Saturday, November 04, 2006

Divided


Picture by Emil Schildt

I'm not South African… and yet I am.
I'm not Madeiran…. And yet I am.
I'm not Portuguese…. And yet I am.
I'm without a doubt, an immigrant.

There are a lot of things the heart doesn't know and should.
One of them is that it's physically impossible to be in two places at the same time. Perhaps if the soul knew this, it wouldn't be so divided when the heart decides to belong in two places.
If home is where the heart is then I'm a citizen of the world…
I belong here, there and nowhere.
I wouldn't say I'm lost, but neither am I found.
It's a constant nagging of the spirit that reminds you that something’s missing; that tells you that you're not where you're supposed to be.
But if you ask your heart where it wants to be, it gives you more than one destination including the place you find yourself in presently.

A Jamaican in New York?
If you want to feel like an alien, try being a South African in Portugal. Or even a Portuguese in South Africa. You'll find that in whichever country you may be in, it's your latter roots that speak to you the strongest.
Wherever you are, your heart pulls to wherever you were and you find yourself only at peace in the belly of an airplane.
Because up in the air, you're neither here nor there… you're in between.

Exactly five years after leaving the country where I'd been raised and educated, I went back. Four weeks… the time given to get reacquainted with my past and to analyze my present. It's been a month since I've been back from South Africa, and I still feel out of place… As if the shoes I wear aren't mine.
As if I am an imposter in my own body.

In South Africa, I looked in the mirror and was Portuguese.
In Portugal, I look in the mirror and I'm South African.
It's the constant pull of a heritage you're not quite sure is yours. The minute you identify more with the one, an inner voice accuses you of betraying the other.

I woke up this morning with the anxiety felt when late for school. Did I remember to iron my shirts for work? Did I fall asleep while I was studying? I have to recheck to see if I have a spare toner in the cupboard….
My head lifts itself off the pillow in an attempt to make sense out of things.
Where am I?
As the images around me come into focus, I notice that it's still dark and that the patterns on my sheets aren't familiar… or are they?
A few more seconds and it hit me… I'm neither in South Africa nor Madeira.
I'm in Lisbon.
Truth is, I'm not sure whether to be happy or sad about it.

During the day, I tell myself to focus more on my grammar in order to improve the Portuguese level I need for varsity. At night, I scold myself for not immediately remembering the English translation for some or other particular word. I panic on catching myself thinking in Portuguese and it breaks my heart that all my brilliant results in the English language have gone to waste.

My South African upbringing tells me to walk into every situation giving the benefit of the doubt, my Portuguese experience tells me to walk into things with one foot back…
It's not wonder, sometimes I feel like I'm going crazy.
I have my Portuguese friends… I have my South African friends…
They don't mix.
It's not a form of racism, they simply don't identify with each other and I identify with both… or do I?

I don't allow my surroundings to influence or dictate my personality.
And yet… lately I ask myself… who is it that I want to be?
If I already am the person I want to be, where do I fit in?
Perhaps I'm not meant to…
Being an immigrant is a culture all on its own.
It implies to live with the longing… of never truly fitting in.

The mind is never at peace when the heart longs for it's other half.

I was challenged to write a post in Portuguese. The challenged part of me wants to try, yet the other half reminds me that this blog was created to honour my “native” language. The language I was educated in, the language in which I think in and the language I don’t want to forget. I've never written a post in Portuguese nor do I have the desire to maintain two separate blogs… I'll have to think about it.

There are days, where the longing is so desperate that it drives me insane and then there are others where I near forget about it.
One a day I nearly went mad, I was grateful for the comfort of a friend that said “You're literally a teammate” it made me realize that I do belong in somewhere, somehow.

As long as I'm this or that, I'm not all things.
Divided, am I still a whole person.
I am who am I am and make no apologies for I wouldn't want to be anyone else.
I may not fit completely in anywhere,
But as long as I'm not defined, it means I can't be catalogued or copied.
I'm comforted by the fact, that I'll always be the person I want to be.
If that makes me the odd one out, it also means I'm an original.
Those that truly care about me know that what makes me deep down who I truly am isn't defined by time, place, distance, age, language or culture…. Those are just the surrounding pieces to the heart of the puzzle.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Each one is a puzzle! The joy of putting all together, not only ours, the others as well! And U do it so weeeeel!!! Glad to know U! U bring joy to my Life! KKK W

dreams said...

well, as you said... i'm a citizen of the world...
i'm a french girl, that writes in portuguese ( to not forget...), and i'm never in the same place for to long...
sometimes i wrote in english, french and a few one's in spanish...
i'm different... and i'm glad for it...
:)

a sweet kiss *
“·.¸Dreams¸.·”

Klatuu o embuçado said...

