“I’m not Turkish anymore” is what she kept hearing. I’m not sure if it was an argument – I am Turkish among many things but choose to simply identify with ‘writer’.
When one finds themselves in a new country, especially as a youngster, the most natural thing is to try to fit in. This was not the case for me. I always felt like an outsider in the U.S. The ideals on which the country was found – liberty, independence, free market, pursuit of happiness (often with material things) and dare I say it, guns, always seemed strange and artifical.
I remember watching the Eurythmics video for King and Queen of America – I was obsessed with them in my teenage years – and being struck by the imagery of a man and a woman in their track suits shopping in a supermarket with he look of utter emptiness on their faces. The other images from the video were of Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart dressed as Marilyn Monroe and Elvis. From where I’m standing today, those images sum up the U.S. in my eyes.
A country that’s brought us the most recognisable icons of the 20th century, which I appreciate but the wild consumerism and the relentless pursuit of anything, be it the dollar, happiness, cars, women and simply anything and everything that’s superficial, material and on the outside, does not honour the human spirit as I see it.
We are not natural born predators.
Maybe this is why I quit my plum job at the U.S. Consulate and came to Australia. Who knows?
So how do I see the human spirit?
Introspective. Complicated. Wanting love above all. Simply the most wonderful thing when inspired and the most miserable and destructive when the connection with a higher creative source is cut off (this could be from dependence on filling hours with work and pursuit of material things to avoid introspection and mood altering substances to switch off any pain).
I can go on and on about my observations of the human spirit and how it manifests in different scenarios and yes, leads to epic drama but you’re not here for that. It’s boring. It’s me telling you from a high horse the abstractions of humanity.
So back to my own struggle with Turkish-ness. It hurt when my dearest friend – I’ve known her since we were 7 or so – kept telling me I’m Turkish. Perhaps she didn’t. That’s how I received her message and it drilled a hole in me. Oh God, I’ve come so far, have obtained a U.S. citisenship and now on my way to an Australian citisenship and I’m still Turkish?
What the fuck?
From the hole that was drilled in me, all my ideas of how much I’ve grown and matured as a person, identifying more with the universe, started leaking out.
Then in the mirror my dark roots made themselves very apparent.
A few months before, my hair was bleached and after the shampoo and conditioning in the hair salon, I ran my fingers through my hair and my hair ended up in my hands in large clumps.
My hairdresser ignored it.
That was the breaking point for me.
It showed me that my hair could no longer take going against its nature. Also it broke off the relationship I had with my hairdresser. He didn’t care that my hair was coming off in clumps and that I may be left bald if I maintained my bleached blondness.
So how did my roots show me the way?
My hair is determined by my DNA. Very Turkish, very dark and nature demanded that I go back to my roots.
So yes, cousin, Turkey is always with me and when I look at things, I am to a degree looking with my Turkish lens on.
When I went to another hairdresser to dye my hair to match my roots so that I can go back to my original colour, we had an insightful chat. Person to person.
He’s an Englishman from London and has been living in Australia for 6 years. When he and his wife go back to London, they pick and choose the people they spend time with. Otherwise, it’s torture.
So, the emotional burden of visiting over ten households spread out all across Istanbul’s population of 20 million is now out of the question. I will make it a priority to ONLY VISIT THOSE WHO FEEL ME.
I have three people I must see while I’m in Turkey and if you’re reading this, you’re one.
For others, I will see you if I can find the time.
I hope this is an agreeable solution to the problem we face with too much to do and too little time. I want quality over quantity going forward and I hope you do too.
And yes, my new hairdresser observed my hair carefully and I got every sense that he wanted to do right by me and by my hair. I think it’s the beginning of a good professional relationship.
So, I guess what I’m trying to say is, you can be from the same country, or even the same family, but if you don’t listen, observe and care for someone, in short, have an active relationship with them, then you are no closer to that person than their hairdresser.
To me, nothing is more valuable than relationships I have with people who are a valuable part of my life.
Again, if you’re here, reading this, you’re a VIP.