I was recently thinking (while dancing in my room, dancing to Maluma because that’s what you do to keep writing a thesis) about some curious moments of identity and culture. This was only on reflection after remembering some stuff a guy who labelled himself as Mexican, said – like “If I was latino, I would take you to my place” after making out (yep, very steamy) in three different places. My hands on his big shoulders, his arms drifting around my back, waist and restraining from going into my back pockets.
Woof he definitely made an impression. But this guy has swiss german heritage from his mother’s side and he is the whiter side of his native family. And he would proudly exclaim he is 100% Mexican, despite migrating to Switzerland in his late teens and staying there to win some dough to look after his brother and mother. A similar case was made when my first boyfriend a third generation Australian British, would say he was English when it was convenient. Like “nah, I’m Australian” and other days when he was feeling different “I’m an Englishman”. Well, he was all sorts of things.
Socially speaking people get confused looking at me; and it depends on who. If another Slavic looks at me they don’t care if I was raised in Antarctica, I have Slavic heritage. If it’s an Aussie they’re glad to see me; If it’s a swiss person, they think I’m exotic. I have a notoriously famous Russian face; speak at this point a very neutral soft Australian (got compliments for that, no complaints) and clearly I’m an empowered woman. Open minded and self controlled, confident. But I’m not 100% western and this is where people start to try furiously figure me out, box me in somewhere.
Me? I know what I am because I’ve had the privilege of the space at a young age, to figure things out. And not just culturally but by my hobbies and interests. I know I am deep down, khozak. Yah, not Ukrainian/Russian/Polish, none of those western labels. I know who and what I am by my ancestry, my family, what I like and what is distinctly home for me. Significantly, I am Australian because I love the ocean, the great attitude of travelling; open mindedness, lack of suppression which I have to say is a divine gift a parent could possibly give to their kid. And work ethic. Between these two already there is an unparalleled generosity, easygoing nature, and super friendly approach to socializing.
Now… Swiss? I have, technically adopted a swiss side thanks to a swiss german stepdad. Let’s get that straight. I’m not a native although I have sponged in elements of the swiss culture and ways, because that’s what happens when you travel there for 3 years. But I have found the pros and cons of all that I’ve learned. I know I’m too outgoing for a self sufficient, exclusive mountain person that had to figure out how to survive through long winters in the mountains. I know also, why it is the country that people squabble over and criticize so much. Protection, insurance, banking, innovation… there are great elements here that I’ve learned that can be beneficial. And just in case a swiss is reading this, I do speak mainly of the swiss german part because that’s where my family base is. Swiss Italian and Swiss French are quite different the way they do things.
So with these 3 different examples… what do you identify with, for which reasons? And have you had social bullying over what you are? Because, been there, done that. No judgments !
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