Cypriot | Jamaican

I identify as Black British and Greek Cypriot. And although at times I feel disillusioned with being British, I would fight anyone that tries to tell me I’m not. Both my parents were born and raised in London. My Mum’s parents are from Jamaica and my Dad’s, Cyprus. So, I’m told they met in my Grandad’s video shop on Seven Sisters road in Tottenham, where my Dad used to work. When I was about 7/8, we moved from London to a town in Derbyshire and I went from a school that was so ethnically diverse, I don’t think a single race made up a majority, to a school that was entirely White. For the first time I realised that I was Black! Obviously, I had always known that, but I had never realised that it actually meant something to people. Growing up in a very small, White town inevitably shaped the way that I think and feel. Previous to moving to there, I don’t think I’d ever been made to feel so aware of all the things that make me different. I could go through waves of self-consciousness and hate my looks or my body, but never my heritage. That’s something I’ve always embraced and been endlessly proud of, regardless of other people’s ignorance.

When people talk about being mixed, they often refer to it as being in between multiple cultures without really belonging to any. I suppose I’ve struggled with these feelings too, but I always found that it was White people that made me feel like that. People have questioned my ‘Blackness’, based on their own assumptions of what makes someone ‘Black’ - if you don’t fit someone else’s stereotype, then you don’t belong to that culture. It’s a toxic mentality. But I’m lucky to have the friends and family that I do, I’ve never felt out of place with them. I think I’ve got a very strong sense of self, and I wouldn’t tolerate anyone in my social circle that tried to make me feel like I didn’t belong. Being mixed is a blessing, it’s given me multiple perspectives to view the world from and I wouldn’t wish to have it any other way. If I was born again, I’d want to return as the same person. Only I would be more outspoken from a young age, and not lose my voice in unfamiliar crowds. See full story on our website #mixedracefaces