A few weeks ago I stayed up until 1 AM (this is a big deal) to talk on the phone with a group of women scattered around the world. We were all part of Dialogue 2010.
Dialogue 2010 is the brainchild of Rose Deniz, an artist, writer and designer from Wisconsin, now living in Turkey. In collaboration with Expat+Harem author (and goddess) Anastasia Ashman, they produced Dialogue 2010 to be a platform for people living a “hybrid life,” to convene and collaborate.
What’s a hybrid life? It’s a life in between and across cultures: an American married in Turkey, a Dutchess living in Seattle and the daughter of Turkish immigrants who grew up in Brooklyn.
I’ve spent my entire life switching between conservative Turkish Muslim traditions and free-thinking American independence. It was not something I enjoyed. But it wasn’t until I was chatting with nine other ladies who were located in Seattle, Idaho (via Beijing), Istanbul, Prague, and Rome did I realize that I was so angry about it.
“What have you had to leave behind in order to live more fully?” was one of the questions Rose posed to us. We had already discussed how each of us defines a hybrid life and how had our worldview shifted as a result of location.
“Anger,” I immediately jumped in. “I had to let go of how angry I was about living amid a conservative and traditional culture within an open and encouraging society.” Ironically, as I said it I wondered, “am I still angry?”
As I listened to the others talk about letting go of expectations of themselves as well of others and letting go of fear I realized that I am angry – and I couldn’t be happier.
We often think of anger as a destructive, negative emotion. For the most part it is. What occurred to me during Dialogue 2010 was that my anger is defensive, and what has allowed me to keep a hybrid identity.
Too often we’re forced or force ourselves into a single social group or order. I have refused to choose between my Turkish and American self. And my anger is precisely about that. It’s about defending the ability to live between two cultures, against a world that tells me to choose just one. I want and need to be a Turkish-American.
So Dialogue 2010 ladies, I change my mind, I’ll take my anger with me.