Why do people ask where are you from? What does it matter? Does where you are from define who you are?
I was talking to a lady who defines herself as a “military brat.” She has a really hard time with this question. She’s lived in many places. Does it mean where she was born? Or where she grew up? Or where her parents live now? These are all different places, and there are many other places that she has lived as well. None of them really are “home.”
I think people ask because they are trying to pigeonhole you. As if all people from a certain place are the same. How is this not some unnamed “-ist” thing? It isn’t racist, or sexist, but it certainly is along those lines. It is saying that you are in a group, and you aren’t an individual.
Then again, how long do you have to live in a place before you can say you are from there? I’ve lived in Nashville for nearly 15 years. I grew up in Chattanooga. So where am I from? I chose to live here. Shouldn’t that count?
People ask me where I’m from and I tell them this, and then they ask where I was born. It was also in Tennessee. They are still confused. I don’t talk or look or act (in their opinion) like someone from Tennessee. The problem is, there is no such thing as a person from Tennessee talking or looking or acting a particular way. We are all different. Sure, I’m Southern. But I’m not like all Southerners, and in fact none of my friends are stereotypically Southern.
And perhaps that’s the point. People are what they are.
Is it nature or nurture, or both? Or neither?
It is like asking someone where they work or what their religion is. It really doesn’t matter. You might as well ask them what their sun sign is. You’ll know more about the person if you just ask her about what is important to her.
What does she like to eat? What are her favorite movies/books/musicians? Does she have a hobby?
Instead of putting her in a box, why not find out what makes her who she is? Find out what makes her happy, and you’re on to a good start.
Perhaps the best answer to the question is this: It doesn’t matter where I’m from. It matters where I am. I’m here, now. Take me as I am.