When I was young, I would be embarrassed whenever my parents spoke Korean to me in front of my friends. As a young child or even as a teenager, I wanted to fit in and not be different. I really didn’t like anything that further highlighted my differences. My battles were always to prove that I belonged or that I was just as capable as everyone else even though I looked different. Those were different times.
Today as a middle-aged adult, I try hard to be different, to stand out among the crowds. I look at problems from different angles and perspectives. I read books to expand my thinking. I question status quo. I listen to young people’s music and talk to them on social media platforms. Whenever the opportunity presents itself, I highlight my differences as an immigrant and proudly speak Korean with my parents in public. These are different times.
The world has changed and diversity of cultures are now generally appreciated rather than mocked. Also, I’ve changed and have become a more confident individual comfortable with who I am. If I had this same attitude when young, I’m sure that I wouldn’t be the same person I am today.