I’m weary of disclosing myself, but see, the "problem" is I talk to you differently (maybe because you're not 'there'- hence are less... real?? risky?). And then there are those moments where I question my actions, choice of words, decisions. “Should I be telling this?”
Though I bet you experience this too, with a bunch of people.
Mangoes and other things
I wasn't going to get actively involved in this community but I think I would like to introduce myself after all..
We currently live in Australia (it's been 4 yrs), my mother could be described as a global nomad, my father lives in Germany, my brothers were born in South America where they spent the first few years of life.
I experienced culture shock during the first two years, and depression during the third year. When I mention this people argue that essentially, Australian culture is not so different from my 'home' culture and so they wonder what could have "shocked" me so badly... Thing is, I lived with my Persian family for the first two years and barely came in touch with white Australian kids. So yes- it was a very different set of unwritten rules and norms. I also remember the intense struggles with identity and defining "home" that plagued me during adolescence. When we got our approval for citizenship I broke down and cried for hours because I was so frustrated with the situation. I don't FEEL Australian! I don't feel German, or Persian or Bolivian. But I have a sort of connection to all of these. Why am I forced to confine myself to one country and identify it as my "home"? The ceremony was ridiculous. All of this nationalist, patriarchal bullshit. Meanwhile family and friends would pat me on the back and "congratulate" me on this.
I felt lost. I wish passports could have a label that says "world citizen" rather than Australian/ German.
I discovered the term "Third Culture Kids/ Adults" late last year and it was incredibly liberating to finally have some sort of language to express what you're going through. To have a community to identify with and get support from. It's plain comforting and I thank my two TCK friends for sharing this with me and I will make an effort to pass it on to others.
Anyway. Initially I didn't pay too much attention to TCK stuff- I read some people's accounts of when they first discovered the TC theories and they are filled with emotion, sometimes even cry for weeks. I only shed a few tears. Maybe my reaction time to such things is generally slow. The point of the story is I thought I had processed all of this, the past, the patterns, etc. long ago. But recently it's all been coming back to me and I feel like I am re-experiencing painful past experiences even in my dreams. A friend told me I should seek support from someone and so I pushed myself to go see the psych at uni about it. Luckily they are trained in international and cross-cultural studies and have heard of TCK etc. So I am not talking to a wall for once!
I am afraid of falling into the trap of Nostalgia, but it feels like I need to re-process this stuff- especially now that I have more knowledge, more resources to help me.
It's only been a week and I've already decoded important information from my experiences- about patterns, attitudes etc, and how certain events have shaped my every-day functioning in ways that I never really acknowledged or realized. I have intimacy, attachment and commitment issues, a hideous concept of weakness that prevents me from engaging in any great extend of self-disclosure..I return to my passport country once a year and it's always an out-of-body experience, because I am forced to fall back into the child I was when I left (since my vocabulary is up to a certain level, and family remembers me that way). I can't share one world with the other. I've tried once, by taking an Australian friend back to Germany with me, but that just ended in an awkward situation where he couldn't recognize who I was slipping into half the time. The third space stuff is interesting...I think I learned how to deal with it now
My friend recently asked me to tell him "the story". But how do you even begin to dissomething so scattered? It wouldn't make sense to him. It doesn't. My attempts have usually been met with frowns and confusion.- and frankly, I am too attached to the fresh, aging pain that is tied with these memories. "It is totally out of his experience". But this fact is upsetting. Dislocating. I wish I could share this in a way that they'd understand.
Thanks for reading. I'm sure many of you know what I'm talking about
All the best!
Here’s the definition from Dave Pollock : “A Third Culture Kid, a TCK, is a person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parents’ cultures. Although elements of each culture are assimilated into the TCKs’ life experience, the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of similar background.”
We do not grieve, because we have never been introduced to the concept that grieving a loss is normal and necessary, or that our losses are worthy of grief.
"The more we care the more we detach"
I AM ANGRY.
I don't want to go see the f'in play tomorrow night. I don't want to waste my time with a friend,
I don't want to drive backwards and forwards all day,
I don't want to take you out to dinner and I don't want to eat fast food tomorrow night either.
Why the fuck did I agree? Just because I feel obligated to spend time with you.
I do want to hang out but not on such an active level!
I am tired..
I feel disconnected. I feel disconnected.
Not isolated. Out of reach. Distant. Walls around me.
