It’s been over several months since I’ve had this concept, this train of thought and it’s been something I’ve ruminated over many times both personally and also externally, should I really mention this? It is really a blog-worthy topic? And then I realised I can’t be alone in thinking in such an existential way and I suppose as a whole, there’s many of you out there who may have, perhaps, just once thought about this too.
This whole idea is about my mixed identity, there was no other way I could really word that and still make sense. So let me pose this scenario, imagine this, you’re in your home country sitting in a car driving along busy roads, you look out the window and see shops, so many different shops, except you have no idea what they’re selling because the signs are written in a language you can’t understand or, even read. Then, with a touch of a button the radio begins playing, songs that sound old and are probably classics are playing, but you’ve never heard these before, everything that is old and familiar to everyone else is new and unfamiliar to you. For as long as you’ve lived, there’s been a barrier between you and your own culture.
This is the exact scenario that I went through when I visited my home country back in 2018, I felt like an outsider, fine, my skin colour, my facial features, my clothes, the headscarf wrapped around my hair made me look like one of them. But inside, I couldn’t have felt more alone, more isolated, more secluded from everyone else around me.
And then I came “home”, I’m not sure if I should call this place home, it’s not the home of my parents nor my grandparents, the different traditions, the different cultures that are expressed make my family feel like they don’t belong. Except, I do and yet I don’t. Fine, my language, the way I speak, the way I communicate and socialise, makes me look like one of them, but inside, I feel like a fraud.
Has anyone else felt this way?
I couldn’t stop thinking about how, no matter where I am, whether I am inside my own home or back in the home of my ancestors before me that I’ll never belong. I am neither here nor there. I feel scattered, like there’s a billion pieces of me in both places, but somehow neither of these pieces come together to make a whole. There’s still parts, many parts missing.
I felt lost and fell into an almost existential crisis, who was I really? Was I more Pakistani than I was British, or was I more British than Pakistani? Who knew? I certainly didn’t. Then it hit me, like a car hits a brick wall, fast and sudden. What if I was both? Could I be both?
Was it really possible for me to truly embrace both cultures?
Yes, after all I guess I could. And I did. I’ve come to love both of my cultures, for their differences and similarities. I found a way to push through the barrier and I’ll keep on fighting with curiosity.
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