threads of our fabric

Reflections on navigating between two cultures and understanding the self-awareness process

Values and ideals: I am… December 5, 2011

Can one really complete this sentence?…I feel that it’s one of the sweet puzzling mysteries of life. To be honest, who I am is quite fluid and dynamic. It seems like every new life stage often brings new transitions and definitions of who I am. I remember when I graduated college, oh wow…I was such an optimistic then, believing that anything is possible, life had finally just begun! My personality then or the “Who I am…” reflected this train of thought, extremely bubbly, lively, and fun. One thing was unquestionably sure I was still naïve with navigating the new challenges of this transition period. Especially having to work and attend graduate school full time, while trying to somehow have a social life. Such is life, you live and learn but having an internal compass of values and identity definitely helps with orienting one towards making right the choices in life.

This week’s discussion topic on our Facebook page – African Girl Development in the U.S. (hyperlink) – was:

How do you think our African values can be used as a means of nurturing and prodding one another towards fulfilling our dreams/passions?…What are your thoughts?

As usual, the reflections were thought-full and thought-provoking. I do enjoy reading particularly from our African brothers. You cannot have complete and informative gender development conversations without having both sides represented at the discussion table. Overall the main themes that emerged throughout this past week included:

  • Culture equips an individual with the values that enables s/he to function and contribute in society
  • Identity or self-knowledge is crucial to succeed in unfamiliar surroundings
  • Values such as respect, hardwork, and determination will always transcend cultural boundaries and enable one to thrive in new environments

My take on this week’s topic is that when we (African sisters) recognize and encourage the strengths and positive traits in each other, that simple act can be a strong boost towards success. We can truly be our sister’s keeper because we share commonalities of a cultural heritage with very strong long-established traditions, beliefs, and values. When we choose to see the beautiful qualities that make each African sister unique, I believe therein lies the secret of complete Self acceptance. Additionally, I feel it is for our best interest to embrace our unique cultural values because when we reject them, we reject a fundamental part of who we are.

When I am fully me and you are fully you, together WE ARE…

Mirrored reflections of perfection, for I recognize that I cannot be unless YOU ARE…

Completely consumed and present in being, So therefore I AM…

Oh what a vision, unstoppable, strong, but above all full of potential being realized.