Where are you from?

Ask me where I am from, I appreciate your curiosity. However, do not build predetermined ideas about my personality based on what you think you know about "where I am from", because you might not be accurate.

Photo by 2Photo Pots on Unsplash

I have never been a curious child. Growing up, I learnt to sort information that I have interest in and entitled to know and information I am interested in but it is not necessarily a legit one for e.g. someone else’s private life, including their decisions, vulnerabilities, etc. If people shared something with me, I kept it with utmost confidentiality and discretion because my expectation from them was the same. Throughout childhood, my words, outfits, public conduct were tailored for the image that were a necessity of the circumstances. I was taught to be mindful of every demonstrated behavior, choose words with care and learn to interact maturely with the outside world. Years went on, carrying myself in such way became organic. And by the time of my 18th birthday, there was already absolutely nothing that scared or stunned me about this world. I had it all and saw it all. Through joy and sadness, the worldly composure turned into an inevitable part of my identity. Those experiences exhausted me in every way. I wanted normal. So I traveled much more often than usual. Everything outside of my posh Astana seemed normal and something I would wanna taste. The more I went abroad, the more I dealt with a completely different type of curiosity.

A curiosity called “where are you from?”

It is a question I never knew how to answer correctly. 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?

Trying to be accepted as normal, I opted for talking about the country because that is what everyone did. Then I noticed a phenomenon that quite did not match the perception I have about myself. People were building opinions and attitude towards me based on my country’s political and economic (in)significance in the global arena. They had created a predetermined idea about my personality, ambitions, values, perspective decisions based on what they know about the country’s statistical rankings or GDP. It was such a delusional thinking of theirs. I thought it was time to show everyone where I am actually from, not the country, but the world: a spectacular one. A world, membership of which made me full of demand to the rest of the world. A world that turned me into ‘I will not accept anything less than I so deserve’. A world that taught me to be easily accessible but impossible to define.

Making every effort to introduce them to it was not always easy, and explaining how it is structured, and how I, as a product of that world, am structured was not less complicated. I am kind and diplomatic at all times, and have been brought up to speak to everyone in their own language and to never abandon the identity I build over the years. Talking to an ambassador or talking to an orphan, the same rule applies: delicacy combined with awareness. KYA=Know Your Audience.

Explaining where I am actually from to others hasn’t gone smoothly especially when some of the people I met have not been exposed to it, even in the smallest way. So a sudden thought run across my mind, if I always have to deal with some type of curiosity at different levels – considering a public relations career should be an option. I will claim a decade of experience in dealing with people who were inappropriately unhealthily curious and have I always given them what they were seeking?

Little at a time!

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...


Why Self-Reflection and Curiosity Support Intellectual Growth

by Erin Partridge
swissmediavision/Getty Images

Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From — Ask What Drives Me

by Olga V. Mack
Challenge your negative narratives and empower yourself

14 Questions to Challenge Your Negative Narratives

by Lyssa deHart, LICSW, MCC

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.