Writer’s Journal #8 – Fast-Writes
How does your outward appearance (i.e. clothing, makeup, hairstyle, accessories, etc.) reflect your cultural identity?
I don’t really care much about my appearance, so I think this reflects negatively on my cultural identity. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t look like I get dressed in the dark, I pay attention to not be wearing too many colors or not overdoing it, but I give appearance a secondary role in life. I think this sets me with the people who come across as not loving themselves and not very sociable, though I am the opposite. I generally love being in the company of other people, though I also love being alone and chilling.
How do your behaviors and practices (i.e. rituals, daily activities, routines, habits, etc.) reflect your cultural identity?
I am hardly ever involved in routine, as I like to keep my life unpredictable and full of surprises. I don’t have any particular habits, if not I tend to binge activities and get bored with them after a while. I am inconsistent in some activities in my life, which I think reflects my being a young adult in a Western society, more specifically living in Italy, where it is easy to have access to a series of activities and resources that make the choice very difficult. It’s easy to decide to start playing football because it’s the national sport; all the same, it’s easy to get bored with it because of how much inflation there is about it.
How do your beliefs and values (i.e. opinions, commitments, memberships, principles, etc.) reflect your cultural identity?
I feel that my beliefs and values paint a weird picture of my identity, even to myself. Probably because I have never reflected much on what beliefs I have and tend to live a carpe diem style of life. My commitment is to be the best person I can be, not harm others, help the youth improve and be better people and make sure my family is safe and sound. I don’t have any membership, I don’t believe entering politics can help because power corrupts people. If we could all make sure the circle around us is the best it can be, no politics would be necessary., But humans are a bad species at heart, so that’s just utopic for me to think. So I don’t think I have a specific identity in this sense, if not maybe of a superficial person who isn’t engaged because he’s too lazy. I can agree with that, actually.
How do your dietary and domestic practices (i.e. hygienic routines, meals and mealtimes, food choices, daily chores) reflect your cultural identity?
My diet would make a nutritionist stab me. I have no diet, I eat what I like and when I like it and I don’t complain too much about my gut being prominent. I try to exercise a little bit more because I’m aware it’s not good for me, and if I want to see 50 at least, I need some kind of rule. I am a clean person, in this society that really gives a lot of importance to all senses, including smell, I think it’s key to fall in the ranks and stay clean. Fortunately, we have access to clean, running water and an agonizingly broad choice of soaps, deodorants and perfumes, so there are no excuses if not terrible laziness or a lack of the sense of smell, to not having an impeccable personal hygiene.
How does your region or location in the world reflect your cultural identity?
I live in Italy and this has influenced a number of things in my identity: for one, I am generally late, though in Italy if you’re under 15 minutes late it’s not considered rude, but standard. They are called “academic quarter of an hour”. Go figure. Also gesticulating has become part of my identity: when I speak to Italians, it comes automatically, though when I speak to other nationalities this doesn’t happen. I guess I have adapted in time to understand who I have in front of me and use the same language to communicate with them. I feel this also reflects on the way I see the other nations in the world, and I can notice it by the way I listen to the news. I am currently less interested in my local news and more fascinated by what’s happening overseas.
Describe a time when you were judged, excluded, or misunderstood because of one of the cultural traits noted above.
When I was a child and went to elementary school, I was one of the first children with mixed parents (Mom’s Italian, Dad’s American) who was being raised by a single mother. This caused some of my classmates and other kids in the school to treat me differently, mainly because I used to eat my own packed lunch (usually PB&J’s) in the cafeteria while all the other kids ate pasta and lasagna and pizza and other typical Italian dishes. My diet identified me as American, which was not really accepted. I live near an Air Force base, so the American presence was really important, though not really welcome by somememberss of the local community. This translated to me and I was often excluded from games, not invited to parties and generally shunned.