In the past few weeks, I have had a bit of a a two pronged identity crisis. First, I feel I am no longer my own but have become the embodiment of my work. When people quote me, they say " Google says." For those of you who know me well, this probably not the best idea. I am quite outspoken and have an underdeveloped verbal filter....if one at all. What I say has become the word of Google. I now find myself using all sorts of qualifiers including 'this is Bridgette talking,' 'off the record,' and 'in my personal opinion." There is a Proverb " he who holds his tongue is wise (10:19)." Wise I must become :)
The second portion of my identity question mark comes primarily from my clear status as a foreigner. Sometimes I ask myself 'Why can't I be African?' When you read this question, your first thought is likely, "You are white," or "you were born in the US." But skin color does not prevent you from being a citizen where I come from. I now realize the standout foreigner status has actually been the case in Thailand, Nicaragua, Peru and in the Middle East. The more I travel, the more I understand, where come from is not the rule but the exception.
|Proves nothing has changed. Looking for my keys.|
|Attempting a radome athletic competition.|
Before moving to Africa, I lived in San Francisco. If I was asked to describe someone from San Francisco, I would have an incredibly hard time doing it - perhaps hipster in tight jeans who hates plastic bags, mass media and oil companies. But this is not physically descriptive. (Patriotic moment coming). Where I come from, you are free to be of any ethnic or social origin and be American. Your skin color or hue does not give away much about you. I would say your dress is more determinative than any innate feature. In Sub Saharan Africa and in most of the world, I am by default an outlier. In Africa, the next steps in the thought series is that I was sent by an NGO, Embassy or am a missionary, likely making bank and working to impose my solutions and take your problems from you. The assumption would not be there I am here to do businesses as I am.
The combination of tags above combine to label me as a foreigner Googler working to improve Africa. While this appears semi-correct on the surface, it is not.
In my hierarchy of self determination, I am first a Christian, second a Sexton, third a friend, fourth a global citizen, and fifth a slightly fearless explorer. It is the combination of these factors that have enabled me to be Bridgette, who works at Google in Africa, not the other way around. This I am certain of. For this I am grateful.
Thanks Mom and Dad :)