that migrant life

When you’re a migrant, be it a refugee or an immigrant, you’re forever an outsider.

You’re no longer fully of the culture you left and you’ll never be a true native in the one you’ve joined.

On the one hand, this can be a source of anxiety and insecurity. The desire to belong is encoded in our very bodies: it’s in the shape of our vocal folds and the size of our neocortex.

On the other hand, it can be a lowkey permanent ecstasy – ek stasis: to be or stand outside oneself.

To be uprooted, is to be ungrounded and thus free from the assumptions that often prevent us from understanding why we are the way we are.

Thus, challenges engender advantages.



I have never shared most of the childhood references of my cohorts.

I study the way that culture bonds us with greater interest than an anthropologist.
I was not raised with the same historical memory as the nation to which I pledge allegiance. I do not assume – as most do, incorrectly – that society shares my political beliefs.
I have never known a before without alienation; there is nowhere I can “return” to. I believe progress is possible but not inevitable; I don’t believe there is a golden era in our past.
I had to find the equivalent of words to communicate and often mangled aphorisms. I encountered language as opaque, rather than transparent; as a social construct rather than a neutral medium. I developed a habit for etymology.
I did not view the characters on TV and in movies as familiar. Relatable characters are predictable, boring. I expect characters to expand and challenge my sense of the world, rather than mirror and confirm it.
I am so accustomed to imposter syndrome that I understand it is as natural, necessary. When I conceive of subjects, protagonists, I instinctively imbue them with skepticism.