Growing up as a TCK is confusing. While there are plenty of benefits, there are also plenty of challenges. Our existence is a double-edged sword, a blessing and a curse.
Growing up across East Africa to British parents has given me a confused understanding of what ‘Home’ is. Everything was fine as long as I was in international school, when I was constantly surrounded by other TCKs. I never had to think about it.
Going to university in the UK was what addled my brain. I spoke English and looked British, but I didn’t fit in at all. I didn’t know all sorts of simple things, from pop culture to how to use an ATM (who knew that a bank card works on any machine?!?). I was back in my parents' ‘Home’ country, but it didn’t feel like it to me.
Years later when I returned to Kenya I found out that I didn’t fit in there, either. As my grasp of the language had declined and I forgot certain customs, I realized that I didn’t properly belong. I didn’t look the part, and now I couldn’t act it. I was back in the country I had spent the most time in, but I felt like a stranger.
It was only once I met a sage TCK that I started to understand what was going on with me. He showed me that my experience was normal, and that we have a very challenging time wrapping our heads around what ‘Home’ is. Through sharing his experiences and affirming my own, he gave me the insight and courage to start to work through these issues. Because we live through so much transition, sometimes we never get to set our roots down.
With this in mind, I am hosting an online TCK Art Gallery on the theme ‘Home and Rootlessness.’ Often what we are struggling with can be overwhelming and confusing. This is made more challenging because most of the world is unfamiliar with the TCK experience. Art is a brilliant medium for processing these ideas. It can resonate with our souls when words don’t seem to be able to. Here is a beautiful example from Amelia Gibson, a TCK who from the UK/West Africa.
articularly for those who aren’t artistically inclined (like myself!), one of the best ways to find a voice in this confusion is to look to the work of others. This gallery is not only a chance to creatively express our own thoughts and ideas, but to connect with others and help give them a voice. To quote High School Musical, “We’re all in this together.”
Please get involved by checking out the gallery now that it is published. Share the word with the international community and invite them to join in the conversation!
You can view the extensive TCK Art Gallery curated by Aneurin, titled "Home and Rootlessness," here.