Who am I?
The greatest challenge in life is discovering who you are as an individual especially when you live in a place with diverse cultures. Most often people get caught up by the traditions and cultures of other groups in a place where they reside such that they tend to forget their true identity. In the midst of cultural difference, when you are able to identify your identity, you will not only be contended, but also find happiness with you.
I have been caught amidst the question regarding my identity. My story is not calm because of the turmoil I had to face to identify who I am as an individual. Despite the occasional detours that I found along the journey, I came to learn that life has its own paths. It means that sometimes we can have our plans, but life has its own which will in turn affect us. I thought that everything would be smooth, easy and gentle, but that did not happen. Nevertheless, right now I appreciate the challenges that I faced because it made me unique as an individual and also gave me something to say. My experience was not only wild, but also true which made me courageous especially when I came out victorious.
My story begins in Dallas, Texas where I was born in the year 1989. My parents are both Persian which means that I am a Persian too. The first challenge regarding identity came in the year 1992 when we traveled to Tehran, Iran to visit family members. This was my first time to travel out of the US, but despite the fact that I was young, this journey affected me. We had to stay in Iran for 14years after my mother’s visa did not go through. Coming from the US as a three year old toddler and here I am 17 years old in Iran. Over my stay in Iran, it was not easy for me to make friends because of my introvert personality. I was therefore a boring life for me as a teenage girl who should be going out there and mingling with people.
Luckily, I got an opportunity when I was sent to Geneva, Switzerland in the year 2006 to finish my high school. This was an opportunity to be far away from my parents heated arguments something which I found challenging to me especially when they decided to separate and finally divorce. My brother and I received the message about their divorce when we were away. For some reason, this did not affect me much because sooner, I got attracted to a Russian guy who became my first boyfriend. He was full of trouble but the worst part was when he was expelled from school for selling marijuana to other students. I never took this well because I loved him. The worst part is that the events took place when we were nearing prom. On the day of prom, I was not like other children who were happy laughing and dancing, rather I was crying alone in the school bathroom.
This made me to evaluate my life; I never had a teenage crisis and neither was I a troublemaker like my boyfriend. On the other hand, I had strong respect for the elderly, did not dye my hair nor wore bikini. I had some sense of responsibility within me and this could have been contributed by the fact that my younger brother was under my care. I felt like I had failed myself when I got attracted to this bad guy and thought I was better and stronger than all these he was putting me through.
I had to make some major changes in my life that I thought would make me a better person. First, after graduating from high school in the year 2007, I decided to take a gap year before joining university to evaluate what I wanted to do with my life and what had initially happened. Secondly, in the same year, I moved to girl’s school in Monteux, Switzerland to polish my French and learn how to manage my household stuff. Later, I moved to Lausanne where I studied interior architect in Swiss University even though I never finished because of professor’s poor language. During this time, I was living in my own apartment and it was a first experience to me because all along had been residing in dormitories. I later decided to enroll in another university to continue with my studies though kept living in the same place. The university was out of the city about 2 hours away from my place and this also became a challenge.
The most challenging part was managing to pay my bills and studying at the same time. However, luckily, I got involved with another man who is currently my boyfriend. He is the one who taught me the basis on how to manage my time and the art of living something which I count as good in him. Later, I graduated from the university and received my BA something which I consider as a big achievement. I was also able to pursue criminology something which I always wanted to do. However, things did go the right way again after my visa expired and was not able to renew it. It was now impossible to continue living in Switzerland because according to them, I had achieved what I came to do which was to acquire a degree.
Nevertheless, this time, I decided not to let my challenges control me instead made lemonades out of the lemons that life threw at me. My boyfriend was my source of strength and support. He advised me to move to California where we continued on our journey of finding our identity and where we stand in the society. It was challenging living in California because I was used to the small country in Swiss but life had to go on regardless of the obstacles.
While evaluating my life, I came to realize that I have three different cultures within me. I have the American soul where I was born, the Persian blood and flesh, and the Swiss soul because I stayed there most of my life. My experience living in three nations taught me several things about identity and also gave me different experiences about life. One thing I learnt was that not everyone and everything we meet or have has a place in our story. They will at one point leave or disappear making room for new places, things and people in our lives. The disappointments taught me that I was born alone, will live alone and die alone. However, one thing that affected me most was my family separation. My brother took his own path and here I am alone; we are both excluded from family something which is painful. My journey might have been full of disappointments but I appreciate it because it made me stronger. I also learnt that everyone is made from everyone they have encountered and everything that they experienced in life. Sometimes, life is about becoming everything that is not you so that you can find your place and who you were meant to be and in my case, a strong willed woman.