I would like to have the opening with a big word which chases me around all these years. And I hope all the best for myself and for you all just to keep everything a little laidback cause’ who knows me also knows that I have a loose/laidback personality so they’ll get it that I’m just trying to avoid a formal vision of what I’m doing and for whom doesn’t know me at all I humbly trust their understanding.
This word just runs around my brain with several question marks all related to each other; about being myself, being a woman, being far away and missing something…
So let’s start with the first question and then the rest will follow: where am I from? I’ve been born and grown up in Istanbul in a shiny little town called Bebek. I’m the second born of a mother from Manisa and a father from Rize. Which means I’ve been born and I already belong to four different identities; Turkey, Istanbul, Bebek and my family. In those years of my childhood after year 5, we were having this huge exam to be selected for the accredited public or the private colleges. The students, well considering our young ages it’s better to say our parents were preparing the list of these schools those are aimed to be enrolled in, so all was depending on our parents cultural, educational and most likely on their emotional levels. On the other hand, this wasn’t changing that much after all because all was depending on the vote you were getting from this huge exam.
It was not possible for us to understand the importance of this decision. So as the rest of my generation I was destined to go to one of the schools of my mother’s list. I remember she’s telling me to write Italian Highschool at the end of the list. I still can’t get how she could have been so open-minded and chose that college for me, I reckon she wanted me to do everything she couldn’t when she was young or just Italian was sounding so cool. Well anyway, I’ve got into this Italian High school. I still remember the tears in my eyes because I wanted to go to Galatasaray High school which is my favourite soccer team’s high school. Well, I said that we were too young for this kind of huge decisions.
When I completed high school I was still from Istanbul, Bebek but I’ve added more identities that I was belonging as I was/am from Italian Highschool, I was/am a big supporter of the big soccer team Galatasaray and I have new friends.
When I had to choose the University I had to face another imposition from my dad’s side this time. He ordered me that if I wanted to go to Uni I had to choose a country except for Turkey and the USA. After years I understood this was because my dad saw the political violence and military coup in the 80s and he didn’t want me to turn into a communist. Poor dad if he just knew about University of Padova he would have thanked God for the University of Istanbul.
Anyways with my ending teenage years till 25 I lived in Padova. At first, I was craving for going back to my country, whenever I saw an image from Turkey or Istanbul I ended up with tears in my eyes. In time this craving transformed and became a two-sided arrow, I was still missing Turkey but when I was in Turkey I was also missing my home and just wanting to go back. I reckon that was the time when all my socio-cultural values, my national identity, my traditions up sided down. I’ve added new identities I was quite an Italian, I was/am from the University of Padova and I have more friends.
After completed my studies unfortunately and unwillingly I had to go back to Turkey. After my return, I felt less and less Turkish. It became more and more complicated in time. Maybe it was because I spent all those important years of the life when a person gathers his/her personality in another country or maybe because I was totally another person when I came back or it was just everything was so different than before. Even my family’s place in my existence was changed; they were adapted to live without having me around and I was able to stand on my feet without them. It was not about love it was just about belonging to somewhere, or better for me it was about “not to belong” to somewhere. It took a couple of years for me to decide that I had to go but it took longer to do it but I’ve never stopped wanting it and when it was the time to leave I’ve left a totally different country behind me. Everything was so different than 10 years ago, there were no places left from my youth or nor the visuals of them. This time I was just missing my people and I was missing my other country Italy.
Today when I ask myself if I belong to anywhere I have just one answer, I left the idea of being a part of just one place years ago. I keep enlarging the borders and I say I belong to so many places; to the places where I am with my family, to places where I win my bread, where I have my loved ones, where I spent my years, where I lived my most precious moments and to the places where I will live more of them.
To get this conclusion I just had to trust my gut and not to ignore my desires. It may also require to be a bit selfish or better to say not to forget Myself which is my bestie is and to keep her always in the first place. Nobody will give up on her/himself or his/her dreams for me, thank God, and I hope they won’t do it for no one else either. I’ve realized this after my 30s and since then I just try not to give up on my dreams or myself for no one. Susanna Tamaro explains lots of thing with just the title of a book “Follow your Heart”. I’ll keep following mine, I keep looking for new places and people to belong to and all these places and my beautiful people define who I am and I believe this makes me a citizen of the world. I wish you all to follow your beautiful hearts…