Of identity and nationality | James' story


While traveling at a conference in the United States, James met a woman and fell in love. Three years ago, when he decided to marry and build a life away from his homeland, he didn't realize the things he would discover about himself.

When I was at the height of trying to figure all of this out, blogging helped me deal with what I was going through. I published anonymously and it really helped to write it out without fear of offending anyone.

I didn't expect the guilt...leaving family....the place I was from... It felt wrong somehow, as if I were disowning my heritage. Losing a part of who I was.

When I immigrated to the States, I knew it would be culturally different, but I wasn't expecting nor prepared for an identity crisis.

Growing up, I never thought about nationality. Never thought about myself as being English. However, moving to the States has made me more English. For example, I would have never worn a shirt with an Union Jack on it in England, but here, it is part of who I am. I follow what is going on in England more. I'm proud to say I'm from England when people ask about my accent. It is who I am. It seems odd--after all, I have assimilated to American culture, but at the same time, America has highlighted the Englishman inside me.

My biggest fear is becoming a foreigner in my own country--of going back and having people ask me where I'm from. To feel as if I don't belong here and then to stop belonging there. I like living in the States, but it's not an easy process. Everything is different....politically...religiously...socially...

The best thing about living outside my culture is that it has forced me to discover myself. When we are unsure, we always fall back to what we are used to, but when you are outside of everything you know--when there is nothing familiar to fall back on--you have to find your place in the world.

I had to figure out what I believed.

© Cathy Hutchison 2012
© Random Cathy
Maira Gall