The last time I had to explain, it didn’t feel so good.

Oblivious glances passed around a circle asking the age old question: So, where are you really from?

Matt goes first, Polish, he says. Molly, dark and ambiguous, shouts Greek and Spanish with casual pride. Someone else mumbles Italian, Croatian, and the list goes on.

All eyes land on me. You can’t be serious, I say, read up on American history, and you still won’t find my ancestors on the pages.

But one day, an epiphany arises, and you suddenly realize that their validation never mattered at all. That there’s no need to explain:

  • The southern twang in your midwestern speech

  • The rhythmic phrases only understood by you and the South Side you call home

  • Or just what goes into a name you’ve used for 30 years, passed down from mother to son, and son again.

Sometimes you don’t want to explain. The will is gone. And only then, right there, is when nuff said is just enough.