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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 am interested in and entitled to know and information I have an interest 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.  Since I became a teenager, my words, outfits, public conduct were tailored for the image that were a necessity of the circumstances. I was told to be careful with every behavior to be demonstrated, choose words with care and selectively provide access to information that concerns me and my family to the outside world. Years went on, my cautiousness 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! 

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