On Allegiance

4 Jul

I don’t have a home. I never had. From the time I was plucked from my small apartment in another country, at age 8, for the opportunities that were gift-wrapped in the form of the United States, to now…thirty years later, I do not, and have never considered myself a citizen of any land. July 4 is the birth of America. July 1 was the official genesis of Canada. I do not have any feelings upon those benchmarks; now having spent time in both countries during their respective celebrations. They’re calendar dates. They’re days passed just as ordinarily, or extraordinarily, as any others. Hours and minutes flow by in the same manner as they always have–according to our perception. Wine is poured into short glasses, words are written on a page, lips are kissed, vitriol is spilled. We plunge down flags or markers to delineate important notches in time-history, only they’re just made-up cultural symbols which, in the end, do no more than alienate one another and segregate us into clique-ish teams playing games on the giant blacktop at recess.

For years I struggled with finding a sense of identity tied to geography. I was a boy interrupted; paused in between two countries, seemingly unable to play, rewind, or fast-forward. Until a few months ago when I was presented with this simple question: “Why do you have to, or need to belong to anything or anywhere?” It’s brilliant in its mix of innocence and complexity. Until then, everyone to which I reached out posited long, convoluted answers usually dealing with some level of patriotism or higher-consciousness hypotheses of human fabric and philosophy and all-encompassing or unifying celestial energy. But most times I think I tend to grind the wheels in the wrong directions, and I desperately need a slice of simplicity thrown at me by someone donning different lenses.

I do not belong anywhere. Just here. Now. As I’m writing this. This perception of time is singularly mine, and it is here that I choose to rest for a bit. Ask me tomorrow and we’ll see. I’m not a solitary leopard. But conversely, I don’t have to claim a tree in order to identify myself. This is my waking life.

Happy Birthday America. I haven’t bought you a present. You understand, of course.


5 Responses to “On Allegiance”

  1. parisian cowboy 04/07/2007 at 5:11 PM #

    I guess I agree with you on that line.

    I do not feel concerned by France’s national day. I just can’t feel concerned.

    I really liked the last sentences of your post : “Happy Birthday America, I haven’t baught you a present”.

  2. slyboots2 04/07/2007 at 6:21 PM #

    Brilliant! And I love Marcel’s quote above. Now that my secret appreciation of him is out of the bag.

    Belonging has its pitfalls. I would’ve given anything not to belong when I was younger. I struggled not to belong. It was a tad fruitless, but it did gain me perspective.Which is probably your greatest gift to give- your observational distance, and ability to view with some modicum of objectivity- without all of the hoohaw associated with belonging. So, see, you didn’t come to the party empty handed at all!

  3. Anonymous 05/07/2007 at 1:31 AM #

    aaaaefaf”> “

  4. Anonymous 05/07/2007 at 1:45 AM #

    aaaaefaf”> “

  5. Anonymous 05/07/2007 at 10:40 AM #

    No, I don’t understand. Is it because I didn’t get you a tree to claim, on Arbour Day?

    ~America~ (or L7)

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