The journey in finding our identity and belonging can often be a struggle, since we ask ourselves, ‘who am I’ vs. whom do others want me to be? And where do I belong? This point in our live is subjective, because we want to feel accepted in society we deny ourselves of what we really are. It’s hard to have a sense of belonging when we ourselves are unsure of our own identity. There comes a time where our opinions and beliefs are differentiated from those around us, during this time some people may discover where they belong, where as many others do not.
We are all different in our own ways no one is born equally some may take their differences as an advantage and some take it as a disadvantage and tries to hide this imperfection in order to fit in. Although we all live in the same world we are all different be it the shape of our eyes, the colour of our skin, the country we were born or the accent that we speak in and to others their sexuality.
These are all the traits that come together and create our identity, however this differences are sometimes not accepted in the society that we live in, and the sad part is that even if we know what we really are deep inside, our society tells us otherwise. Shuffling through the book Growing up Asian in Australia, I read a lot of stories that made me feel nostalgic, having flashbacks in my head when I first step in Australia and the feeling of deja vu overwhelms me with emotions, while flipping through the stories I read something that caught my attention ‘My First Kiss’ by Lian Low.
Her story is not something I would say that I could relate to completely, She grew up in country where ‘homosexuality is a criminal offence’, and deep inside she knew she was different but her surrounding kept her from being true to herself, “becoming more ‘womanly,’ I suddenly lost foot of my tomboy world” she denied herself in order for her to blend in. She wanted to be equal with the people around her but the difference can’t hide what she is “I felt a foreigner whenever I open my mouth. Whenever I spoke my accent betrayed my origins” “My attempt to blend in failed me as soon as I opened my mouth”.
The reason why we are all unique is because we ultimately choose what does or does not impact us in a crucial or unimportant way, we have the choice to accept or deny our uniqueness but whichever we choses influences our form of distinctiveness. Everything and everyone can influence a person’s identity, while some influences can be minor, some can have a major effect on our lives just like Lian Low’s story after concealing and denying her sexuality she finally learned to accept her difference after her first kiss with a girl.
She erudite in writing that once became her source of comfort and used to bury herself with, “Writing and performance have been outlets, `they have let me be myself, express myself and explore my multiple identities: Asian, woman, queer, migrant, Chinese-Malaysian-Australian. ” It is not solely one stage of our lives when we are confronted with an identity crisis, but a continuous challenge throughout our lives as we encounter new experience that will alter our thoughts, emotions and perspective on ourselves.
We have to learn to love and accept our individuality, In order for us to feel welcomed and accepted by someone or something In fact as suggested by Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a psychology theory cantered on human’s innate desire of fulfilment, belonging is a need that we naturally seek in order to feel loved. Whether it’s belonging with your friends’ family or surrounding, we need to embrace our individuality to know what we want, what we are, and what we’re not.