What advice would you give your teenage self?
When I was a teenager, I was living in London, England. That was already Country #4 for me. I knew that country wasn’t going to work out for me, but I felt stuck there. I talked so much about how I wanted to move away. Now that I know what a Third Culture Kid is and that it is an identity, not just words on a page, here’s what I would say:
“I can see you’re going through a lot right now. I see your struggles and that others don’t believe them because they see you as a dumb teenager. What you are going through is completely valid and normal. It’s okay to both grow up fast and yet mature slowly. Identity crises are normal for TCKs, but you will learn to manage them.”
“Don’t give up on finding who you are and where you fit in this world. Find your people, and also spread the word about TCKs. Don’t let anyone put you in a box where you don’t belong. Set boundaries, while still being compassionate and empathetic. Just because you were born in a UN city and diplomatic doesn’t mean you don’t have opinions. The world is built for monocultural people, but find a way as a multicultural person. There will be cultural barriers in every country, but you need to decide what you can live with and what you can’t. You’ll find the country that fits you eventually.”
I know teenage me was missing a lot of love and acceptance and that’s what I would show myself while giving advice. As a teen, I hated adults thinking they could tell me how to run my life because somehow they thought they knew everything. I learned to spot BS a mile away though! Any time someone said they knew everything, it was all I could do to not laugh in their face! People should be respectful to each other when giving advice, no matter their ages.
So, that’s my answer. What do you think?