Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Lost Jennifer

I can see myself fitting back in with English speakers, finding the people I connect with, creating my own voice to express my thoughts, no longer limited by my Chinese novice language abilities. I can see myself enjoying being able to express myself, instead of always having to censor myself talking only about safe subjects. But right now I feel kind of lost, not exactly sure how to express myself, not sure what my voice wants to say. I feel like my thoughts and voice are like a turtle, slow and hidden away in a shell.

I've for so long tried to fit in the best I can to African and Chinese culture that my individualistic American personality with its freedom to be whomever I want has been forgotten. I don't know who I am as an American, as an individual influenced from within me rather than allowing the peer pressure and cultural norms of a different country to shape who I am. I feel like a waiting silent seed who hasn't bloomed into an individualistic, bold, opinionated American yet. I am still just a quiet observer, making comparisons, and like for the past four years trying my best not to make waves.

Many Americans are not silent. They are opinionated, loud, talkative, create conflict by arguing and defending their thoughts. They are not into creating harmony by sacrificing their beliefs and wants to agree with the majority. I've been practicing creating harmony for four years and have lost my individualistic voice, have lost me.

I was excited to come back to America where there is a freedom to be me, instead of the censored me, but I've forgotten who I am. Instead of being this world traveller with adventure stories, of being a queer liberal American, I am a mute human being who goes through the motions of staying alive. I may be reflective and talkative on paper, but in person I feel like I am on the bottom tiers of Maslow's hierarchy of needs: physiological and safety levels.

5 comments:

ieva said...

I have never been to any country mentioned above, so I am very courious how it is to be "individualistic American personality" or even more - how it is to be "non-individualistic" (or what?) Chinese.

Anonymous said...

silence is golden; speech is silver

john said...

Silence is golden; speech is silver

Dr. Jen said...

I feel that many Americans tend to be very individualistic in their thoughts. They are opinionated and follow the beat of their own drums. Because America is a nation of many different cultures and people from many different lands there is less of a unified belief. Even American politics are extremely split into many different opinions. Even though America is a very religious country, even that isn't very unified but extremely individualistic; whereas, in China I feel that there is less diversity in thought with a more unified belief system, making it less individualistic.

JJ said...

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.