So I am British Pakistani. But I am just as much as Asian as I am British. I love wearing shalwar kameez as much as I like wearing a bodycon dress. I still have my British politeness as I say sorry when I bump into a car but I have Pakistani anger when someone annoys me too much. The point is you don’t have to choose. You can be both and still manage to live life and make friends.
When I speak to some people, they think it is important to be one and specifically, important to be completely British. I don’t think that’s right, it is important to integrate into a culture and immerse yourself but it is also important to remember your roots. I love singing to romantic Bollywood song (Any Pakistani/Indian person who doesn’t belt out to ‘Kuch Kuch Hota hai’ or hasn’t watched ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’ at least once, are you even Asian?) But at the same time, I will cry my heart out to an Adele song and watch enjoy watching ‘Love Actually’ repeatedly. You don’t have to choose one side when you can have a beautiful fusion of two.
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t embarrassed by being Pakistani at some point. We live in a world where we are constantly told we need to look a certain way but over the years I have learnt to love the fact that I am Pakistani. The language I didn’t like speaking before makes me Bi-lingual and gives me an edge on my CV. The skin colour I disliked, is the one that people spend money to get from tanning beds. The food I thought was too oily is what people spend so much money to get at restaurants. It took me a long while to realise this because the media around me was forcing me to believe that I couldn’t be beautiful as I was but what I realised is, is that my beauty comes from the things that are different in me. The point is you need to learn to love yourself for who you are. No matter what that is… The difference we have is what makes us special. The world would be boring if we all looked the same and enjoyed the same things.
The moment you accept your culture and your roots is the moment you are true to yourself.