I'd like to talk to her. Because she's pervasive in that way. And I enjoy pervasiveness every now and then, especially when they are good, right questions. When the person can have or display an understanding.
I couldn't handle too much of Pete. talking about his experiences etc. pointing out people's body language while (deliberately?) ignoring his own signals. A little bit awkward kinda guy.
I AM ANGRY!
I found a community online. But something in me does not want to get involved.
A lot of self awareness. Too close to be neutral enough to help. Coming back to it is natural but we come back at different depths.
It happens in cycles, whenever out psyche is ready process again.
This cycle is good. THIS is good. Work with your stories, through a medium, instead of sitting in the emotion. "It seems like you need some time and introspection yourself- in order to go through this effectively. And that's ok.
But at what stage do you stop? When does it become a concern/ unhealthy?
I'm beginning to find out who the real me is. Talking about it helps. Articulation. Already within the past three days during my nostalgia I worked out new things about old experiences...
patterns. My concept of weakness and where it comes from. This time it will be different. Don't ignore this calling (something deep inside of me is calling my conscious to focus on the past for a while). It'll be more proactive because I have more knowledge.
I wasn't going to get involved in this community... I'm not really sure where to start. I have lived in this country for five years now. I struggle with self-disclosure more than I let on. I don't want to exaggerate or over-dramatize this. Still, I feel like I am.
I don't feel... comfortable lately. The past has been coming back to me and I feel as though I am falling into "relapse". I am afraid of re-processing these experiences- of falling back into a sort of harmful Nostalgia. I discovered the third culture kids/ adults theory late last year... it was... comforting. Healing. It is liberating. To finally be able to articulate these emotions- to pinpoint a reason, a cause, to have a theory by which to try and define what we are going through. I also met a few TCK's and shared experiences etc. But overall I haven't spent too much time on re-thinking and applying theory to life experiences. But it seems like it is finally catching up now... For the past three days I've had dreams about long-repressed experiences, suddenly unresolved grief pushes to the surface...
For those of you who have read it, Sophia's story in "TCK" touched me beyond expression. I am beginning to uncover my own patterns- issues that I thought I didn't have (like intimacy, relationship, attachment struggles...). I have this hideous concept of weakness that seems to rule my life- the reason for why I am constantly repressing these issues even though I KNOW it's ok to feel this way, it's ok to talk about it. There's nothing weak about grief.
My friend asked me to tell him the story. To share. But how do you share? How can you possibly even begin to disclose something... so.. scattered. It wouldn't make sense to him. It doesn't. My attempts have been met with frowns and confusion- and frankly, I am too attached to the fresh, aging pain that is tied with these memories.
Just some nice stories and reflections
I came across the term TCK in January 2007. I’ve been reading on TCKs and doing some research on identity issues. I found myself crying at times reading dissertations which are usually supposed to be ‘dry and boring’ according to my supervisor.
I’ve always known that I struggle with issues of identity and belonging.
But over the last few months I’ve also started to notice that I really struggle with relationships. I struggle to make friends. I struggle to be a part of a community. I struggle feeling integrated. And these issues have started to surface in the past little while as if it was about time for these issues to go.
Three weeks ago I thought I was done with the crying until I signed up for TCKid, and Brice sent me that link to the TCK mini course. I read it, and it hit me really hard. I ended up on the floor bawling my eyes out as the pain and grief left me. And I bawled my eyes out even more when I googled Ruth and found out that she’s a Christian writer. I cried and cried as I realized that God was in on this from the beginning. That he cared. That he does want to help the brokenhearted.
I think some serious repair work was done to my heart that night. The incredible and overwhelming loneliness I had felt prior to that seems to have disappeared. Gone. Poof.
Suddenly my heart is light. Cheerful inside (I’m always cheerful on the outside, it’s my personality, but now it’s on the inside too). 3 weeks ago I was too lonely to want to be with friends or make new ones.
But now that the loneliness is gone, I actually feel positive about working on the friendships that I have to breakdown my distrust and build something strong in its place, and on making new friends too. Weird how that works isn’t it? I thought the natural thing was for us to look for friends when we are lonely, not when we’re doing fine. But it was the opposite for me. Now I feel like I want to chase after my friends’ hearts if they’re not coming after mine. It seems that they also have various fears which cause them to close their heart. (TCKs and non-TCKs alike, we all seem to carry all sorts of wounds that we really shouldn’t be).