Having grown up with deep attachment towards common sense, logic, kindness, neutrality and nothing else, it was quite difficult for me to tell the world who I am as part of a particular cultural group. To a question “where are you from?”, I used to never know what to answer. Should I have talked about the country or the world I am from? Do those two intersect even? How do I explain my ambiguity to others?
According to Google search, cultural ambiguity refers to the influence of different cultures. A user is culturally ambiguous if he or she has been influenced by different cultural groups and/or carries a cultural identity that cannot be clearly assigned to a certain territory. The cultural ambiguity that I had made me stand out from the crowd, give people that I interact with a lack of predictability that created collision at times, which altogether I attempted to avoid but it was inevitable. As a clear communicator, an aspiring contributor to world peace and intercultural conversation, and an adult with mature personality, I navigate through the globe with grace, gratitude and great respect towards others.
While I grew up hearing from my parents that my career is one of the most important things in life, they reassured me repetitively that there is one thing that is the most important:
My identity, that is separate from my personal, academic and professional success, group membership or social status.
After many years of traveling across cultures, I understood that my upbringing and family environment are the foundation of a firm and fierce identity of mine. An identity that is guided by kindness towards people, sufficient moral and ethical sophistication, and common sense. An identity that is perhaps rootless and foreign to some. I was taught to see human nature beyond its nationality, age, gender, social group belonging and the ability to speak to everyone regardless of who they are and where they are from is a skill I’ve been cultivating over a very long period of time and this is what I do best.
During the course of several geographical relocations, I’ve always stayed true to myself, never imitated anyone but rather integrated, which was relatively easy given my openness to people and cultures. I am Kazakh in name, global in spirit and very much culturally ambiguous.