort of conclusion, solace from this confusion and violence. How do you resolve something like that? How does a story? And how can a story not try to resolve something like that?