Being born and brought up in Bangkok, Thailand with an Indian root was a quaint and quirky thing to me. I always had this thing of informing people of my family history — leading all the way back to my ancestors’ lives at times — and how I came to be, well, me: A mixture of Thai and Indian. I was surprised even more that people are actually interested in the story. Well, there’s always some interest in being a Khaek (What the Thais called anyone from South Asia, racism not intended).
Frankly speaking, I didn’t like it. I just wanted to blend into any background and give a one-word answer: either Indian or Thai. But I guess my storytelling skills also must have taken off from that age. I am sure people from any country with parents migrating from their roots can relate to me. It is the constant struggle of not being completely “easternized” or “westernized.” As we take in the juxtaposition of both cultures — the family values blended with the environmental setting and culture — a new breed of the “unclassified” personality is born. I call it the “Juxtaposed Hybrid Theory.”
I found myself tackling several personalities. I was like this chameleon blending myself to my environment and surroundings. When I was with my parents and relatives, a more grounded me surfaced. When I was with my girlfriends, I would talk nonstop and be energetic. I always took the personality of what others around me expected. This way, I never had any problems making friends. From the flunkers to the nerds, you would find them included in my circle.
Until one day, the unfathomable happened. I had a homecoming party where all the people I knew — parents, relatives, friends (the cool kids and the nerds included) were present in the same room. That’s when my personality crashed. I didn’t know which person to be. My chameleon mode didn’t know which color to take. That’s when I did some soul searching and decided to take control.
The 7 commandments of being true to yourself
Thou shalt not live thy life for others: Find what you want to be, who you really are, what your dreams and expectations are, what music you like, which clothes you want to wear and just think of you — not others.
Thou shalt not try to blend in: I know everyone wants to be liked and cool and in a group. But what are you if you try to fake it to blend in? An unknown face in a mass of the same shade. Tsk tsk.
Thou shalt always be original: Forget the fashion magazines in which models are as fake as clay and the fashion standards expected are… bizarre. Be you, dress the way you want and like, and please yourself. Not others. In the long run, you will have people respecting your originality.
Thou shalt not forsake thy values and beliefs for others: You are who you are — an entire package. Just because someone doesn’t share your values, beliefs, and perception of religion, it doesn’t mean what you believe in is insignificant. Have your own sets of rules of your values and beliefs and never forsake them for anyone.
Thou shalt revel in thy multicultural abilities: Frankly, while it might be true you won’t fit in anywhere 100%, but it’s also true that you can fit in everywhere. With multilingual and multicultural adaptability, you can thrive and be successful in any corner of the world.
Thou shalt not succumb to peer pressure: Friends are for life but what are friends if they are going to take you along a path you don’t wish to traverse? It’s fine to say “no,” and if they are your true friends, they will respect your decisions. Instead of succumbing to peer pressure, set the example. Be the leader, not the one being lead.
Thou shalt take pride in thy roots: I went through a phase of denial of who I really was and realized it was the biggest mistake of my life. To deny your roots is like denying a part of yourself — and it is detrimental. Be who you want to be but never forget where you’re from and who you truly are. Embrace it.
I followed these rules that I set for myself, and today I am a better, more original person who lives life the way I want to — not the way others expect of me. I found balance in being the girl from both worlds and I love every bit of myself, to my last cell.
image credit: shutterdemons