The idea of identity is, to me, a very personal one. Our experiences, characteristics, and biographies go hand in hand to make us unique. We live our lives, crafting “who we are” consciously and unconsciously. Within my life as a Filipino living within the United States, I have always considered myself Filipino at heart. I was born, bred, and baptized in the Philippines and no amount of cultural assimilation was going to take that away. Some older Filipinos may disagree however, since I am more “Americanized.” For instance, I respond in English when my parents initiate a conversation in Tagalog or when I no longer believe as strongly in the catholic faith–a very important aspect within Filipino culture. This part of my identity is very rigid. I knew that I was Filipino through the awkward middle school years, through high school, and now as college sophomore. Even as my perspectives of the world continued to change as I fleshed out my full self, that rigid Filipino foundation was always there.
With that in mind however, I have met people within my life who have rediscovered their cultural roots through exposure or immersion to their culture. I, of course, cannot comment on the exact feeling of such discovery, but I would imagine that there is a distinct, innate attraction to one’s own origins. Such a path towards discovery is a very alluring subject to me as I am fascinated by the phenomena of being exposed to a culture and being “awakened” by it. Such awakenings add a certain fluid element to crafting one’s identity. It implies a certain unrest, a feeling of discomfort towards current customs or lifestyle. It implies a certain challenge also, in that looking for one’s identity requires effort, a willingness to be immersed in the unknown, and the mindset to accept any outcome that may result from following such a path to self-discovery.