As a young child, I was mostly surrounded by family which mostly included extended family. During my time at primary school, I found it difficult to fit in as I was one of the only members of school from an Asian background. I was desperate to go to a high school with a higher concentration of people similar to me because I thought it would be easier to find who I was and ultimately to fit in. I ended up being friends with a group of people far away from what I had expected and when I would spend time with family instead of feeling like I fit in as I did when I was younger it now felt the opposite.
As my parents are Pakistani, growing up in this culture was something I never was fond of. When I was younger, it was easy to be a part of it as my older siblings were. Growing up, I just rejected all of it and would hear the endless comments from certain relatives and the common word being used was ‘coconut.’ Along with endless remarks and judgement it made it easier to reject this culture as I saw the behaviour and mannerisms of those who were a part of it and I hoped to be as far away from it as possible.
In college, I remember feeling indifferent as I had my own group of friends but I met this whole different group of people from the Pakistani communities. Along with all of my insecurities I felt like I didn’t belong anywhere. Part of me was desperate to fit in but also loved sticking out. I was conflicted. I write this because I feel like too much emphasis is put upon culture especially for those brought up in one that is so dominant. The negative effects of this can cause you to feel like you have no sense of identity. You’ve been taught to focus on the fact that you are Pakistani and ignore that you are brought up in Britain and have a British nationality and because of this it causes a lot of members to rebel.
I rejected my culture at a young age as I didn’t believe it was important. The people that surrounded me and who were so obsessed with their culture are people I don’t even talk to because I didn’t like their way of thinking, or their actions, etc.
In my sister’s dissertation, she talked about bilingual individuals and how many learnt the language in order to fit in with the communities. I related this to myself in a lot of ways. I never wanted to learn the language and rejected any attempts of people teaching me or telling me it was important to know. This was probably because I never wanted to be a part of the community.
It’s funny because I was once asked how involved I was within the Pakistani community and the truth is I didn’t even know there was such a thing. I have grown up in an area which is predominantly Asian and people are often surprised at how I am so far away. I think the more something is forced upon you, the more likely you are to try and look at things differently and accept other point of views. I particularly love how I am unknown. When I go to weddings, or parties, and/or other events, I like that no one knows who I am.
Growing up with this background, I have noticed how if you look different, or act different you’re seen in a negative view. I noticed this when I visited Pakistan but it is disappointing that people who live in this country still adapt to this point of view despite being/living in a more accepting world.
I don’t accept the culture I’ve grown into. The thing about culture is it can be learnt and adapted. Whenever I meet anyone from a different culture I feel like when they talk about it I am adapting their culture. As I live in a multi-cultural society, I believe that the food we eat, the music we listen to, and the different people we talk to cause us not to belong to one culture but all the different one’s present in society. I am not Pakistani. I am a mix of everything.