Identity and home is something I think about constantly. I’m the daughter of an immigrant mother. On forms I tick “British Asian / Pakistani”. I identify as British, I was born and grew up in the UK, but my Mother didn’t. My Mother was born in Pakistan. She’s lived in the UK for longer than she did in Pakistan though, which I find odd.
Culturally I’m Pashtoon and the land we live on in Pakistan is governed by tribal law I believe. I think if I went back a few generations I could find my family roots in Afghanistan. Maybe. Nobody keeps records in Pakistan from that far back to be honest.
So I identify with the British, Pakistani/ Pashtoon diaspora plus I’m Muslim and that’s just complicated in itself. Because although in many ways my cultural experience has been similar to many Pashtoon girls in Pakistan, it’s also been different. My culture has been amended and filtered to fit into the western world. In reality it’s taken me the last year and a long long digging deep process to come to this conclusion.
I find identity such a tricky area to explore. I don’t “fit into” one place or area/group. I’m a new sort of identity. A mixture of things.
I also find home a complex issue. In the picture the house in the middle is our family house in Pakistan. I call that home when I’m there but I call my home in England home too. Sometimes when I’m there I feel guilty that I have a home elsewhere and the other way around.
I think again, for me, feeling like I belong or could belong in more than one place is complicated because I feel like I’m betraying the other. It’s this idea of always being half a different person in one place and half a different person in the other. It’s complex and nuanced and I guess it all ties in with my identity and me feeling like an imposter like I don’t belong in either places properly. Like I’m just not “right” you know?
Home and identity are complex things to me and I’m 24 years old. I wonder when these things will become less complex. Do you feel the same?