Hello ! I am Maria Anne Fitzgerald and this is my research blog. I am presently a research scholar in geography and an emerging feminist geographer by practice. My blog is an accompaniment of my PhD research study.
I started my blog with the idea of wanting to share my story - the story of being born into a cross-cultural family. Its a story I know that will have some connection with yours. Maybe you're wearing similar shoes or you know someone who is, or unconsciously, even mistakenly passed a remark about someone who has got them on. Growing up as a child, there were tendencies to find comfort in the 'exactness' of things. As I grew older, I very eagerly even tried to solve my own life's verbal equation - 'Where exactly are you from ?' and more crassly, 'Who exactly are you ?'. There grew a feeling of uneasiness. After repeated attempts of trying to solve my answer, I realized -NO, there's nothing wrong with me. It's just been unsettling for them to print my answer. And so I resorted to 'makingspace'.
This impulsive need to make space stems from my personal experiences. My cross-cultural parentage of an Anglo-Indian father and a Malayali mother has brought many twists and turns along my journey. Born in Thiruvalla, a town in the southern state of Kerala, and raised in metropolitan Kolkata, the capital of the eastern state of West Bengal, mapping my coordinates has proven to be problematic for some people. They, in turn, have questioned or made me question where I belong. During my school and college days at two of the finest institutions in the city, my 'crossing cultures' played a lesser role than my religious and cultural identity.
Moving out to pursue higher studies in Delhi was pivotal in me realizing my cross-cultural identity. Eyes and words seemed to scan my cultural genes. It brought unwanted attention to the ambiguity of my location as I was constantly asked "Accha batao, tum actually kaha se ho?"(Tell me, where are you actually from?). This prompted me to question my own composition - 'Who exactly am I?', 'Where do I belong?'. I began justifying and seeking validation for mapping my own coordinates and location.*memories rush back*. *pauses*.
Deciding to blog in my own words is a 'personal' choice - one that not only attempts to provide answers to these question(s) but also liberates me from the preconceived stereotypes of region, religion, place, and culture. I have almost reached the point of saturation in terms of being boxed-in, labelled, and made to fit descriptions of stereotypes. Choosing to break out of the mold has taken determination and courage. I realize that the answers to verbal equations of my identity and belonging do not require validation because they ARE different and NOT invalid. I hope you find connections and comfort in the stories stories posted here and perhaps even the courage to share your own too. More importantly, I wish it inspires you to 'come out' and write your own story! I can be contacted at email@example.com.