Thoughts for Myself

Like it this way

I have already mentioned quite a few times that I have struggled with my identity in my youth… and am still struggling to this date, well into my grown-up years.

 

Maybe it is because I am an Asian brought up in Western culture.

Maybe it is because my mind and body do not always agree, causing me to feel off-balance when I am most in need to stand my ground.

Maybe it is because my differences from those around me makes me stand out, even when I try to blend in and be inconspicuous.

 

But I find that my struggles over identity has changed in quality over time.

 

In my youth, my differences were very apparent – I looked distinctively Asian in mainly Caucasian societies. So, at first, people expected me to be Asian: think like an Asian, sound like an Asian, act like an Asian. But once they found out that I could think more individualistically and less collectively if necessary just like them, and speak without an Asian accent just like them, and have occasional cravings for really unhealthy foods just like them, they started to see me as a “different” Asian. I could never be one of them, but I was accepted for the commonalities I possessed within. My struggle then was simply being able to accept that myself.

 

When I finally returned to my homeland, now I looked just like anybody else, but I was different in every other aspect. Interestingly, here too, at first, people expected me to be Asian. And interestingly, once they found out that I do not always think collectively just like them, or do not always remain silent unless the floor is clearly passed just like them, or always obey the elders even when their orders are unjustified just like them, they also started to see me as a “different” Asian. Now, I can never be one of them and I will be rejected so long as I possess the differences within. My struggle now is to be able to remain accepting of myself even when others reject me.

 

Maybe I am making too big a deal of my “differences.”

Maybe I should stop whining about being seen as a chimera, a monster who has inherited different cultural traits.

 

Because if I really think deep and hard, I cannot imagine myself being any other way. I would much rather be the monster than the mundane.

 

But maybe I can make my struggle more enjoyable.

Maybe I can aim to be a mosaic instead of a monster.

 

Yeah, I think I would like it this way. Much more.

 

P.S. Happy 149th birthday to my second homeland!

I may never be one of you, but I am proud to be brought up by you… you will always be my role model as a cultural mosaic.

 

Maple_Leaf_at_F_Garden

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6 thoughts on “Like it this way

    1. Thank you, notewords – the original photo looked a bit different, but I did a little turning and snipping and I came up with something that resembles the national flag of my second homeland 😉
      Yes, we all change with time… then, as we get older, we start wanting to resist change. So I guess I’m happy I’ll always be motivated to change so long as I struggle!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I can relate to much of this struggle with identity. Being adopted, I am Asian in a Western society so even though I might not have been consciously aware of it, I’ve always felt different. Can definitely relate to people thinking I’m ‘Asian’ and then their mental readjustment as they realise I speak and think like them even though I don’t look like them.
    This feeling of being different led to identity struggles in other ways. E.g. To fit in I turned to people pleasing, performance and perfectionism. Now I’m learning to strip these things and find me under the layers.
    Thanks so much for sharing, glad to know other people can relate.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello, Sapphire Writer! Thank you for your comment and sharing your story here – I’m glad you’re finding your way back to your true self 🙂
      But I’m thinking that the people pleasing, performance and perfectionism side of you may be your Asian nature making you be that way (these are assets when living in a highly collectivistic society!), and be it unconscious, I get the feeling you do them better than most around you. So maybe you will one day find a just-fit place in you for them…??

      Like

      1. No worries at all! Definitely on a journey of self-discovery. I’ve been getting help chatting to a psychologist and reading some books that bring greater understanding. One thing I learnt is that I turned to perfection, people pleasing and performance because they are defense mechanisms and I feel good about myself when I am seen as perfect, please people and perform well because I think that’s the only way people will like/accept me. So the real me stays hidden. Being Asian in a Western society has a lot to do with it and the fact that I was adopted. But also my childhood where I grew up in a family that didn’t deal with conflict well, my sister was the golden child, and my mum left when I was 6 and I felt like I had to please her/perform for her, etc. so that she would accept me.
        Sorry, for rambling on your blog – hehe. Learning to just be me and accept myself even when I fail, don’t do what people want me to do, and struggle with depression/anxiety.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Wow, you’ve really been digging deep to re-discover yourself! It must be a strenuous struggle for acceptance (by others and yourself), but hopefully a satisfying search for answers as well.
        I think rambling is a great way to clarify your thoughts and feelings, and get them out of your system if so wished… and be heard by others who can relate 😉 I do it all the time here, so how can I deny others of the same? It would be an honour and a compliment if you find this place safe and comfortable enough to ramble… come back any time, as many time as you like 🙂

        Like

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