Tag Archives: Race

Longing to belong…

19 Jun

The Raven Girl, by Wayne McGregor and the Royal Ballet

Ok imagine this…It’s a bit of a strange concept but just go with it. There once was a postman seemingly quite depressed with a mundane lonely life, he went to what appeared to be some sort of sea side to relax and found an injured young bird (a Raven). He took the Raven home and took care of it and helped it fly again, the bird was released and he carried on with his life. He returned to the place where he found the Raven a few years later and the Raven he had helped was there. Ok now this is the strange bit… they had some sort of connection which happened to be love, yes a human and bird relationship. So he takes the bird home and they have their little interspecies relationship, which leads to an egg, lets avoid any thoughts of bestiality (is it still called that with a bird? :S ). Ok so the egg produces a half human half raven child, with an inclination towards being more human. She had human tendencies and capabilities such as learning to ride a bike, but as much as she tried she could not fly. Now the odd couple bring some suitcases as it is time for the Raven Girl to “fly the nest.” She leaves and travels around to try find a home, she comes across other humans who laugh at her because she can’t speak. She comes across other Ravens and they fly away from her. Throughout she has a bit of a stalker, who I think likes her. Later she comes across a professor giving a talk about interspecies mutants, she ends up in a relationship with the professor who operates on her to give her wings to help her fly and basically uses her as an experiment, there is some kerfuffle with the stalker guy and her parents and the professor gets killed. Then it comes to the end where she finds someone like her and they dance away in bliss.

Now what on earth am I talking about, if you have seen the show or read the book you might be aware that is my summarised take on ‘The Raven Girl’. It was a ballet performance that I was invited to go watch, I didn’t know much about what I was going to watch, so the above was just my interpretation of what I saw.
Ok, where am I going with this? Well though initially it was really confusing with its rather bizarre concept, I developed an understanding and connection with Raven Girl and thought perhaps it was a abstract take on a more general concept. I come from a multicultural family, my parents are not only a different race, but quite different cultures . I never really understood how that relationship ever came together, maybe not as strange as a man and a bird, but yea. This may or may not have been the intention of the author or choreographer, but this was a very clear connection I developed.

As a young child I found it easier to have two cultures and adapting to fit into each, however as I became a teenager I found it harder. I would try to be a part of a eastern culture and felt like an outsider, I was treated as someone that didn’t really understand how they live, things were translated and explained for me though I did have some understanding. Don’t get me wrong people made efforts to include me but I just didn’t feel like I was one of them. The same applied to the other side of the family, I was treated as foreign, I didn’t feel like I had the same views I didn’t feel comfortable enough to say I genuinely fitted in. The eastern and western difference in culture meant that the two families didn’t merge much so I would have to be almost two different people to fit in. Eventually I ended up taking a step away and isolating myself from both to try to develop who I am (which I still haven’t really found). This made me think could my confusion in myself be related to my mixed heritage, culture and upbringing. I personally think that having multiple ethnic backgrounds doesn’t necessarily affect self identity if the parents and family have a similar culture or are supportive of and embrace each other’s culture. If the couple do not appreciate each other’s culture and create a competitive and derogatory attitude to each other’s way of life then this would naturally have an impact on their children.

I am in no way trying to say that biracial relationships are a negative thing, I am simply talking about my own experience and how I feel. I love my racial diversity and this made me open to and gave me a greater understanding of others differences from a younger age, and developed my empathy and ability to try to think from other peoples mind set. However was this at the cost of knowing who I am? Is it a positive thing to have several personalities and not really know myself? Will I forever be in a state of longing to belong somewhere? Is it normal, do many people of mixed heritage feel this way? Do people from one racial or cultural background feel lost in regards to their identity too? If The Raven Girl is anything to go by, is finding yourself necessarily in finding someone like yourself, or is it simply in someone who can understand and accept you as you, help you find who you are without it having to reflect them?

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