(Last Updated On: January 30, 2022)

How am I a cultural refugee?

Edgar Neto wrote an excellent article explaining what this phrase meant to him. He explains that he escaped (or instead, expatriated) from Brazil and into Germany. It wasn’t because of war, disaster, or a totalitarian regime. He was just at odds with many of his fellow countrymen, politically, ideologically, and therefore culturally.

When you’re escaping a war, or a totalitarian regime, you’re swimming away from a shark. Your enemy is easy to spot . . . If, on the other hand, you’re seeking to escape what is technically a democracy, you have an invisible enemy. It’s hard to find shelter, and you’re lucky to get out of there with just a few stings.

Edgar Neto, “what it feels like being a cultural refugee”

Where did I escape from, and to where did I take refuge?

Well, take this quote from sources that debatably took from a Russian (oh right, Ukrainian) oligarch.

Art, freedom, and creativity will change society faster than politics. - Victor Pinchuk. It has something to do with me being a cultural refugee.
image by Paini with Notegraphy.com

I used it as my featured image for my site’s old front page. I thought I believed it then, but I don’t think I really committed to it. Art, freedom, and creativity certainly can change society. But faster than politics? The cynic in me now should have never put any cultural stock to what oligarch (Ukrainian or otherwise) said.

My opinion on the “jack-of-all-trades” thing has also changed. After falling out of becoming this so-called full stack storyteller, I’ve become less faithful and more agnostic. Because of failing to find a living wage as a “generalist” writer, I’ve become less devoted to the cause.

Starving artist? Still, but…

As a cultural refugee, this is how I feel at times
Both and neither

In other words, I am no longer the “plucky go-getter” writer that I thought all writers were. I probably never was. But, I sure did hold that image of myself for a long time. You know another unhealthy persona I’d like to shed: the starving artist. I can no longer afford to be fanciful about my profession.

No, really. I can’t. I can’t say that I’ve been living paycheck to paycheck if I haven’t even received one for writing. But, I am taking steps to stop saying I’m a writer and take action to be one. I’ve started by becoming an unpaid content writer for The Avant-Guard Media, a student-centered collective with a vision to be the one-stop platform for student media. It’s a start – the start of a journey that I look forward to taking with clear eyes, an open mind, and perhaps a pearl of analog wisdom that I can pass through the digital divide.

At least that’s what I’m telling myself.

Besides, I am a cultural refugee and an ethnic exile. How?

Read on.