Cultural Identity Can Be a Difficult Thing
This topic is something that is very close to my heart. It’s difficult for me to talk about it, so I thought, why not write about it? I could write over a hundred pages about this, but I’m just gonna start off with this blogpost. Personally, I feel like this is a touchy subject, so please read with an open mind ❤
I have two passports. One is French, and the other one is Danish. My parents always told me that that was what I was. French and Danish, simple as that! However, when I started in school, things were not this simple. While my mom is indeed raised in France, she is actually adopted from Korea. So whenever I met other children, they would ask me: “Are you Chinese?”,”Are you adopted?”, “Do you speak Japanese?” and the list goes on. Even to this day, I can tell some people that I’m Danish and French and they simply won’t believe me. Instead they’ll reply: “No you’re not. You’re Asian, you can’t be Danish.” This is when things get really complicated.
Not French Enough?
Anyways, back to the French part. Growing up, I never learned how to speak French. However, I did grow up celebrating French traditions, eating French foods, watching French movies, listening to French music etc. But I was always extremely insecure because I couldn’t speak the language. I’ve never had a proper conversation with my grandparents let alone my cousins, uncles, aunts and so on. I was always told that I didn’t try hard enough. But I really did. I always had this expectation that I had to live up to being a Frenchman. I ended up being so insecure that I simply blocked the French language out of my life. The French language simply gave me anxiety, making me unable to learn it. I was embarassed and felt like a failure.
How I Tried To Solve This Problem
Last year, I slowly tried to change. I started at a new high school, and I wanted to have French as a subject. There are two different levels. The beginner’s class and the advanced class. I visited the advanced class to see what it was like. There were only two students, and the teacher “forced” me to take the advanced class since I was technically half French (maybe she just wanted to have more students lol). I wanted to learn French really badly, so I thought I’d give it a try. At school, I could learn French in peace. The expectations weren’t too high (not like how it felt whenever I was around my family in France). I felt like I could make mistakes, and it was okay. Of course I sucked at French compared to the two other students, but I just tried to soak in as much as I could during class. I learned A LOT. And I did it FAST.
Today, I can proudly say that I can write and speak French. Not like a native, obviously, but these days I actually speak French with my mom. She’s very proud of me, and so am I. I still have a few problems and feel insecure from time to time if I experience some kind of trigger. However, I’m in a much better position today than I was last year. I cannot thank my French teacher enough!
So What Am I Then?
Well, now that I can somewhat speak French, can I call myself a Frenchman? Honestly, I don’t think so. I will never really be 100% French. It’s just not me. Does that make me 100% Danish then? No. I’m just myself. Like a “Casserole Mix”, as one of my friends call it lol. I’ve been influenced by so many different cultures growing up, and I’m a mix of different ethnicities too. If I decide to live in France for 20 years, yeah, maybe I could call myself a Frenchman. But honestly, it’s up to myself. In my heart, I simply don’t feel French. All these years, I’ve grown up expecting myself to live up to being something that I’m actually not, which caused a lot of difficulties throughout my life. I might change in the future and find a more specific identity, but today, I will simply call myself a Casserole Mix haha xD.
So, what are you? Don’t hesitate to comment and let me know ^^
- Emmy xxo