Who am I? Where do I come from? Why do I look this way? These are questions we ask ourselves.
People can struggle with identity for their whole lives. Trying to figure out why we were born the way we were, or what that even means.
Some people turn to family and blood to learn about culture, whakapapa, their roots. Others look in the mirror, to what's in front of them and wonder why they look the way they do. They question the color of their skin, the size of their body or their sense of style. And some identify with their community. They surround themselves with people they can relate with, have the same background or are a group of people who are there for them. People they can lean on.
But sometimes people can be negative towards you, which can cause more confusion. Making you feel ashamed of who you are, and question if you are allowed to be the person you feel you want to be.
Parents don't always understand your choice of clothing.
Or if your mixed race, people might tell you that you don't belong where your heritage lies, because you're not the right shade. They may not know your story or your journey.
They might not know that your identity should come from within. Trust the connections you make. Use your individuality to express how you truly feel, because it is not the clothes we wear or the colour of our skin that defines us, it's the way we feel inside.
It is our actions that make us who we are, and it is what our descendants will look back to find their cultural identity.