Critical Self Reflective Essay
Every individual has something that defines who they are by the things that they do. All these events that we experience in our lifetime whether it be good or bad, assisted in developing the people we are today. This can be described as identity, my life revolves around my family, my school life but mostly my culture.
According to Ask.com cultural identity can be described as “The identity of a group, culture or an individual where one is inclined by one’s belongings to a group or culture”. My cultural backgrounds contributes an enormous portion of my identity. I remember how every year I would be waiting for National Pride Day in elementary school, so I could dress up in clothing which were the colors of my countries flag. I would walk in that classroom strutting my stuff with everything I had and compare who wore the colors the best with my friends. From a young age we were taught about the history of our culture and for most of us we learned to embrace our culture.
Your nationality distinguishes you from the people around you and makes you unique from your friends or peers. Travelling to the United States as a child I was asked by some kids I played with in the airport where I was from and I simply told them that I was from the Bahamas. It gives this feeling of acceptance by your peers if they show interest about the your country.
Growing up in the Bahamas as a little girl I would run outside bare feet playing with my cousins in my backyard. We would play ring plays and other games all summer long such as: Ole Mama, Tag, Hop scotch, Hide and seek, There’s a brown girl in the ring, Peanut butter Reese’s cup etc. I was an independent and very mischeveous little girl and I would always get in trouble. My grandmother was the only adult who could see right through and she always knew if I had lied. She was a no nonsense woman and she was honest or said what she was thinking, my grandmother was a sassy old lady who loved her family with all of her heart. She played major part in raising me to be the well-mannered young lady I am to this day. My eldest cousin and I we’re playing in the front yard and we decided to play with a pole by hitting it to make music, my grandmother came out side and told to stop and I can remember her favorites for example “Hog know where to rub their skin” or “If yinna don’t listen you gonna feel”. She was right after continuing to play with the pole my cousin and I both got stung from wasp and went crying to our grandmother to nurse and make us feel better.
During my teenage years I faced a lot of experiences which changed my personality in a very negative way. It was hard for me to talk to my classmates and stayed to myself because I didn’t want anyone knowing or even finding out what was going on at home. I would pull my hair out of my scalp because it was the only thing that kept me calm. The students at my school would make a mockery out of me because they thought I was weird and creepy, but little that they knew I had witnessed my mother being abused by my father on numerous occasions and that the last time she almost died. Not one of them knew my pain and I was not going to share it with any of them. I kept all of those emotions of hatred and insecurities imprisoned and those emotions turned into raged. I wasn’t a bad person, I just had anger issues and I dealt with those issues through drawing and cooking. Cooking calmed me down because it allowed me to reminisce about my grandmother and when things were normal back then. Now I had to take care of my three little sisters because my mother was working late or at church and my father went M.I.A. Cooking turned into a passion of mine and I loved experimenting with different ingredients, I would the feed my sisters my creations and listen to their opinions on the dish.
Even though I was still depressed I had to continue to be strong for my sisters, so I started focusing in school again to on getting a scholarship to go to college. Now that I have succeeded on getting into college my dreams were to travel and experience different cultures. Although I was not happy in leaving my little sisters and my mother behind, it was time for me to become that independent little girl I once was before all the tragedy. I deserved to be happy, that’s what my mother told me and my sister before we left to study abroad. Since I have came to Denver, I have noticed that their culture is totally different from our culture in the Bahamas because they do not cook as much as Bahamians do and they smile a lot and some them are very friendly. I might miss my homeland and Bahamian food sometimes but I like the place where I am at today because I feel more at peace with myself than I have felt in a very long time. I feel accepted by my friends and I also feel loved. Cultural identity does not have to basically deal with a person’s nationality but it mean being recognized or acknowledged by a group of friends or people, it gives an individual a sense of belonging.
http://www.jstor.org: Culture as an Identity by Anthony P. Cohen http://www.sagepub.com : Culture and Identity by Simon Clark