Sometimes you forget.
Not important things, just aesthetic properties of yourself.
I was born into a Indian family in Yonkers, New York, early one February morning. It’s never really weighed on me before, but suddenly I see how much it weighs on the people I meet. The first thing they see isn’t the image of me that I have in my mind, but an Indian woman, that probably doesn’t know English. In fact, until age 5, I didn’t.
My entire life, my English skills have been tested, my speech patterns, my writing habits. I progressed meteorically, but it wasn’t enough. By age 6 I was fluent in all Punjabi, Hindi, and English. I was in a special education class for only 6 months of my educational career. Only removed when the teacher said it was holding me back. After first grade, I never received any special treatment.
But imagine my surprise when I learned that the state of California’s educational board had required my teachers to send in a writing sample until my senior year of High School.
By then I was already on the path to becoming a full fledged writer, I had first drafts of 13 different novels under my belt and no idea I was lacking in any sort of way.
I wasn’t; but because of a six month stay in special education I was “looked after.”
Really? I had kids in my class that needed actual help and I was the one they concerned themselves with? And why English samples? Why not the catapult my Physics partner and I designed senior year? Or Math tests?
Was I special just because of who I was born to? So will my siblings and I live with the “stigma” for the rest of our lives?

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