the path to finding oneself

Thotui, Entry 1.

If someone asks what I’ve been doing with my life in the last few years, an honest answer would be: I’ve been learning to cultivate myself so that I could be a decent person regardless of the society I live, or will live in. I don’t care if I’m too conscious, too ethical, or sound like a liberal-wannabe, I’m only afraid that I’m not all of these things enough. Being exposed to different cultures, habits and systems of value has allowed me to build my own standards (or principles). They are coherent with what I have integrated since my childhood (and I’m infinitely grateful to my family for that). They are also mutable, which means I will always stay open to new perspectives and new practices, and my “self” is not a fixed entity. Finally, they are rather universal, and not necessarily cultural. The more I live, the less I identify myself as “Vietnamese”. Not that I reject that part of my identity, on the contrary, I have grown to relativize my view on Vietnam and appreciate it more. I just don’t think that it’s always important to feel attached to a nation or ethnicity – such categories are only social construction; embedded with prejudices, they set boundaries to our self-definition. Of course the price to pay for inner independence is that we are on our own, deprived of the (illusory) sense of belonging, because we are not part of a collective anymore. But the journey to finding oneself is like travelling: the less luggages you carry, the less burdened you are, and the more room you will have for new experiences.

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