Updated: Apr 5, 2021
Scripture: “Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.” NLT Psalm 139:14
Have you ever felt lost in your identity? Have you ever felt like you wanted to be like someone else? If so, you are not the only one and you will not be the last. I believe that, “finding yourself” will be a never-ending journey. I think that as you grow and experience life, you will become more aware of who you are. I struggled with this concept for many years concerning my Ethnicity.
I am a Nigerian American who was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. I grew up around various nationalities but my favorite was the Dominicans!!! I loved everything about their culture because it sort of resembled my background. I had many Spanish friends and I loved hanging out with their relatives. I hung out with them so much that I wanted to tell people I was Dominican! LOL smh!! Then I lived in Jersey for about 3 years where there was still an abundance of culture. I went to school with other first generation students. The cultures ranged from Middle Eastern to Germans to Puerto Ricans and Africans. I never felt out of place because I went to school with many people who had foreign parents.
Then I moved to Georgia in High School where I experienced culture shock! (I was not prepared) I lived in a heavily populated area that mainly consisted of black or white Americans. Foreign culture was scarce and I was not accustomed to that. People always questioned my name and ethnicity as if they were interested. However, they would go behind my back and say rude things about my name or my African culture. I became very self-conscious and wasn't proud of who I was because no one embraced me. Soon, I desperately wanted to fit in with them. I would try to say certain things like them and act like our lives were similar. I honestly did not identify with most southern black/white Americans. My mom used to say, “You go to an American school but when you enter this home you are in Nigeria.” (insert Naija accent) I hated when she said that!!
Years later, I attended undergrad in Fall 2010 and crossed paths with other Nigerians and other cultures again. I admired the people I met because they were so bold and proud of who they were. Through those moments I realized, I am perfectly fine the way I am. That's when I started to embrace my culture again. I am 100% African and that blood will always run through my veins. Instead of trying to hide it and cover it, I will embrace it. I will BE ME! Whether anyone likes it or not. I finally believe that, “I am beautifully and wonderfully made.”
Moral of the story: You may not be like everyone else, physically or mentally. You may have moved to another state and stick out like a sore thumb but that is a good thing. Embrace who you are now. Love who you are now. Do not wait for someone else to acknowledge or compliment you because that time may never happen. Your uniqueness is what makes you beautiful. This may sound cliché but you have to remind yourself of this fact daily. Also, be confident in who you are. S/O to the undergrad students who were proud of who they were! It positioned me to realize that I should love my culture and be proud of my ethnicity.
Sometimes your confidence can give someone else the push they need to set free from his or her personal bondage.
Let me know in the comments below if you've ever felt like you wanted to fit into another culture while abandoning your own. It's okay if you have, we've all been there!
Until next time,