Junta-se aos pobres nómadas apátridas deste mundo!

Dark kiss.

Laura said...

Querida, ja diz o ditado:
"Em Roma sê romano"...e aproveita o melhor dos dois mundos.
Jinhos

PAULO SANTOS said...

Doce sunshine...

já te disse que te admiro!
Não gosto de me repetir,porque acho um sacrilégio gastarmos as palavras!
Se o repito, é somente para reforçar a ideia!
Sim admiro o teu jeito intenso com que desnudas a alma!
Com que fazes este posts , qu não são mais que lágrimas de existencia!
(sossega...nem todas as lágrimas são más...)
Gritos mudos...
São pedaços de ti que ecoam até almas simétricas que as compreendam e num gesto simples tas enxuguem...
Vives presa num dilema existencial de pés e cabeça...
Para mim, é algo que verdadeiramente nunca irei compreender na plenitude!
Posso imaginar a dor, mas não sentir a picada...
Não me vou por aqui, hipocritamente, a dar conselhinhos bonitinhos....
A dizer coisas eruditas e armar-me em amiguinho que te compreende!
Não o Faço...NEM NUNCA O FAREI!!!!!
Sei que nem são palavras que te poderão confortar!!!
Precisas de terra Firme!
Terra tua aonde te possas libertar.
Criar raizes.....
Sentir-te plena!
Sentir-te em casa!
E isso meu anjo, eu não te posso dar!
Apenas tu tens que descobrir o farol do Teu interior!!!
Apenas tu o podes fazer!
Aquilo que posso fazer é oferecer-te uma bussola de imaginação!
Que te faz saber sempre aonde é o Interior Norte!
Usa-a o de jeito que tens feito!
è precisamente aí aonde eu te posso confortar!
É ai aonde somos AMIGOS!

Dizia o poeta - " a minha pátria é a minha lingua..."
Para ti é um excelente começo!
Para mim tambem!
Não me vou por aqui com nacionalismos mesquinhos a tentar roubar-te para esta tua lusa pátria...que verdadeiramente é dilema em ti!
Já te disse, até se torna demasiado obvio...que nem sequer chego aos teus calcanhares na lingua Inglesa!
entendo os teus posts no global, penso tirar o sumo possivel...mas nunca os entenderei intimamente!
Há mensagens por trás das palavras que provavelmente nunca entenderei!
não me crucifico pois se o fizesse seria admitir o absurdo!
Como poderia entender, ou escrever o Ingles pleno, se tive 3 ou 4 anos na escola e raramente o uso????
Não me penitencio...as coisas são assim mesmo!
Não sabia tambem, aquilo que pretendias com o teu blogg (parcialmente...) e por isso não entendi porque nunca aceitas-te o desafio de postares em Portugues!
Muito sinceramente acho-te mais do que capaz de o fazeres!!!!
Encara-o como um presente a alguem ( a vários alguens....) que te admira!
Não como uma traição!
Mas porque te respeito, não ousarei pedir-to de novo!!!
Continuarei a esforçar-me ao maximo para te ler, ver e visitar ainda que para tal tenha que tirar passaporte... ;)

tambem é bom....
Neste global e apressado mundo que fazemos....
è sempre bom praticarmos aquela que será a linguagem universal....

para terminar ( e desculpa se me alongo....) digo-te que és verdadeiramente um ser humano de excepcção!
De quem eu tenho o raro privilégio de partilhar!
Faz me bem!

Teu amigo Paulo!
Um beijo universal!!!
sem duvidas!!!!

fieryfairy said...

"In South Africa, I looked in the mirror and was Portuguese. In Portugal, I look in the mirror and I'm south African".

I am experiencing the same thing exactly, not really belonging somewhere. Sometimes it's fun. sometimes not. Does it ever change?

** sean paul** said...

Descupa lá mas não apreendi nada, em inglês não tá fácil!!!

Bjx

Klatuu o embuçado said...

Tótó :)=

... quando pagas um jantarzinho... ando com fominha! :)=

Klatuu o embuçado said...

P. S. Queres que escreva em inglês...? (Dear friend... JAJAJAJA!!!)

nflopes said...

like a
"Stranger in a Strange Land"...(Robert Heinlein)
just belive that:
"We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason"(Edward R. Murrow)

Storm said...

Youre South African from Portuguese descendents that immigrated back to the homeland - damnit Sunshine just admit that you hate it there and come home!