Follow

continued immigrant feelings 

countries are crap.

cultures are not crap, but identitarian attachment to culture of origin is kind of a two-edged blade imo. I don’t think it’s Problematic by itself, but it easily devolves into nationalism-type feelings. I don’t have any theories or arguments here, just ambiguous feelings.

it’s pretty clear in retrospect that my self-affirmation as Brazilian, and moreover as Latina, has ramped up a lot in the past semester or so. I remember when I got the "Proud Latina" sticker for my notebook, silly little thing but I felt v self-conscious about it. all the trans pride and anarchist propaganda was right at home, but affirming my culture of origin? me, who never fit in there, in so many ways temperamentally incompatible with the tropics? it’s just a sticker, it’s just a keyword in my profile description, but that’s the kind of thing that identities are built from I guess.

I think a lot of immigrants in general share this boomerang trajectory, of first disavowing everything related to your first home, then slowly feeling an attachment to it grow back. I think we share a trait with all sorts of in-betweens, or rather bi-betweens, like biracial people, or translation/cultural studies people, where you simultaneously feel like you belong to place $1 and place $2 both, *and* to neither.

(Emmerich: 'There is no communication happening. Indeed, there is no transferal of a message from one language into another, because from the perspective of the translator at the precise moment she is translating, she is not between languages, and her languages are not separate. We might say, rather, that she is saturated with two languages--that she is a node for two languages. Both languages are living inside her, in the same place, at the same time, in constantly shifting concentrations and configurations. She is not a bridge; she is something like a ghost.')

but I think identity traits can crystalise defensively. I remember when I was still insecure about really being a woman, being exposed to terfs attacking that made me feel like "_fuck_ you I'm a woman and you're wrong".

in the same way, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I’m attracted to doing little Brazilian superstitions or taking up a Latina name etc. just as my immigration status is most at risk. fellow ascending-working-class ppl will know what I mean when I mention the feeling of things not being _for_ you even if you can now afford them, of doing something wrong or dangerous if you claim them, like it could all be taken away from you if you step overboard. the immigration equivalent is the feeling of constant evaluation, of being judged not just as an individual who is good or bad, but as a category/identity who deserves or not residence. "I'm too queer so they'll kick me out" "I'm too disabled so they'll kick me out" "I'm too loud/dirty/late/bad at German so they'll kick me out".

eventually you start feeling like the traits that mark your cultural origin are seen as flaws. that makes one’s feelings push back and want to reassert the previously disavowed identity.

one does not want to become (an imaginary average of) German to be allowed to immigrate. one wants to be oneself, and be allowed to immigrate. but the parts where one’'s behaviour match the (imaginary average of) German are never brought into question (even where maybe they should). it’s only on the foreign traits that one feel judged. and this is how I find myself storing pomegranate seeds for the new year's etc.

72 days of visa left.

Sign in to participate in the conversation
pao.namakajiri.net

Elilla’s personal server.