University was a great time. A time to be more independent and discover myself more without fear of critique.
It gets tiring answering the same question frequently ‘where are you from?’
It was during this time I stated to embrace my ‘other’ heritage and not feel ashamed of it. Shame is a heavy burden as is denial. It is hard when you are not given the space to discuss, ask questions or explore what your identity means because your immediate role model was not equipped with the tools nor confidence to tackle this very personal subject matter either.
However I decided that university was the start of my own journey, my journey to unpick the any questions I had regarding my identity.
It became quite simple.
Talking about my mum’s mixed heritage and adoption factually. How we do not know about her background aside from her mother being Indian and father being British. How her adoptive parents were progressive, adopting children from different countries post Second World War. How her birth parents relationship was not acceptable out of wedlock nor due to it being interracial or so we were told. Who truly knows?
That was it.
But it still felt very therapeutic just being very literal about the facts. We knew what we knew and that was that. I embraced the ‘difference’ and celebrated it instead of being shrouded in shame. It was liberating. It marked the start of an era.
The next chapter was to travel.
To fulfill an ambition.
So I turned 25 and two weeks later I was traveling 6000 miles to Tokyo, Japan by myself.
It was exciting. A new found confidence emerged and talking more about my mums background became easier. As did meeting new people and exploring a new culture. Albeit East Asian not South Asian. But it was one of the best experiences of my life.
Which led to more intrigue. How do I found out more? What are the procedures to retrieve more information? How would my mum feel about it? And her Father, my grandfather who was very dear to us?
A lot of questions to be answered. A lot of avenues to explore. It suddenly felt overwhelming.