Imagine being around people, who you can’t speak or understand their language. Everything they utter is foreign to you, but their heart isn’t. You’re able to let them know exactly what you want and they tell you, without a word spoken. You tell them stories, joke , laugh and cry together; all without uttering a word.
Then, imagine being in a place where you talk to the people around you, and spill your heart out to them. But… You’re just air to them, they don’t hear you, they don’t see or feel you. You can’t communicate anything to them and they can’t to you. You’re always isolated by glass walls, even though you speak the same language; you can never relate to one another.
That’s my 15 years growing up in Egypt. I spoke the same language as everyone around me, but I constantly felt like I was yelling underwater. It was suffocating me. My own culture was not that of my origin. My own culture did not fit into the culture I was told I had to be. I thrived at home where I could just be. School was a place where I had to be, but couldn’t.
Then I moved to Doha, Qatar. It was weird. Everyone, had their own culture in the school. My track team had Americans, Australians, Indians, Dutch, Egyptians, Brazilians.. And the list keeps going, and that was just my track team. It was weird how I felt more in place than ever in a school where no one spoke the same language; we all had different cultures and rules. But, the space provided allowed me to become my own masterpiece of a culture. I no longer needed to speak the same language. I embraced my own and created a new third language for myself, that was neither Qatari or Egyptian it was Lama’s language. I made my own rules and broke them, and everyone respected them.
My friend group alone harvested Russian, English, Spanish, Arabic and Portuguese; from those we crafted our language and embraced it. We blended our cultures and our families together to become this new color of a family. One that carried none of the rules from the languages mentioned, but it was this third language that only we could understand and master.
I thrive in environments where I don’t have to communicate using anyone’s language, but my own, in environments, where communication is hearts to hearts. In a society where everything is a perfect cube I was an irregular triangle, for 15 years I tried fitting this irregular triangle into a cube. Little did I know, that all I needed was a place where there were all kinds of irregular shapes so we can all fit out together.
If you’re out there in a space where you just can’t fit in. Don’t. Don’t try to fit in, don’t try to speak the same language, it will kill you. It almost killed me. So, just be you, be your own language and nothing other than that. The best thing that has ever happened to me, was becoming a third culture kid, and I would not change it for the world.
I came to realize that I have been trying to become something I was never going to be. I was given the chance to just to be whoever I want to be, in a safe space. I know not everyone gets that opportunity. So become that third culture kid in your own space, by refusing to fit into the cubes you’re being told to fit into. Stay true to yourself, NOT society. It’s okay to be, feel or act weird. Who gets to decide what is and what isn’t anyways, but you. So make your own culture, language, heck even country and own it.