Posts tagged identity

A letter to Mary

Dearest Mary,

It is my hope that this letter finds you in good health. Things have been going rather well for me out here. In our earlier correspondence, you had asked if perhaps in this trip I would find clarity on my identity and just who exactly I am. To tell you the truth, that seemed such a lofty goal, that I often nodded and grunted at, though secretly (and with some trepidation) I  longed for it.

Though I’ve been here but a few weeks, the battle for identity has been ever present. In the midst of westerners, I am transformed to a western-esque individual, the person with whom you are probably most familiar. To accommodate Zambians, put them at ease and best relate with them, I am someone completely different. Still yet, a new person emerges when I interact with certain mates from high school.

This phenomena is not new, I have admitted to being this way for a number of years. However, these separate worlds rarely collided. It has not been so easy here, as these different spectrums of myself are constantly in battle. I would use a softer word but it would not fully reflect the confusion in my head and perhaps my heart. Just today, in a cab ride home, I found the western me interacting with the cab driver at first, asserting some distance between us, until we found common ground (my need for transportation and his for additional business) and immediately the more zambian persona came forward, demanding that if in future I were to use his services, he would have to give me a good price and not a muzungu price:-).

 Assimilating to many cultures but belonging to none is a gift, though not always.

In the midst of this, I am forced to ask myself, who really are you and who do you want to be? I find that my definition of me is not constrained by the accent that comes out of my mouth or the mannerisms that I adopt in different circumstances. In spite of the geographic displacement, I believe that I am finding me and perhaps finding is not the appropriate term for it is not discovery by any means but instead an acceptance and an acknowledgement that I am best me, assimilated and “fitting” to many cultures but belonging to none. I think it best that I no longer seek to belong but instead continue to make the best. This is a lot to handle, I know. I am also certain that I do not understand the full weight of this decision, but in time I hope that this is best. I started upon this road a while ago and thus far it has proved to be the right road for me.

Before I go, I must address the other matter. I note that you were quite concerned about a certain issue, and that things may not proceed according to plan. I am sure that you’d be glad to know that it has all worked out and with far greater ease than either of us anticipated or prayed for. I shall acquire the permitting documents tomorrow evening.

As always, it is a pleasure exchanging letters with you. Do send my regards to all. I anticipate your next correspondence.




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