Written by Katherine Lam
Graphic by Miles Nguyen
Home is where the heart is, but what if your heart has never found a place to call its own?
In the past, the United States has often been referred to as a melting pot, in which a wide variety of cultures and ethnicities have come together to become one. Nowadays, America can be considered a salad bowl, where a wide variety of cultures come together while still maintaining their own unique identity. Despite America becoming more culturally diverse as we speak, the internal struggle of navigating the world as someone who is has grown as well.
As a first-generation Asian-American, I grew up struggling to reconcile my multicultural identity. I was often told that I wasn’t enough of something, whether it be American, Chinese, or Vietnamese. I found myself constantly questioning and changing myself in order to fit the status quo. As I struggled to find myself in the outside world, I found myself reliving the same nightmare in the comfort of my own home. I felt out of place in comparison to my family members, I wasn’t “Asian” enough to understand all of the traditions and rituals my family carried out. My inability to speak my supposed native language only emphasized the gap between myself and my family. For the longest time, I was in turmoil about who I was as a person, trying to figure out how to play my cards right in order to fit in. However, attempting to change who I was only brought more uncertainty and anxiety to the situation. Rather than seeking out self-acceptance, I truly believed that assimilation was the only solution to my woes.
That was, until I met others who have experienced the same hellish reality. Relating with others has helped me come to terms with my journey of self-acceptance and identity. Through time and self-love, I was able to come to terms with myself, I was able to learn the importance of self-love and acceptance. I don’t have to be the cookie-cutter version society supposedly wants. I shouldn’t have to change myself to stick to the status quo (despite what High School Musical told us to do). I may not be “enough” of something, but at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is that I know that I am enough.