On a Cusp

The more you travel, the more you realize how complex and how big the gap between identity and nationality is for a lot of people. One may be born in one place, spending their childhood in another and working in a third one. Then, how you identify yourself might be all the parts of all these cultures you integrated during your life. The degree in which you see yourself as belonging to a specific culture depends on your education, your family and community.

Wherever you are in the world, you are constantly questioned about the authenticity of your roots, either as an Asian or an American for example. You can be considered as a foreigner in your own hometown, birthplace and/or in the current city you live in. As any children of immigrants, we all struggle to relate fully to our family’s cultural identity because some values might clash or some habits might not work anymore.

The feeling of not belonging to neither or to both at the same time bothers me a lot. It is difficult to connect with your family, because of the geographical and cultural distances. Family tells you you’re not enough like them, society tells you you’re not assimilated enough. We are stuck between cultures in the present, straddling on a (very uncomfortable) cusp. However, it is also a strength because it allows us to find the good in different cultures and it elevates our sense of freedom, independence and open-mindedness. Since the boundaries are quickly dissolving in our modern world, we’ll have to realize that almost nothing is fully right or fully wrong in every culture.