I could have used the oft cited poem of Phillip Larkin for the title of this blog – “They fuck you up, your mum and dad” – but some how felt this told only part of the story. What prompted me to write today’s post was a chance reading of a moving piece from this week’s Guardian by Sarfraz Manzor. In it, Manzoor talks about the chance meeting on a train of his future wife but the disapproval of his family that the union is between a “muslim”, British-Pakistani man and a “christian”, Scottish, blonde (an important point for Manzoor) woman and the hurt this creates for his wedding day. The reason why Larkin sprang to mind is because for Manzoor his identity is partly shaped by his heritage even if for some of those close to him their conceptualisation of this identity isn’t shared by Manzoor himself. It also struck a chord with me about something that I have had difficulty coming to terms with recently and found impossible to talk about. I too have created an identity based on what others have wanted of me rather than what I have really wnated myself. My breakdown is in large part a result of living too many shoulds around an other-pleasing identity. Therefore I could see where Manzoor was coming from. Its very difficult to challenge the identity others place on you but I’m glad that Sarfraz Manzoor has taken steps towards doing so. My challenge to myself is to start doing so some more.
(Thanks to my brother @leadout and my twitter friend @MrsBYork for highlighting the article to me!)