On Sunday I connected with a third culture kid younger than me, Tayo Rockson. We talked by Skype for an hour. It didn’t matter that the video portion was not working – it was a gift to connect with this man. Tayo had asked me to do a pod cast for him on third culture kids and there was not a single gap in conversation. We connected immediately through the common experience of wondering where home is and the challenge of identity. He has walked a journey from country to continent and city to city. His countries include Vietnam, Burkino Faso, Sweden, the United States, and his passport country — Nigeria. Tayo has a passion to use his global identity to make an impact in the world, to challenge other third culture kids to use their identity, to see it as a gift.
The questions Tayo asked were valuable and challenging. He began with the question “Where is Home?” We laughed about this – how could he, a third culture kid that knows how paralyzing this question can be still begin the interview with this question? But he did and he wouldn’t back down. We talked about many things — my journey, homesickness, identity, challenges, and successes. At the end he asked an important question: “What advice would you give others?” What would you say to others who are uprooted and live between worlds, never feeling completely a part of either? Through this blog I’ve written a lot about what I would say, but it can be summarized into this: Be okay with the process. Relax and allow room for change, change in your feelings, change in your sense of belonging, change in your connection to your past and all it holds. In the days since the interview I’ve expanded that to be more specific: Be okay with the process of owning your story.
Periodically I teach a train the trainer course on chronic disease self management. It’s an intense and excellent 4-day training. One of the things I say many times during the four days is “It’s not about the content, it’s about the process.” I do this because there are people who want more substantive content, they get restless. The principles we put forward are not rocket science, they are practical and simple and participants begin the course by wanting more. But sometimes practical and simple is like rocket science. And it struck me the other day as I was speaking with Tayo that the advice I would give to a third culture kid is the same: “It’s not about content, it’s about process. Be okay with the process.” The process of adapting to the country that claims you as citizen, even if you don’t claim it. The process of growing and feeling like a chameleon, bright with promise one day and grey as a stormy sky the next. The process of figuring out those big words with bigger meanings like home and identity, belonging and culture. “Be okay with the process of owning your own story.”
We are people of flesh and blood, feelings and longings, hopes and dreams. And each of us has a story. Your story is unique to your background, your family, all the moves and places that shaped you and hold your heart. But knowing your story is one thing, owning it is another. Owning our stories takes time, it’s a process. And so I’ll close with a quote from Brené Brown: “You either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside your story & hustle for your worthiness.” May we learn to walk inside our stories. May we learn to accept that we are a people in process. May we be freed from the bondage of hustling for our worthiness.
What advice would you give to third culture kids or the person who lives between worlds? It doesn’t matter whether you’re a TCK or not, we still want to hear from you!
Here are the questions that Tayo posed to me that may help you as you think about process, as you think about owning your own story, as you think about walking inside your story. And if you would like to hear the podcast, here it is! Home is Where Your Story Begins – Episode 5
Can you map out your third culture/ nomadic experience and tell us why you moved so much?
Where is home?
Favorite country you enjoyed living in the most and why?
Were you ever homesick and how did you deal with that?
When did you first get a sense of an identity crisis and how did you deal with it?
What was your journey like to being comfortable with yourself
Can you talk about some of the challenges you faced growing up and how you dealt with them
On the flip side how did it help you succeed?
What is one piece of advice you can give to a TCK’s
- Where can we find out more about you and what are you up to?
*Picture credit – http://pixabay.com/en/book-shelf-books-furniture-349934/
2 thoughts on “Be Okay With the Process”
I just recorded a podcast with him, also!! It was a great conversation. Home, to me, is not something you go back to. Every time I’ve gone back anywhere, it has changed. It’s not the same place it was when I lived in it. You have to learn to find home in your present.
“Zuhause ist kein Ort, sondern ein Gefuehl.” Home is not a particular place but an emotion. This emotion can be connected with a specific place or changing places depending on your circumstances. Home is where your heart resides and often where you feel safe, loved, and connected.
After residing in Arizona for many years, Arizona became one of my homes; nevertheless, Germany will continue to be my home. My emotions are invested in both places.
Bye the way, I love the quote: “You either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside your story & hustle for your worthiness.” It took me several years to own my story after moving to Arizona.