Jun 11

Am I losing my Identity?

I, a 15 year old Irish girl, who has been lucky enough to travel the world and experience many different cultures and ideals, feel that I may be losing part of myself. I no longer have my Irish accent, no longer can I understand somewhat that the men of the south say. No longer can I fully connect with those of where I claim to be from.

Being raised abroad from an early age has allowed many other cultures, ideas and beliefs to be integrated into me. I see the world through a much larger eye than others and I know that I should see this as a blessing but it is something that manages to boil up inside me and tell me I am not worth my name in Ireland.

During the time I spent growing up in Ireland not once did it occur to me that if I moved country I might want my own language to be with me, I never thought learning Irish really mattered. It was only when I moved abroad and started integrating with many other nationalities and cultures in my international schools that I felt guilty about only being able to speak one language, that being the most common language of them all. I didn’t have a traditional Irish name attached to me, and while I may thank my parents for that when ordering coffee, I hated them for that same fact.

On the outside you could never tell I was Irish, not in the stereotypical way. To be honest, even to this day, not everyone around me even knows.
When I first moved away I was two years old, my dad got a job and we moved. I still remember memories of living abroad, I remember days out and silly things other children don’t care about remembering. I remember all of them because it brings me back to a time when I didn’t know I had to care about keeping my Irish identity. Back to a time when I didn’t feel bad about any of it.

To the people living outside of Ireland’s reality, it looks lovely. The big families who are always near, the green fields and perfect oceans. The fact that our cities are in the running all the time for the “European City of Culture”. The Irish are portrayed as always being happy, even when times are tough. Maybe we have learned to be, maybe we have been through so much as a nation, that over time we learned to laugh it off.

I may have to fight to hold on to my identity as an Irish native but I care so much about that country. I care about keeping it alive and happy. I love that people love Ireland, that they smile when I say I am Irish. Yes they may jump to stereotypes, but that makes me happy. It, even if only for a moment, lets me believe I have a claim to that land.

The Irish have been through so much together, we have fought for our freedom many times over, not just from governments and other nations, but financially and socially. Ireland is finally as much her own country as she will ever be. We may not have all of Ireland on a map but to us, we are still a full teddy bear. Ireland has gone through so much that with BREXIT and the border that the EU want, the pressure is going to destroy her. I can fight all I want to be able to believe myself when I say I am Irish, when I say she is my home. However, if there is no home to go to when I look back then what is the point.

I may fight for Ireland to remain her own, I can be proud of all those who have fought for and with her. Whether that be in the 1916 Rising or in keeping her afloat everyday since. I shout proudly that I am Irish and I love that place more than anything else. Just because I love her and want to identify with her, doesn’t mean I can. I remember Ireland like it is the back of my hand, I could go back tomorrow and know that if I wanted to I could fit in somewhat, and if I could I would. I could try to fit in but I would never be a perfect fit, I see the world and the people differently now that I have experienced more in different ways and places.

I have memories of the place I call home, but not many of them tell me it is where I want to spend all of my days, I have more happy and memorable memories in the other countries I once called and remember as home. When I lived there I knew it was not for forever, so I tried harder. I tried to fit in and I tried to belong. I made the most of the time I had there, I never knew if and when a day would be my last. Ireland is a constant in my life, I know that she would be there for me tomorrow if I needed it.

I know that I can always go home, as hard as that may be.