This is an exercise to brainstorm some questions on my identity with unplanned 3-minute of fast and continuous writing. My responses below are not well thought and articulated, and that’s the main idea of fast writing – not writing for an audience.
- How does your outward appearance (i.e. clothing, makeup, hairstyle, accessories, etc.) reflect your cultural identity?
As an offspring of an Indian family, I think my outward experience, choice of accessories and articles of clothing are heavily influenced by what I have grown up seeing. I am, however, unsure of the intersection between culture and the environment in the context of India, but I feel that the environment I grew up in has been conservative and liberal at the same time (I know that’s confusing!). So many times my outward appearance choices can be somewhat liberal which might or may not be acceptable to those who still are influenced by a conservative environment. I think culture and environment play intersecting roles in today’s globalized world.
- How do your behaviors and practices (i.e. rituals, daily activities, routines, habits, etc.) reflect your cultural identity?
While considering behaviors and practices, I generally do not follow the norms of my culture. I tend to lack discipline that I have witnessed among people in my community. My family typically has a pretty good routine of all the daily activities, and I think a routine is essential to follow not just to establish a cultural identity, but also for oneself’s mental sanity. To be associated with conventional behavior and cultural practices helps in affiliating oneself with a group and therefore giving an identity.
- How do your beliefs and values (i.e. opinions, commitments, memberships, principles, etc.) reflect your cultural identity?
I don’t think my values and beliefs are reflective of the broader community. My immediate and extended family have encouraged an attitude of questioning different aspects of beliefs and ideas, and I think my beliefs and values are reflective of that upbringing rather than blindly following a cultural norm.
- How do your dietary and domestic practices (i.e. hygienic routines, meals and mealtimes, food choices, daily chores) reflect your cultural identity?
I live in the United States currently, and my domestic practices are mostly reflective of my environment here. However, that is not the same with my dietary methods, which is heavily influenced by the environment I grew up in. I am vegetarian, which reflects on my cultural upbringing, and I generally tend to explore dietary options that are more similar to Indian cuisine taste-wise.
- How does your region or location in the world reflect your cultural identity?
I grew up in India, but live in the United States. My region and location do not really indicate my cultural identity. But, I can say that my neighborhood is reflective of a generally progressive familial background I grew up in.
- Describe a time when you were judged, excluded, or misunderstood because of one of the cultural traits noted above.
I was probably judged or excluded the most number of times because of a relatively liberal mindset in a conservative environment. My family has generally tried to balance cultural norms and their liberal thoughts, often being sandwiched by the two. I think I carry the same dilemma even today – when I start viewing my non-traditional ideas through a cultural lens, not being able to dissect the two and view them as two separate entities. The clothes I wore, my accessories and my beliefs many times did not follow a general social norm and were seen more as an outlier. An outlier in India was generally unacceptable, resulting in exclusion.