According to most people I talk to, the word crisis has always had a negative connotation, but is this always the case? A couple of months ago, while I was calling my mum on Face time, my mum suddenly said to me “Montse, stop complaining, you are being so French!” I have to say that I was taken aback by the comment and needed a few minutes to recover and to continue the conversation. After 7 years living in France I often talk to my family about one of the things I hate the most about Parisians, and it is that they always find something to complain about. When my mum said those words, I had to take a step back and think about what had just happened. My mother had only pointed out that I was complaining just as much as French people do, a habit I simply cannot stand.
I guess I was a little annoyed to hear those words because first of all I am Mexican, and every day I make an effort to keep a positive attitude despite the fact that I miss my family enormously and secondly, I was shocked by how negative I had become. After a lot of thinking I came to the realisation that it was a matter of time before I started complaining and the reality is that sometimes when you are in foreign culture for a long period of time you start imitating the people around you without realising it. Complaining is actually necessary in life, it can help you speak up when something is not right, it can also help businesses grow and improve, however when complaining is a constant state of mind, it can be extremely tiresome. Let us picture the following scene, you are sitting next a person who is clearly sad, going through a tough time or who is simply not OK (unknown reasons), if this person listens to you complaining over and over again nothing good will come out of this scenario. Now let us say that you are sitting next to a very jolly person or someone who is working in a calm an peaceful environment, if you start complaining you will only be disrupting someone else’s environment. I believe we should all do our best to respect the space and peace of others around us, we live in a society after all. Anyway, I realised while talking to my mum that France has had a huge impact on me after all these years, I guess I never knew how big of an impact…
In France I am “Mexican” and in Mexico and I am “French”. At times it is hard for me to find my place in either culture, this feeling is what I call an identity crisis, which sometimes can be very upsetting and very hard to explain to people who have never experienced living in a foreign country. In France, I spend most of my time talking about and defending my country of origin. I especially like to compare both countries and take what I love the most about each. When I go back to Mexico to see my family, I sometimes feel a little bit left out as if I were a foreigner. My way of thinking has changed, and this makes my sisters and I disagree on a regular basis, I hear thing like: “Oh, here we go again…” or “That is not how things work”. At first, I did not appreciate those comments but now I take them as compliments.
Yes, I take them as compliments, because every day I get to see the world through a different lens, which helps me immensely on a professional and personal level. Today I pay close attention to both cultures (Mexican and French) and take from them what I think it is best for my own personal growth.
In other words, I take from both cultures what is necessary to become the best version of myself I can be, someone who is able to respect and admire the culture of every human being who crosses my path. I find, choose and grow with the best of both worlds.