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gal-dem interlude series episode 3 (part 2): living in limbo

04 Feb 2016

Interlude episode 3 (part 2) follows on from its previous episode, continuing to discuss our experiences as part of the millennial diaspora, exploring the power of language to both unite and separate, defining home by location and the inherent fluidity in the foundation of our stories.

“It was so exhausting and draining to be constantly told what I am, rather than what I was telling other people what I felt I was.” – Juliette

A strong factor within this episode is a clear articulation of unique experiences. This highlighted that although we, as people of colour, share underlying connections and a sense of empathy with each other, our stories cannot be homogenised into a single one-dimensional story representing the entire diaspora.

Some of us can speak our mother tongue, some of us speak multiple languages fluently, some of us get by with a few words here and there, some of us feel isolated by not being able to speak the words of a nation we associate ourselves with and for some it isn’t a vital part of embracing our culture. It’s these differences within our stories that are important for us to articulate ourselves, through our own language and on our own terms.

“I can’t speak my mother tongue, so I can’t speak Punjabi; but I can understand it [so] not being able to speak it makes me feel like I am missing out on a large part of my culture.” – Simran

“Speaking Ngala is really great cause means I can connect to all my family everywhere and it’s also this thing that’s really easy for me to plug into watching Congolese films or Congolese TV….and I feel like if I didn’t have the language it would be a lot more difficult for me than people from Nigeria or Ghana as they can still speak in English. I would have no way of speaking to my family at all.” – Liza

The call to constantly define our identities through procedures that fail to acknowledge multifaceted experiences can be an exhausting and isolating process. Interlude episode 3 draws familiar underlying connections between the members of the diaspora while the women share varying experiences of what it means to live in limbo.

“If they’re telling you, just sit and listen. You don’t always have to have a response. Just hear what they’re saying and just learn from it.” – Chelsea

This is interlude, a moment to consider subjects you may have disregarded or never even noticed. It’s us digging up buried conversations, working our way through dialogue from the often silenced perspective of people of colour. We’re examining the norm, reversing patterns and asking questions – uncomfortable ones.