Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Lost Identity?

United States of America, the land of hyphenated citizens, is like a safe house for many people around the world. It is certainly true for me. I wasn't born here but I have had many of my best experiences and opportunities here. I earned college degrees, chose my career (even changed it with no social limitation), worked as I wanted, made my own life choices (some didn't work well), broke old traditions without retribution etc. I can  go out of my house without fear of being raped and killed, can leave my house without a man accompanying me and dress as I preferr. I am safe from many life threatening phenomena that women face around the world. I have lived the best moments of my life here, in this land. But I can never venture too far from my afghan roots. I spent the crucial learning years of my life in Afghanistan. Most of my values and personal preferences are based on my upbringing in Afghan culture. Those values and standards were refined by the education I earned and the opportunities I encountered in the US. For the most part, it has been a conscious effort for personal growth and improvement. Overall, I am satisfied how far I have come in my life given my circumstances. There is always that feeling that I could have done better but I am learning to accept my limitations and appreciate my efforts. 
However, I often have the feeling of "lost identity". I am not a hardcore afghan neither I am considered a "true American". I don't think I fit in either of these cultures. I am too liberal for Afghan Muslims, too conservative for Americans. I sometimes catch myself doubting my preferences and explaining myself to others. I feel misunderstood and rejected from both of my cultures. I belong to two cultures not just one. The norm is to have one cultural affiliation, one pre-existing identity, one set of socially determined standards. It's like a pre packaged deal which I can't take. No I am not going through midlife crisis and I am far away from menopause. I haven't exhausted my opportunities and potentials and I am Not considering myself better than others. It's a modern case of identity crisis. We all need a sense of belonging, a group or cultural identity. I am trying to find mine. #lostidentity #culturalawareness #identitycrisis 

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