Theresa C. is a queer mixed Spring 2021 graduate from Western Washington University with a degree in linguistics and a minor in political science.
Where are you from?
Yellow curry. It has to be made with coconut milk, chicken, potatoes, eggplant, and eggs. Whenever I was stressed out or my mom found it difficult to calm all her kids down, my mom would mix the curry and rice together and then feed us by hand while she sat on the fireplace in the living room.
Hot over opened in the kitchen.
Why did you choose your major?
Being with people, I love talking to new people and being able to get to know them.
There’s a Hindu tradition, where a baby’s first heard of hair is shaved off. I remember in Florida we only had out white family, so it was a little brown boy getting his head shaved in a Hindu temple surrounded by white people.
Why did you go to college?
There’s really no one to exist for. Just keep existing and living for yourself.
Theresa: The first question that I wrote in the top space is, “Where are you from?” because of the food prompt. [Laughs]
I was like, “Wait, this is stereotypical,” but I picked yellow curry, because there’s just a very, very specific way my mom makes it. And I was like, just eating it is the simplest thing. If I’m stressed, I’m just going to shove some curry in my mouth. And I just feel better because I’m only focused on that thing and it just reminds me of when we were younger. My mom used to do this thing with us, that we would get up and—because I had three other siblings—we would stand in a line and she would—because Indian moms would feed their kids a lot and so she would make these balls of rice and then put it in our mouths, and we eat and then go to the back of the line and the next kid would go in line and she’d feed us. And I was like, those were always such fun days to eat.
And then for the other answer I put [for warmth], I put a hot oven, like when you open it and the entire kitchen just gets super warm, and I was like, “Yeah, this is what warmth feels like.”
And then for the second space, I did, “Why did you choose your major/field?”
And for that, one of the prompts was, “What makes you excited?”
I said, “Being with people” and talking to them and getting to know about their experiences and getting to share mine. Really, just getting to know people. You need to know—like, I just like talking to people, especially new people and just knowing things about them, and it’s just so much fun to do.
And then the other thing I put [was to describe a memory].
I [wrote] a memory that reminds me of [what it’s like] being mixed, which I was like, that’s kind of funny too; I guess that does fit the question. When you’re Hindu, after you’re born, they shave the baby’s head, and it’s, like, the official—that’s your new birth, kind of thing. And we had a bunch of family in Florida because my dad’s white, so when we went to the temple in Florida for my brother’s shaving, it was just, like, some Indian kids and then we were in an Indian temple and there’s all these white people around us. And I remember the priest was a little confused. And I was just like, “Yeah, we’re in an Indian temple,” but I was like, “all these people here are white.” [Laughs] I was like, “That’s them.” I don’t know, that’s, like, the mixed experience. It’s like you’re in a setting and then the people around you—it doesn’t fit, right, and you’re like, “No, it doesn’t.”
And then, “Why did you go to college?”
“Write a metaphor or an image to describe yourself.”
I said, “Jester,” ‘cause I feel like a lot of times, it’s like putting on a face and entertaining people in certain—whatever aspect I decide is gonna keep these people entertained for a little bit. I feel like it’s doing that and then being—
I thought it was funny too because then the next question was, “What would you like to remind your future self?” and I was like, “Be authentic,” and, “authenticity is you.” And then I was like, “I just said ‘Jester’ earlier. All right.” [Laughs]
Veronica Anne: While you were thinking about the prompts and writing your answers, was there anything that surprised you about yourself or about how you felt about certain things?
Theresa: I didn’t . . . I get that a lot of these were definitely focused on things that involved family. And I was like, “Um, yeah.” I mean, I just never thought of myself as somebody who was very family orientated. But I guess I realized, like, especially recently, I’m like, “Yeah, I very much am,” and a lot of my experiences and things I identify with are very much tied in some way to my family. That’s very interesting.
Veronica Anne: How did it feel while writing some of your answers?
Theresa: It’s kind of like that thing, that feeling, where you feel like it’s going to be really hard. And then it just comes to you and you’re like, “This is easier than I made it out to be.” I don’t know how to describe that, but it’s like, “Oh, wait, this is difficult,” and then I just think a little bit. If you just don’t allow that to happen—like, this is easy as long as I allow whatever I’m thinking to happen and I don’t try to make it seem invalid, then it’s nice.