I realised a while ago that I do not identify as British. English, to be precise. I was born in the uk and have barely travelled, but I do not think of myself as a patriot. I’m not proud to tell people I am English.
My culture is mostly a mix of American, Canadian, Japanese, Italian, and Australian. I grew up wishing I was at Bayside High or somewhere where I could wear Japanese clothes and have Hello Kitty merch. (In the early 90’s it was damn near impossible to get Hello Kitty stuff in the UK). I watched Neighbours and Home and Away, Ren and Stimpy, Saved by the Bell and Blossom. I watched Happy Days. I listened to Hanson, and as my tastes ‘matured’, Blink 182, Green Day, Bowling for Soup, Smashing Pumpkins, Foo Fighters – all of which I love to this day. My idols are Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, Aisha Tyler, and recently, Lindy West. My favourite comic is Scott Pilgrim.
“I grew up wishing I was at Bayside High or somewhere where I could wear Japanese clothes and have Hello Kitty merch.”
I feel like this mixture of influence has shaped who I am, and I’m ok with it. I’m lucky to have been born with privileges- I’m white, I’m heterosexual, I’m able bodied, I can walk down the street virtually invisible. I don’t want you to think I am ungrateful for all the things I have, I just don’t feel that any of it contributes to a national identity for me. I feel like the whole of me is made up by the rest of the world, and I don’t feel like”national pride” is something in my DNA.
The run up to Brexit gave me fatigue. There was lies from both sides, a ‘rivers of blood’ poster, having to side with Cameron (which boiled my piss), and desperate people trying to understand how to vote ‘right’.
“I don’t feel like”national pride” is something in my DNA.”
One thing that has come out of this wretched campaign has been that people want to be “proud to be British” and to “make Britain great again”. But I don’t feel proud. And I don’t feel great. I don’t think I ever have.
I just feel scared and numb. And like, maybe, it’s me who doesn’t belong.