Finding security{in in}security

August 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

My mother loves taking me to her events. As I have gotten older I’ve learned to accept them…a little. Sometimes it’s an outdooring, other times it’s a funeral, but this time it was a young woman’s party for graduating from nursing school.  To outsiders this event could also be known as “Rocky’s time to explain why she didn’t do something in the medical field” either way I get to see family that I haven’t in a long time, eat free food, and dance with reckless abandon. We were ridiculously late once again and in reference to our conversation about my love of African fashion my mom says “this isn’t a fashion show Rocky don’t think you have to put on your best disaster”. I laugh and emerge from my room with my styled masterpiece.  I had on a green Ankara print top with jeans and 4 inch heels, I knew from her face she was annoyed. Like a mosquito that keeps returning to bite the same spot you have scratched countless times, my mom dislikes when I wear my Ankara print with jeans.

From my mother’s perspective I am distilling my ‘Africanness’ and making it more palatable for American onlookers.  In my eyes I am finding unique ways to represent both of my identities fashionably and stylishly. What it means to be African will always be different to my mom and me, but what we can learn is to find security in the identity that makes insecure. The security I find in my American identity my mom finds in her Ghanaian one and the insecurity I feel in my Ghanaian identity my mom feels in her American one. At each intersection we are connected and experience similar feelings of fear, rejection and uncertainty. I always focused on the story of my experiences being a child of the Diaspora struggling to find definition but I was forgetting my mom experienced the same duality. Our parents are not the same people they were when they emigrated 20, 30, 40 years ago. My mom’s perspective has been shaped by her experiences in America as well.

What we can learn from one another is a comfortable way to rest in the middle, a way to sit between two at times opposing cultures and represent them with grace. I have found fashion the language to comfortably communicate my insecurity. Learning, decoding and translating my mother’s is my full time job and while some things I will never understand I can respect and embrace our insecurities.

For now my style is the medium that I demonstrate my love and pride in all parts of me insecure and otherwise.

Peace ❤

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