Jun Dishes

verb/diSH/ : food or sex or gossip or fiction in real life

On the Edge

By Guest Blogger: Ryan Strange, 19 years old, from East Granby, CT. He just graduated from Westminster School, a small preparatory school in Simsbury, CT, and will attend Bowdoin College in the fall. He lives with his niece, two loving parents, is a fanatic of hockey, reading, and music.

Ryan Strange

I’m right on the edge…elated and scared shitless.

I’m neither going to tip and free-fall just quite yet, nor can I back up into more comfortable territory. I just graduated high school, and I’m heading to college in the fall. I know that things will be different, and it’s starting to hit me gradually, each day. Quite frankly, this time I have right now I’ve been using to reflect on who I am and who is around me.

I’m starting to appreciate my parents like never before. I did appreciate them before, but now I feel more deeply for them. Both of my parents are retired Correctional Officers and that is how they met…so yes, they literally met each other in prison.

My mom worked 26 years as a Corrections Officer while my dad finished with 28 years, overseeing all 18 prisons in the state of Connecticut. My mother is black, and my father is white. I am the product of them, and this is my first time discussing this personally in writing.

I believe that my parents’ occupations allowed them to share some level of “normalcy” when “them” together was not normal in so many people’s eyes. People stared and people talked, and there’s been backlash that sometimes hurt my parents’ marriage. That backlash from others has also hurt and hindered me before, from being myself, because I was afraid of what others would think of me. Not only just about who I am in skin color, but much deeper in who I am as a person.

I remember when I was 10 years old playing hockey, and all the parents on the team would just talk constantly about my parents’ marriage. It was some sort of circus attraction to them. I stayed on the team as long as I could, but eventually left because it got so bad.

I realize as I write this that I’m so grateful I’ve came to a place where I know the past has no effect on what I can do now. For a long time it was burdensome…a weight on my shoulders that was hard to shake off. My parents still together, today, helped me see that as well. I am so proud of them.

To any parent in a mixed-race marriage or with a child who is of mixed race, I’d like to say: Love can go a long way. Your child will be confused when people question who they are as a person, and it will hurt. Your love will bring them back to a place of knowing everything will be all right. That might sound cliché but it is the truth.

As I’m writing this now, my thoughts are moving hastily as my dad is calling me to help him in the yard and I’m still thinking about what I’m going to do for a job…still thinking about that girl, and hoping the Bruins are going to win this game tonight against the Blackhawks. I am on the edge, not falling over yet nor can I jump back. I feel replenished, and ready. Indeed I am ready. I thank everyone who took the time to read this.

Here’s to the future.

Cheers,

Ryan

P.S. I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m one of the youngest writers who submitted in this Guest Blog series, and probably the most nervous. But that shouldn’t matter…Jun said it best in her email, “Ryan…I don’t think it matters how old you are as long as you can write.”

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21 comments

  • Anastasia on June 23, 2013 at 9:46 am said:

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    I agree with Jun! It doesn’t matter how old you are — but I can tell you that you don’t write like any 19 year old I’ve ever known. This was FANTASTIC! A great read and something I think you need to keep on doing!

    You’re a great writer, thank you for sharing something so personal with us, and keep up the great work!!

  • Sorry about the loss to the Blackhawks tonight. Not really, though. As a die hard Habs (first Oilers though) fan, I’m rooting for Boston to lose the cup. If you can get past that, I’d like you to hear the rest of what I have to say.

    Biracial Is Beautiful. Ha. I mean it though. Because, Halle Berry. But more because it’s testament to love in its purest form: love for love, and period. It’s why race shouldn’t matter. It’s why sexual preference shouldn’t matter. It’s why none of the rest on the outskirts of love should ever matter. So for any and all of the moments in your life where bigoted idiots were too blind to see that and the aftermath fell on you, I’m sorry. Luckily, it looks like all the bigotry the world might have to offer hasn’t scathed you.

    Loved your post. Wish you nothing but the best. Fuck the bigots.

  • Jun Song on June 23, 2013 at 11:49 am said:

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    I agree Anastasia! Ryan is a talented writer despite his youth. This piece really hit me and I’m happy to share it with everyone.

    Shea…seriously. FUCK the bigots. We live on :)

    Ryan…your first time sharing such personal thoughts and you did it beautifully…

  • Wow! Ball park – ball – hit it out of! I’ll bet this blog was quite cathartic. That’s what writing can be. I look back at old journals and papers written in my teens and early twenties and realize that had I not written my thoughts out on paper, they would have festered into a knot in my being that would eventually explode. It was my way of coping and it helped me to see solutions to my life’s problems. By sharing your thoughts with us, you are helping yourself to solve yours, and hopefully showing others that things they say and do in front if kids can and do have profound effects on the person that fhild grows into. I’m so happy for you, that your parents found each other and that they have taught you that love can conquer all. Keep writing. I can tell you have more to say.

