A square peg in a round hole. That was what I felt. My saving grace was the fact that there was a big Chinese community in Indo and I had lots of friends that were in a similar position and I grew up with lots of relatives and cousins. When the riot happened in 1998, I felt sick to my stomach that my Chinese facial features could have made me a target of attacks (FYI my family was safe), but there were others who were in a similar position, so I didn't feel alone and I was definitely not alone. We tried looking out for one another as a group and we tried to stay home as much as we could. After the political situation got better in Indo, I started to be more at ease and the older I got, the more I came to terms with the non-native idea. I'm a citizen of the world, native to none and that's OK.
Now, after having lived in Finland for a little over 8 years, I'm partly Chinese-Indonesian, partly Finnish, and partly Indonesian. Even with this hodgepodge of cultures within me, I can still find other people like me relatively easily through the wonder of the internet and as an expat in Finland, it's again relatively easy to find other expats and relate to them.
Being a childless-not-by-choice woman, though, that took the isolation to a whole new level as regular people (even those that didn't lack empathy in other areas) couldn't really relate to this. The first time I used the world "infertile" in my emails to my closest friends, their reaction was so strong that it made me feel as though I had jinxed myself for using that word to describe myself. Yet I desperately needed the term to find my support group, to find those people who could understand and validate my inner chaos (and thereby validate that I wasn't a bad person just because I had my inner chaos). After we decided to let go of this dream, I started using the term non-mom or childless-not-by-choice (CNBC) as my self-identification in order to find my support group.
That said, these days I've started thinking more about labels and how I'd like to call myself. All through these years there's one thing that never changes about me: I LOVE exploring my own thoughts and feelings and finding out why I feel the way I feel and then figuring out what to do with them. I enjoy the ecstasy of screaming out "EUREKA!" when I finally find out why I feel the way I feel, even way before I can figure out what to do with them.
So hereby I'd like to declare my current badge: I'm an Eternal Self-Explorer. Nice to meet you. :-)
Image taken from here