american. it used to connote more disgust than it does now. i was so afraid of being "it". when we came back to the states, there were nights too many that i cried myself to sleep because i felt i would never be happy, and i would definitely never fit in.
then the point came when, in some ways in order to cope, i distanced myself. i created a persona that was above the pointless pop culture and peer pressure, where i looked down on the waste and limited mindset of "my" generation. it was easier. i couldn't get in, so i made staying out a paradise.
it helped to homeschool, and it helped to already be a missionary's kid... i was weird, i was an outsider... so i simply embraced the label i felt placed on me. i was wise beyond my years, above the growing up phase and spiritually mature in a way most teens weren't
and it hurt when i hit the point one day where i realized, i had no coming of age. i had no time to rebel... i'm still not sure it's necessary, but since then it seems to have become so. when i realized i was no more mature than those around me, maybe even less so, i gave up in a grand way. and i'm not talking about "knowing" more - that i was more naiive than some ( i was)... but that there truly were people my age who could make better, wiser decisions than i could.
on the other hand, there have been things that i've never wished away and never regretted. i love african childhood. i love my american childhood too. i am thankful for the family, both african and american who nurtured me and helped shape my unique identity.
it really does hurt sometimes, knowing i missed out, that there are "blood" relatives who missed out on knowing me, and i them. it is strange though, to even begin to imagine my life without the shade of the highland mountains... the beauty of the bvumba and the joy we felt when the rains returned to us... i cannot go back, but i can honor a time in my life that has moved me forward, knowing great joys and sorrows with great gain.
my family is all over. tennessee, oklahoma, estonia, zimbabwe, texas, italy... each place and each person hold a multitude of stories and memories that make up me.