All my life I have been trying to find some type of rule book by which to live by, that feel right and create a sense of belonging in my soul. And now I realize that there really aren’t any rules.
All my life, I have heard my family make comments and statements about Americans. Wanting to fit in, I think I decided to reject Americanism and its values, all while carrying several American values. I made myself a walking paradox. I didn’t realize this at the time, but the same rejection I openly expressed, was also an open rejection of my own self.
When I asked the question, ‘what’s wrong with me?’ I realize that the answer was in the objective view of the question. What’s wrong with me is that I think there’s something wrong with me. I embody a culture that for so long I worked so hard to deny. In doing so, I denied myself. And I made myself look foolish and dissected myself by lacking that true appreciation for a big chunk of a culture that allows me to be a great reflection of my true self. I understand now that part of my own internal struggles has been a result of the warring cultures within myself. Instead of embracing both sides as part of the tapestry that makes me who I am, I often placed them in conflict with one another. But I am both (or all three…depending on how you look at it).
The irony of this is that while I have always said that I don’t think one culture is better than any one, only different. My behavior and rejection of American values despite reflecting many of those same values has communicated that I really think one is better than the other.
Opening my heart to the realization that I am American, Trinidadian and Tobagonian, as well as Guyanese, and learning to embrace all the beauty that comes with each aspect of said culture is giving me have a better understanding of who I am.