Identity Crisis

Friday, December 23, 2011


My family and I are all Indonesian by citizenship. However, we are of Chinese descendants. My father is son of Chinese couple (my grandpa and grandma) who moved to Indonesia and became Indonesian citizens. My mother is daughter of Chinese man and Javanese woman. So, basically I have Chinese blood in me.

This, however, doesn't really show in my look.

People have often mistaken me as Sundanese or Manado girls (both are specific ethnicity Indonesian girls with whiter skin tone etc.). Very few can have me pinned down as 'Chinese' from the first meeting. Most people are shocked when they know that I am of Chinese descendant. Their responds are usually, 'Ah, masa?! Tapi kamu gak sipit! Aku kira kamu Manado/Sunda.' ('Oh, really?! But your eyes are not small! I thought you were Manado or Sundanese.')
And to be honest, this brings about some kind of 'identity crisis' for me. Especially, since I am surrounded with Chinese culture and people: my family, most of my friends, my boyfriend and his family... It has also become my standard of beauty, Chinese: white skin, smaller eyes, straighter hair...
Therefore, I am really afraid of getting exposed to the sun too much - worried that my skin tone will get darker, and it will be even much harder to recognize me as 'Chinese'. And even, I always straighten my hair every year (my original hair is very wavy).

I like it best when at special occasions (that I can't figure out when exactly, nor how to 'replicate' it) I look more like a Chinese.

It boosts my confidence. Cos usually, no matter how good I look that day, if I feel that I don't look 'Chinese enough' on that day I can't say sincerely, 'Okay, I look decent.' This identity crisis and my efforts to resemble my 'ancestors' are even deepened by my liking of K-Pop Stars: SNSD, and the fact that I am surrounded with pretty Chinese girls as my friends. hhas

Now, don't get me wrong though. I am not being racist or trying to say that Chinese looks better than Indonesian. Nooo. hhas I, for a matter of fact, have quite a lot of Indonesian in my list of people that i reckon very, very beautiful. It's just me. That haven't found my 'inner peace', or haven't made peace with my appearance. hhas I know that I have my own beauty (not to pat myself on the back), people mention that several times - that I look sweet, or cute, or even beautiful at times. I just haven't had strong enough grip on it.
I believe in inner beauty, that's for sure. But as a perfectionist, I can't rest until I have it both perfect, inner and outer beauty. hhas and too bad that I have the somewhat wrong sense of my outer beauty.

I really need to get a grip on it: I might have Chinese blood inside me, but I am an Indonesian. Lucky that I can have both the beauty of these two amazing cultures and ethnicity. In the new year, I shall try to accept my appearance and love it more to the fullest. That I am who I am regardless how I look. That I am beautiful, just as every woman on this planet Earth.

PS. I'm not saying that in the new year I will stop straightening my hair, though! :p I consider it necessary - my original wavy hair is lion's-like and very messy, very difficult to have it done! I just hope that I will be doing that not out of insecurity due to this 'identity crisis' anymore. But really out of practicality and aesthetics. Yeah. Fingers crossed.

For every beauty there is an eye somewhere to see it.
-Ivan Panin


Post a Comment