Becoming American

I may not have been born in America, but I grew up here. We moved from Curacao when I was four and I stayed until I was 23. From there, it has been a lot of back and forth between America and Ireland for me. But I have always been American, just my status as an Alien Resident said otherwise.

It is a strange thing to feel so American, sound so American, act so American, yet not fully be considered American for so many years. I also wouldn’t be considered fully Dutch, as I haven’t lived in the Netherlands since I was one. So, for the longest time, it was conflict between the Dutch side of me and the American. Figuring out which one I truly was.

If you ask me now, I’d say I’m both. I have my parent who raised us with Dutch traditions and the Dutch language, but I have my whole childhood and adulthood which made me American.

As of yesterday, October 6th, 2021, I can proudly say I am an American citizen. It was 27 years in the making, but it’s finally official.

It’s a weird sensation becoming a citizen, both an emotional one, but a calming one. Emotional, as I feel a big weight lifted off my shoulders, but also calming because I finally feel that I belong.

I will always consider myself to be Dutch American, never fully one or the other. It fills me with pride to have such background and I am honoured to be able to be both. But ‘American’ has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

Why Write?

My brothers keep asking me why I like to write and why I both bother to blog and journal. They also like to call me a ‘nerd.’ Which is fair because I definitely am one where reading and writing are concerned.

The answer to their question is that writing calms my mind. Besides reading it is one of the only things that does.

I have always been the quiet one in both my family and around my friends. I’m not shy, I just like to observe. Most of the time, I also just don’t have much to say. A lot of people talk too much, mostly about nothing at all.

Inside my mind though, it is always loud. I am always thinking, daydreaming, wondering. That’s the way it has always been for me, part of the group, but always in my own world.

Writing helps to calm that, to put all that in my mind on the page and release it. Sometimes it becomes easy to get lost in my thoughts and daydreams, writing brings me back.

I like how I can put whatever comes to mind to paper. It tends to be easier than speaking most of the time. Writing is my form of expression, where words come tumbling out, words about the vast array of thoughts that cross my mind a day. Words about the dreams I have. Words about that the nightmares and sorrows. Just words that set me free.

I wish everyone would write more, I believe it would make the world more peaceful. Get people to write their feelings down, both good and bad, their stories too. It would help us all understand each other better, as many never say the things they really believe or feel.

I wonder about that often. What would the person next to me write about if given an empty sheet of paper? Would it be deep or would it be carefree? Would I look at them the same after? Would I understand how they feel or what they see? Would it be dark and scary? Would it be happy and light? I wonder, I wonder, I wonder.

All with all these thoughts that spin in my mind, I wish my tongue would allow me to speak more freely. I wish I didn’t stop myself from saying all the things I feel and have felt. Why am I always so afraid? And so I write. There is no fear with the paper. Behind the pen I am me and for now that is enough.