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August Saguil

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August Saguil grew up in both the Philippines and the United States, feeling somewhat out of place in both. This story discusses how August sees his own multiracial identity as he grows up.

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0:03:11

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Please contact Immigration History Research Center staff for permissions not covered by this Creative Commons license.

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In the fall of 2013, I sat in my first ever U.S. History class nervously behind a quiz that I had dreadfully expected during my first few months at boarding school: The 50 States test. I picked up my pen confidently, first labelling Florida, then Texas. At the end, I was lost.
Growing up multiracial, I was always the odd one out. I attended local school in Manila, Philippines, for elementary school, I had big curly hair that all the other boys would make fun of. My mother would hold my hands down as I would try to pull out my luscious locks.

My sister left for boarding school in 2009. When we visited her, I was struck by the differences I saw in the States. I remember the summer before my freshman year at boarding school, I sat scrolling through the Vineyard Vines website, preparing myself for my new life in the states. I saved some items that I remembered from my visit to Lawrenceville, emailed them to my dad asking him to order them to my aunts house in Maryland. This way, I would be ready. My parents found this hilarious. I remember watching college lacrosse highlights. Lacrosse was definitely something I wanted to pursue in the states. Growing up in the Philippines, I didn't know what it was until visiting Lawrenceville. I saw boys on the green twisting and flinging their sticks around. The way the strings flicked around at the head of the stick mesmerized me. When I got to boarding school, I picked out the first person I saw wearing some sort of lacrosse apparel. I told him how much I wanted to learn the game and he was equally as excited to show me the ropes. He and I ended up being co-captains in our senior year.

I definitely faced some sort of identity crisis. I went back to the Philippines, and my friends commented on how "American" I started acting. When I was in the States, people made fun of the way I spoke and other nuances related to my culture. At this point, I became annoyed of being multiracial. Since I was living in the States, I chose to start identifying with my American side more. Moreover, I started to dislike the Philippines. During visits home, I remember becoming frustrated with the terrible traffic, and humid weather, wishing I was back in the East Coast.

As I matured, I thought about my identity more. I had always made the analogy that my identity was like a tug of war. I thought that my life's goal was to figure out which side would win. Eventually, I thought about this in a new light. My identity was there all along, it was the tug of war, in and of itself.

The hardest part about an identity crisis is when you ask yourself who you are. When you answer this question, you ask yourself, what kind of things does this person do? No person should form their identities this way, Rather, it all comes from individual personal experiences.