Who I Am by Bronwynn Bliss

It is a joy to feature Bronwynn Bliss on Communicating Across Boundaries….and yes, that would be Robynn’s youngest daughter! 

**********

 

Bronwynn Bliss
Adelaide, Bronwynn, & Robynn Bliss Photo Credit: Janet Wachter

I’ve always known that our children would have a different story than I did. I joined the ranks of the children displaced and transplanted when I was eight years old, becoming an MK, as we were called in the ‘old days’. Our family stayed in Pakistan for all of my remaining childhood years, with the exception of grade seven, where we relocated temporarily to Canada for the mandatory and maddening furlough year. I returned to Canada for college and the chaos of reentrying a culture I was supposed to be at home in but in which I felt decidedly foreign.

Two of our three children were born in India, however when they were a mere 10, 8 and 5 we returned to the United States and jump started their transplanting process. The older two had a more difficult time of it but eventually settled into their new rhythms and routines. Our youngest, Bronwynn, didn’t appear to miss a beat. She wiggled her way into life in America with curiosity and joy. Certainly she observed her world out loud and often made hilarious commentary on what she saw. She misunderstood the tornado drill at her Kansas kindergarten and was so excited for the huge tomato to strike—she loves tomatoes! Thanksgiving meant a pageant of sorts and an opportunity for her to once again be who she loved, an Indian! She would wear her navy blue and gold lehenga (a long full bejeweled skirt with a short embroidered blouse to match and a complimenting duputta scarf)! Imagine her disappointment when we explained No…not those Indians!

Earlier this week I came home and found a very excited Bronwynn. She had written a blog post for Communicating Across Boundaries. Did I think Marilyn would publish it? I cautiously suggested I read it and see what I thought before we talked about sending it on to Marilyn. I was intrigued and delighted to see Bronwynn communicate some of her own heart on what it means to be raised by a TCK mom and know that she is one too but doesn’t necessarily connect with what that means.

I’m ever so grateful for this child. She is discerning and kind, eager to fit, and yet anxious to be her own person.  She has a great sense of humour and an uncanny ability to relate to all different kinds of people. She sees strengths in others, she’s able to look past weaknesses. Here she is, in her own 12-year-old words, trying to come to grips with who she is, who she might become:

************

Ever since we moved to the States my mom has read books and blogs, magazines and newspapers about being a TCK.  I fit the descriptions and characteristics of being everything my mom was; I lived in India for 5 whole years, from infantry to a bratty toddler and from there to a crazy 5-year-old. I was a TCK. I imagined myself reading blogs and having life issues, going to counseling and so on.   But as I started Kindergarten, I realized that my siblings had it way worse, they were behind on many levels. Though they caught up I know it was tough for them to adjust.  Kansas started becoming my home, more and more as I grew up.  But I was still a TCK, I still got confused when we had Thanksgiving parties at school (those Indians were just plain wrong in my mind and real Indians would have had a way better feast).  But I remember that terrible feeling I had when my tenth birthday came, I was even. I had lived five years in India and five in the States.  I felt like I had to choose a side, I knew that I was more American at that point but I didn’t want to let India go. 

I was a TCK. The feeling got worse and worse.  My eleventh birthday came.  I wasn’t sure what I was at that point.  I hated all the titles.  I wasn’t super close to my grandparents or cousins because I missed the vital years, but I barely remembered India.  I just wanted to be Bronzi, period, no Kansan or American after it, but also no TCK or MK either.  Even though I have a weird story, and I’m not sure what I am exactly,  I am still Bronwynn  Bliss, I am me ( even though I’m still figuring out what that means).

21 thoughts on “Who I Am by Bronwynn Bliss

  1. Wise thoughtful words. You remind me of your mom when I met her at Briercrest. Continue being yourself, and in that way you will continue to be a blessing to everyone around you. Do you and everyone else a favour……..please keep writing.

    Like

  2. Bronzi, I just read your post to my daughter who is going through the same struggles as you are, to know herself as a TCK, and we cried together at your insightful words. You are doing the hard work and sometimes writing it down is the best way to sort through it. Thank you for sharing your heart so beautifully.

    Like

  3. Bronwynn, you have a real point- I don’t think it benefits anyone to be put into boxes (TCK, MK, etc etc). It’s important to realise that EVERY single person has their own upbringing, their own individual culture, their own mind, their own challenges, struggles, joys, and disappointments. The sooner we stop categorising people and their experiences, the sooner we learn to appreciate each individual for their uniqueness.

    Like

  4. Bronwynn, you have a wonderful gift for writing. So well done, especially being 11 years old! I am also a TCK, and then a cross-cultural worker as an adult, now living back in the USA. I have finally realized that I can enjoy living anywhere God puts me, and relish the good and beautiful things from that place, without giving up the past or the other parts of my life. “Global nomad” sort of describes me, but you don’t have to use any labels to enjoy being who you are in the big wide world. Keep thinking and writing!

    Like

  5. Bronwynn – please only be yourself!! No titles – just you – fully loved and accepted by Jesus! I can’t wait to see the rest of your story!!

    Like

  6. Bronzi I love this! Well done! I especially love the line “I remember that terrible feeling I had when my tenth birthday came – I was even.” That’s a great description! I am SO looking forward to reading more from you and watching you become more and more Bronzi Bliss. Big love xxx

    Like

  7. Bronwynn, thank you for posting! I think identity is a life-long process. In the end, you can choose to be anything you want to be, and several things, not just one. I hope you’ll post again here, and keep writing!

    Like

  8. This is delightful, Bronwynn. And I am delighted that I had the chance to meet you the day that picture was taken. I so enjoyed sitting across from you, your sister and your mother at that High Tea at the Pakistan Reunion.

    Like

  9. What a magnificent post this is!! It reminds me of how well Marilyn explains a stereotype as telling a single story when not one of us is ever a single story or a single label. Bronwynn, you write so eloquently about ALL the rich threads that together form the beautiful tapestry of who you are! You will share some commonalities with others, but ultimately you are YOU: A sparkling, unique and beautiful snowflake exactly like no other.

    Like

  10. I love this, and I can really relate! I, too, want to be just “me,” and my TCK years were fewer than most people’s, as well. So all the thoughts and feelings get muddled together like this.
    And I love the Thanksgiving and Indians story, and YES India’s Indian food would be far superior to American Thanksgiving food! And the tomato drill, that made me smile :)
    As a side note, on “old” names for TCKs: In the early 90s, the term TCK hadn’t yet been popularized. The only label we had was “Army brat,” and who wants to be called that?? I much prefer the newer, kindler, gentler, “Third Culture Kid.” :)

    Like

    1. Elizabeth. … you are so right. ..TCK is much kinder than army brat! Sheesh! Who came up with that?
      Thanks for encouraging my Bronzi!

      Like

Add to the discussion...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s