On Identity: I Grow Where You Plant Me

“Where are you from?” is the question that I dread the most. Not because I want to avoid answering it or hide some information. But because the answer does not tell anything about me. We judge each other all the time – what others wear, what other eat or what their interests are. It is a normal behaviour ingrained in human biology which helps us to decide who is a friend and who is an enemy. Yet I refuse to be judged by a one word answer.

Here is comes: I was born in the Ukraine, moved to Czech Republic when I was 16 because my family is partly Czech, then moved to Germany to study, there I met my fiancee who is Canadian and followed him there. So what answer should I give? I ask this myself when I hear the dreaded “Where are you from?” And yet I have no answer to give.

“Oh you are from Canada? Do you like hockey?” , “Oh you are from Ukraine? How was it when it was USSR?” “Oh Germany? Currywurst is delicious”. Yet I don’t care about hockey , currywurst is really okay (please Germans forgive me) and I have no idea how it was in USSR because I was not born there. Well I have some idea from the stories of my grandfather.

But not only I dread that question because an answer does not tell anything about me. I dread that the notion of your home or identity has to be tied to a geographic entity, essentially a piece of land. That’s not what I choose to call home. Home is where I am and I am all the experiences that made me the person I am today. Yes, I don’t have a country name to answer that question. I am like a plant, I grow where you plant me and I can make home of any place.

3 Comments

  1. france chamberland

    I agree when you quote: I grow where you plant me, but you need a good quality of soil and to be in armony with all the plants around. And I beleive you already achieved it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jesse Watkins

    > I refuse to be judged by a one word answer.

    I find it’s a good judgment of the quality of a question if it can be answered in one word. Questions can generate us telling our stories. They can connect us, draw us out, reveal our true selves. They’re much too special and powerful to be wasted. They can also put people in a defensive or agitated place. I’m so happy to hear you refuse to be judged by the bad questions.

    Like

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