The boxes I check: Female. Age between 18–26. Asian and White and Multiracial and Other. Heterosexual. Both of my parents graduated from college. Upper class. Third generation. American citizen. Student and part-time worker. Culturally Catholic. Single. Liberal. Sociology major. Relatively tall. INFJ.

Fractured collarbone. Tendinitis. Flat feet. Permed hair. Lactose intolerant. Sertraline. Family history of cancer, psychiatric conditions, gout, diabetes, allergies.

Did you learn anything about me? What can you guess, stereotype, wonder?

Boxes I’d make up: Naive. Trusting. Emotional rollercoaster but have it together. Third culture kid. Loving. Inquisitor. Extroverted introvert. Golden Boar. Food lover. Semi-hiker or outdoorsy person. Self-reflector. Conditionally content. Racially ambiguous. Leader. Family obsidian (sounds better than black) sheep, family pleaser (to a point), animal lover, non-smoker, imaginative cook, volunteer, friend.

All of these are drops [in] the ocean that is Rachel Celeste Wahlert. Individually, none of these things means very much. Together they configure a current of what I am right now. Changing and moving along, interacting with seas; some I don’t even know are there, depths I’ve hidden away among other new discoveries. I’ve been told to find myself in college. Rather, I think I’m creating myself. I didn’t have access to a lot of experiences before leaving home.

I’ve been weaving my trust, support systems and relationships. I’ve been crying through pain and misunderstandings to grow resilience. I’ve been sculpting my style to work with the curves I’ve got, the headstrong mind inside and the fashion that people say I should wear. I’ve jumped in the water. Puddles of sourness. Cliff diving towards lakes of new experiences. Hurling into oceans of questions. I’m pretty sure I’m different even though I look the same.

You can’t shake the ideas out of my head. I may be stubborn, but I’ll drink tea with you and keep it civil. Tell me your story, and I’ll truly appreciate your trust. Where are you coming from and how did you get here? I came from the boondocks of Minnesota, the smoggy city of Shanghai, the capital of Spain, and I ended up in Medford, Mass. I was granted a loving family and resources I don’t deserve. I was born to parents that don’t look just like me, although our voices sound similar. I have an older brother who would dress me differently if he had his way but loves me and is proud of what I’ve done. They’ve seen me perform, play, grow and change.

Twenty one years isn’t enough time; although, I wouldn’t be upset if I died. All that truly matters to me is that I think that I’ve made someone’s life better and that the people I love and care about know that. I pray that they do.

This column is an extension of my thoughts. All parts of my identity affect what I know or what I perceive the world to be. It’s not the whole picture; it’s just an excerpt. This is an excerpt of me. I’m Rachel. I am what I am and that’s all that I am.


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