  • Great job, Ryan! You are a brave and loving young man. And a true testament to the love of your parents. If you haven’t yet please show them your blog. It will bring tears of pride to their eyes. GO BRUINS – says the die hard Red Wings fan!!

  • Nice blog! Good job! My son was adopted into a bi racial marriage..although its white/indian (very dark ) ppl are non the less ignorant. Stay true to yourself!

  • Ryan you will go far in life. How lucky you are to have such wonderful loving parents. Look forward to reading more of your experiences. Thank you for sharing something so personal. I wish you the best.

    Thanks Jun! Another great guest blogger! Have a wonderful time on your holiday.

  • Great job, Ryan! You spoke your truth and at 19, that is a beautiful thing. The things you’ve been confronted with during your short lifetime should serve you well in the future. The best gift was seeing your parents’ love. Your awareness of the challenges they faced seemed to mature you quicker than your peers. I wish you much success in your future. Thanks for sharing and keep on writing.

  • In life, you will learn that age is just a number. You will meet some of the oldest souls in the youngest bodies, and some of the most young at heart in the form of a blue hair. It’s not about how old you are, it’s about life experiences and how they help to shape and form you.

    Thank you for writing such a beautiful piece. Your experiences give me a glimpse of what my girls might (though I pray not) experience outside of our home. While I would like to think that we’ve made a lot of progress and come far in acceptance, there are those few that I never want my girls to come in contact with. While being in a bi-racial relationship may be the norm here in Toronto, I only need to drive north an hour to see that ignorance still lives.

    Enjoy the edge. It’s one of the most wonderful places to be. When you decide to go over, I have a feeling that you’ll soar and do wonderful things.

    Keep writing, you do it beautifully.

  • I always thought he was a remarkable kid but I am ever so convinced of it by his day to day progression into the stellar man he has become! Bloggers, he was gifted from birth; receiving the best parts of both his parents that makes him whole and behemoth in his convictions. Proud is the operative word to describe my thoughts and position; as I see him stand knowing that through all the calamity…they have done it right…they created you…love perpetuated…love personified! Love you nephew!

  • Shannon on June 23, 2013 at 9:42 pm said:

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    I loved this!!! You are a great writer. Your writing hit home for me because I’m white & my ex-husband is black. We have two boys age 7 & 13. We’ve had looks,comments & the usual is that your mom when they see me come to class to volunteer. You have good advice & helped me see it from teen/child perspective. Thanks!!

  • I read this this morning before work and thought it was just great! I was thinking all day about it. We live close and yes Hockey is more of a “white ” sport but I was still kinda shocked to hear what you and your family had to deal with. I am so glad you shared this because I live in a world that is so differant. My 3 children have cousins from mixed racial marriages, 2 adopted from China, My brother has a head injury so they are used to being around the disabled. My daughters best friend is half Asian and her mother and I hit it off. My son’s best friend is Autistic and he thinks Noah is the smartest kid he knows. They love writiing and doing math stuff. I work with the elderly and they come visit them and do puzzles and talk and play checkers. I realized this is the NORM for my kids, for us and I felt so sad to know you felt this way or your parents had to deal with just stupid ignorance. I also felt so grateful to have been dropped in such a open life w/ my family and jobs and community. I hope your words open eyes for all.
    BTW: I had two male Nannies. They were our favs. And we have a cat named Stanley we got two years ago when the Bruins won the Stanley cup. Kids thought dad would let us keep her if we named her that.
    Best of luck to you in the fall. Thanks again for sharing.
    Cat

  • Ryan: I enjoyed your blog. I live in Canads, and there are bigots here like every where, I never knew this was an issue. I grew up in a predominately white and Italian coomunity in the 80’s and was not exposed to other cultures until moving to the BIG CITY. I actually remember meeting my “first” bi-racial couple and thinking wow! But only becasuse of my naivety. I can’t imagine growing up and having other people’s feelings and judgement thrust upon you.

    I takes a strong person to go with there heart and be brave to move forward against closed minded community. Its really the only way to open people’s minds. You are the product of two such people and it sows in your writing. Its alright to fear the unknown, to jump with little or no knowledge of what the future could possibly hold. Good Luck to you!

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