Where are you from?
I don’t know about you, but it’s a question I get asked pretty much every time I meet someone new. And each time I give a different answer, because honestly? There are so many different ways I could define where I come from it’s hard to stick to one.
I don’t know why people think it’s crucial to ask where others are from, and (even worse) to challenge their answer when it isn’t what they wanted to hear, but it’s got me thinking about where I really am from, and how I personally define that.
In my opinion there are two ways you can define ‘where you’re from’ – the genes in your body and the places you’ve lived.
The genes in your body
When I get asked where I’m from, I know this is what people really want to know – what is your genetic makeup? Where do your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents come from?
When it comes to people I don’t know, I get a bit cagey with this, because why the f*ck do you need to know my heritage?! How is that information that helps you get to know me?!
I’m sure for most people it’s just small talk, but sometimes it can come across as quite invasive and rude, especially when they press me to say…
Anyways, I guess my ancestry is quite interesting, so I’m going to break it down for you now. I’m pretty much a melting pot of cultures, I’m made up for quarters, and if you go far enough back, probably even smaller pieces than that.
I’m 1/4 English. 1/4 Jamaican. 1/4 French and 1/4 Ukrainian
Well, that’s at least what my parents have told me. I may have grown up middle class in a peaceful village of Surrey, but my family is incredibly diverse and I’ve been fortunate enough to experience and enjoy a multitude of cultures.
When I tell people that breakdown, their eyes light up. It’s definitely a talking point, and it is interesting, but sometimes I don’t really want to share that part of me, because it doesn’t define who I am.
In fact, when people ask I always say: London. In my opinion, that is where I’m from, and it’s how I most accurately define ‘me’ and what experiences have shaped the person I am now.
The places you’ve lived
Excluding the flat I live in now and my time at university in Exeter, I’ve only ever lived in one house in my whole life. And typically, that home and the life I had growing up in it is automatically what I think of when people ask me where I come from.
London has always felt like home for me, I remember the adrenaline rush I would get as I spotted the London Eye while my train pulled in to Waterloo from Exeter. It always felt good to be home.
The house I grew up in was just outside of London, but I spent so much time in the city I truly do feel like a Londoner, that’s where I’m from, where I originate from. It’s where I started my life and where I intend to stay.
Funnily, when I answer ‘where are you from?’ with London, I’m typically met with the follow up questions of ‘no, but really, where are you from?’ WHAT?! It’s so frustrating when people question this and almost demand to know where my family originate from.
Maybe I’m just more of a nurture than a nature person, but I really think where you’re from depends on the environment you think has most impacted on your life and development.
Whoops, got a bit sciencey there…but I would love to know how you answer ‘where are you from?’
How do you define the person you are?
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