Identity, Home, and Other Things
a guest May 19th, 2017 40 Never
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- For a significant amount of my life, I have struggled with my concept of "home." It wasn't until my senior year of college, in taking a postcolonial english novels course, that I could put a finger on what I was feeling and experiencing, a concept known as diaspora identity. Though I am not from another country, nor do I have family members who are direct decedents from another country, I feel a sense of commitment and belonging to other places not just including my home. Home was never a solid and unmoving existence for me, but rather, it changed and restructured itself with the events that took place in my life. For one, spending a large amount of time in Jamaica urged me to look at my American, middle class, white upbringing and how this impacted my ability to relate with many Jamaicans that I met. To be curt, it was a buffer. Unknowingly, it was a layer I have shaved off over the years, and in traveling, it has become its own morphed hybrid.
- When McLeod talks about Diaspora Identity, there is a constant feeling of... 'ok, so I'm living here, but what's going on in that other place that I once lived in?' or being disillusioned upon returning to that other home to find that it is never the same as it was before leaving. His whole argument challenges the notion of 'roots', the concept of 'home', and how, when we remove ourselves from thinking that home is a static place, instead, a 'world in motion,' our identities get all messed up. Are we a place?
- Coming out of the derogatory term, 'broken home', I have been made voiceless to the hurtful stereotypes of not having a father figure in my life. For others, family is far from a good identity to invest in. Places and homes can be broken, ripped apart by divorce, death, abuse, violence, natural disasters, sickness...but what still remains? What do these people who have experienced a shattered concept of home, identity, and belonging do?
- I never truly felt like I belonged in school, in high school, or even in college. I never felt the, "oh, yes. THIS is it," that other people get. I've had friends from many different places, never in once place, but they have grounded me. In my relationships with them, I have felt a sense of belonging. But why was it that I felt more at ease in an environment that spoke another language, that practiced different customs, that felt strikingly different from my home? Perhaps it was because I adopted it as my other 'home', who knows.
- Ever since graduation, my concept of identity has been opposed, confronted, and provoked. I've had to ask myself questions like, 'who am I, without books? without psychology?'. The truth is, I think my idea of home and identity for the past 4 years was defined for me by the structure of college. When I felt lost and alone, my classes seemed to fill me up with papers and readings, which took my mind off of it. But now, that structure is no longer provided for me, but instead, I am now in a place where I feel lost in this world, a migrant in a city with no map. Home. Where is home? Lately I've spent a lot of time with my family, and I find it interesting that I always seem to travel back to Lancaster when I am struggling with something. Maybe it's childish and I need to face it on my own, but maybe it's comforting to know that there is something about that place, not the structure of my house or the location of my family, but my family in and of itself, that calls me home.
- I think my search for identity will be a continuous endeavor until the day that I die. To be perfectly honest, I do not think anyone can have a perfectly solidified identity that is rooted somewhere in this earth, apart from an identity in God. Since graduation, I have relied on God for stability, for worth, for a plan. At times I get really damn frustrated, like I'm just waiting for an answer, waiting for his will for my life to just come charging through the door (I only wish).
- So that's where I'm at. Questioning, analyzing, thinking, hoping, waiting, panicking, laughing, crying, being, feeling... And right now, I just have to bite the bullet and take each day as it comes.
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Learn something new in 2017
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