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  • “Where are you from?” by Shemaiah Gonzalez


    I live in Seattle, Washington, USA but I never say that’s where I am from. I am from Los Angeles.

    Los Angeles is where my paternal great grandparents moved during the Great Depression as the they looked for a better life for their children. Los Angeles is where my maternal great grandmother, brought her two small girls to start a new life. She was a real life Rosie the Riveter, building airplanes during World War 2. She’d use the movie theater as her childcare until she got off work. My grandma and great aunt would watch films and eat popcorn for dinner after school for 25 cents until she got off work.

    Los Angeles is where I learned to love other cultures as I ran through childhood with kids who didn’t look like me. Los Angeles is where my younger sister taught me how to ride a bike by holding on to the back, steadying it, being my training wheel. Los Angeles is where I learned to love the arts, escaping to films, museums, or listen to music any way I could. Los Angeles is where I hung out with a quiet and mysterious boy in high school who would one day become the man who would marry me at Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral.

    I’ve left Los Angeles to start my own life, my own family, my own home. Often someone will interrupt our conversation to say, “You aren’t from around here are you?” It’s that obvious. Los Angeles is as much a part of who I am as my own skin. It will be always be where I am from.

    Shemaiah Gonzalez is a freelance writer who holds a B.A. in English Literature and M.A. in Intercultural Ministry. She thrives on moments where storytelling, art, and faith collide. A Los Angeles native, she now lives in Seattle with her husband and their two sons.