Considering my identity

March 29, 2018
By Anonymous

I’ve always had trouble
Finding out exactly
What I’m supposed to call myself
I moved to the US before my first birthday
So I’m American right?

But I grew up with a family that doesn’t belong here
We don’t wave flags, or wear star spangled pants
That recycles and composts and collects old egg cartons
I grew up in a family that kissed on the lips
I grew up learning that the world is vaster than the community around me
That people over there are just us with different stories
I grew up with words on my lips
“Oberaffengeil”, “umweg”, “überhaupt nicht!”
Words that my classmates don’t understand
And I liked it
I like the meals my mom makes each night
That aren’t microwaved or comes out of a box
I like my family, with our german quirks
The ones that got us dubbed, “the angry ones”

I grew up with classmates that saw me as german first
As the foreigner that moved here, that moved to their school
They told me to say squirrel and laughed when I forgot words
Easy words that I forgot how to pronounce
They told me that I was a Nazi that I should go home
But it’s ok
I was german
I wanted to go home too


Then last year I went back home
I came through the gate
And waited for the cheer
Because finally I had returned  to where I was supposed to be
They took one look at me
They told me to go home
They told me I was too American
Because I had grown up there
I was only one when I left

They didn’t care about the food
They didn’t care that I knew how to talk like them
To them I didn’t belong

So what am I supposed to do now
Am I supposed to be Russian like my dad
The country where they kiss my hand
The country where I can’t carry my own backpack
Or speak up for myself
Am I supposed to be Swiss like the mom
The country I only knew
From the two weeks I spent there every summer

I speak two languages but neither correct
The one I love more
The german
That’s brash and rude and honest as hell
The one I speak, accented and riddled with mistakes
Then there’s english
The one my classmates try to tell me
I have an accent in

I don’t have an accent it’s only a lisp
I’ve lived here for all but two years please give me that
Please don’t tell me I have an accent

I’m not from the US
I don’t conform to their rules
I don’t dress in their brands because we shop over there
I don’t care enough about the way I look
There they don’t like it when I try to hug them
There they don’t like my food
That my pilmini smells
That my salad contains herring
And I know things I shouldn’t
They’ve been telling me to go back home for 15 years

I don’t think I’m from Germany either
Because I don’t relate enough to them
I’m too shallow, care too much about the way I look
I like American candy
I sing songs that they ridicule
I don’t understand enough about what happens in their bubble
Because I was never there to learn when I was little

So now I’m stuck.
Between two countries
Where neither wants me

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