My blog is on the subject of confused cultural identities and the struggles some face in their attempts of trying to find a balance in this multicultural, multi-dimensional lifestyle that we lead today.
I am writing from my perspective – a British born Asian. I am the eldest of nine children, my parents divorced when I was just over 2 years old and my extended numbers of younger siblings are as a result of both my parents remarrying. Growing up, one of my earliest memories stems from when I was about 4 years old. Anything behind that from as far as I am aware was never a memory. My mother’s stories of her heartache and struggles are all I have and can remember from that age upwards. That heartache she felt is something I feel and blame is a result of the South Asian culture. Times have changed yes, but that is a culture we are still brought up in today.
Many say that our people find it hard to differentiate religion with culture, but the vast difference between the to two tell me it’s not difficult, just that our people refuse to acknowledge change and prefer to be ignorant or simple mix the two up to find a ‘convenient’, ‘easy’, ‘acceptable’ and in my eyes ‘confused’ middle ground.
I never had a ‘normal’ childhood living with my stepfather and being a step child, the situation was always bought up by distant relatives and family friends at family gatherings such as funerals and weddings and questions were always asked. Curiosity of how my mother had the strength to leave and remarry with another mans child got the better of them, not only was it not the norm for a woman to do so but it was frowned upon. I found it hard to deal with being different, something that plays an enormous part in who I am today. Being different wasn’t something I wanted to talk about or even admit to myself but as I grew older and as time moved with traditions so did my outlook.
I am completely out of touch of my heritage and have struggled to balance in a life where your independence is restricted. I find it easier to be who I am and go completely against all expectations, if I have no association with ‘my’ people, temporarily my life is easier I feel more accepted. My family environment is as far as it is accepted in to my world, a dismissive world in which I live in my bubble of protection.
Having no cultural identity and forgetting your roots…..living in city where the lifestyle is so routine, bland and mundane is it not a shame? This which may isolate me makes me no different than all the others who are in the same boat. Call me bias, ignorant or reductive for thinking this way, but surely, my personal experiences, opinions and exposure to this way of life which I am expected to adhere to will have some negative consequences in the way in which I look at it later in my life (?)
I am restless knowing that I am a disappointment to my mother in not following traditions; the same traditions that let her down. I blame others for pushing me away further than I could have ever imagined but cannot blame them for who I am, because it is because of them that I have become a strong free spirit and I would not be following my dreams today if I wasn’t.
I guess sometimes these multi-faceted cultures and practices that try to root us, lead to us rebelling and finding strength in the most unexpected of ways.
British Born Bangladeshi
And a Londoner
(Events Officer, RestlessBeings)