Cover Photo: Illustration of two sisters' overlapping faces, one sister blond-haired and pale, the other with dark brown hair and olive skin
Illustration by Sirin Thada for Catapult

“Are You Really Sisters?”

The only means for talking about our mixed heritage was the ‘adorable’ contrast between ‘the girls,’ as we were called: one light, one dark; same parents, different skin.

The author [right] and her sister


the girls

The author [left] with her mother and sister

What are you, Dutch?

No trips to TijuanaThey’d never let your sister back over the border.

Same Family, Different Colorscolorism


The author’s sister and father

culturally mixed



’s essay is included  in the anthology A Map Is Only One Story, forthcoming from Catapult in February 2020.

Fiction and essays in the O. Henry Prize Stories 2018, The Southern Review, ZYZZYVA  (Notable, Best American Essays 2016), Alaska Quarterly Review, StoryQuarterly, Bellevue Literary Review, The Rumpus, The Millions, Nimrod International, and others.  Prose editor at the museum of americana, staff contributor @LitStack. Follow her on Twitter at @lauren_alwan