anthropomagic

No, I Don’t Belong To One Place

1863_world_map-25001I’m being introduced to a stranger. Everything seems to go smoothly; we exchange obligatory smiles, I am complimented on my strong handshake, and as always the weather is mentioned first.

“How hot is it today, eh?”

I politely respond to this rhetorical question, since by now I’ve learned that an answer is always expected.

“Uh, yes… It’s like an oven!” I try to emphasise how much I agree.

This hilariously ridiculous small talk seems to be going on for ages, until finally the bomb is dropped.

“I can hear you have an accent…?”

It’s a half-question, half-statement, but then again experience tells me it’s time to disclose where I’m from. In the past, the conversation went something along those lines:

“Ah, yeah, it’s a mix of Polish and French”

The confusion written all over your face, was enough for me to guess the next question.

“So you’re, uh, French or Polish?”

By the way, there’s something stuck between your teeth. It’s very distracting. Unfortunately for you, the social conventions prevent me from disclosing that information at this point in time.

“Well, actually, I’m Canadian.”

BOOM.

I could see the steam rising from your head, as you awkwardly smile and change the subject back to the weather again. I go along with it, knowing you’re one of those people who just can’t compute my background, because you can’t assign me to one specific ethnicity.

Nowadays, when I get asked about my accent, things go a bit more differently. I came up with a one-liner, so I can quickly get it over with and move on to some more interesting subjects. Like the weather.

“Well, I was born in France, lived most of my life in Poland,” and before they can define where I belong to, “but I’m Canadian. Oh, and now I live here in Australia.”

Most people just smile and nod, unsure of how to respond or for some weird reason, become impressed with the number of countries I’ve mentioned. This method seems to have failed though, because other times people decide to actually argue my explanation (yeah, I was like WTF too).

“But you’re not really Canadian if you’ve lived there for only three years. Don’t you feel more French, since you were born there?”

“Uh, well..”

“It also would make more sense if you were Polish, since you grew up there.”

“Well, I guess, but..”

“Anyway, that’s a weird combination. You just seem to be from all over the place.”

Sigh.

Yes, I am “from all over the place” as you very nicely put it. It’s interesting how people have the urge to place you neatly in one corner of the world. I need to be easily identifiable; after all we humans love to categorise. How else could we apply all those stereotypes we’ve learned, to one person?

All assumptions they grew up with, became too complicated to untangle and wrap around their heads. Surprise! I do not represent one culture, one nation, or one idea. I am a mix of where I lived, the people I’ve met, and the awesome and not-so-awesome things I’ve experienced. So can you please stop telling me where I should belong?

Thank you and have a nice day.

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19 thoughts on “No, I Don’t Belong To One Place

  1. I relate with this so much!! Except, I was born and raised in Texas and now live in Australia. When I say I’m Texan, I always get called a liar. “Your accent isn’t very strong. I swore you were Canadian.” lol

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Well, can you imagine that! Would have never expected such ways from a country that was used by the Brits as a haven for their criminals, history is not today though. But as they need to label, how would you label them? More than one country on your list blocks their minds, but then again that’s islanders…
    Have you been to any concerts lately? I happen to listen daily to a group that wouldn’t label you but love you!

    Like

    • I’ve experienced some people acting that way towards me, but not everyone. What do you mean “that’s islanders”? I was not referring to any group of people whatsoever.

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      • When people are living on an island, and travel is difficult.

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      • I know what the definition of an islander is. But when you wrote it felt like you meant it in a negative way? Could you please clarify?

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      • Re-read the next sentence it explains so clearly my comment….anyway others that share your negative experience are laughed with, .,. So,…

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  3. I can relate. In this day and age, people move so much, explore so much, and yet we are boxed into categories…citizens of the world unite, xo. Nice post! really gives insight to day to day exchanges and how they can affect our identities, which are anything but limiting…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I’m glad there is more people out there than can relate to my experience 🙂 There are a lot of people who hate the idea of fluid identities, since we are afraid of changes and the unknown. But everything’s always changing in this world we live in and we need to accept that 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s hard to believe that people are still against the idea of fluid anything. Honestly, it’s an insult to the human braid that we think we can be chopped and divided up into specific things. Our thought processes are fluid, and so are we.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I agree so much!! Unfortunately, categorising is a habit of ours since it makes things easier to comprehend sometimes. It’s totally a double-edged sword.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh wow, it’s not just me!!!!
    I was born in Italy, at age 12 I moved to the U.S. with my American born mother, at age 21 I moved to wonderful Australia for 4 years, then returned to the U.S.
    I was taught British English growing up, and my mix of Italian and British accent (and spelling, I might add) always caused “where are you from?” to turn into a long drawn out thing I wish people would not have started.
    It’s funny how they ask, and then appear bored about three monosyllabic words into it, as if they expected a single word answer and are annoyed that they got something else.
    I love when people ask me which country I liked best – every country has its charms and its flaws.
    I’ve tried to categorize myself too, but I have not succeeded.
    I’m from earth. My home is earth, and my accent is earthian.
    There.

    As for you, I am just beginning to know you in this digital world, my fellow earthian.
    I am immensely delighted that you write.

    Liked by 1 person

    • When I was a teenager, I tried to categorise myself as well. Everyone belonged somewhere, so I had to find my place too. I was forcing it though, and it only made me feel more miserable than anything else. I’m glad there’s more people out there that I can relate to 🙂 I’ve experienced exactly what you’ve described on numerous occasions! Thank you so much for your comment and I’m really glad you liked it 😀

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  5. Sorry to say, Sessela but people can be narrow minded. It is hard being international and multicultural. It’s interesting how some people go gaga over holidays and resorts but they can’t really handle the actual fact. And you’re smart and gracious when faced with the condescension, which is just totally mind blowing. I gave up years ago, and tell people I am from the Mothership.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahahaha xD I laughed so hard at your comment SB! I am so tempted to steal that line! But, yeah I have been told by people close to me that I’m a very patient person. It might have something to do with that. Thanks for your comment and much love!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Much love

    Like

  7. Abe H on said:

    I just want to tell you I enjoy your writing style very much.

    Liked by 1 person

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