Outcast: someone who doesn’t belong in his main social area (work, school, the street). – Urban Dictionary

When I decided to move to China, I was ready for a change. The predictability of my life was choking the shit out of me. I’m talking about“choke-that-hoe” choking-the-life-out-of-me kind of choking.  It was then that I realized something: if I didn’t like my life, I had to do something about it. No one was going to do it for me.

I knew that moving to the other side of the world would come with HUGE challenges! The night before I boarded the plane from Amsterdam to Xiamen, I was having second thoughts.

Do you know what you’re doing? Are you sure you’ve thought this through?

If you don’t get on that plane tomorrow, it will be OK. You can just go back home.

You’re too old to chase your dreams, just go back home, where you’re “safe.” You’re already familiar with life there, you just started a new relationshoip. Why would you leave?

You don’t know anyone in China, don’t speak the language, and you’re not familiar with the culture. Life over there will be MISERABLE! Don’t get on that plane tomorrow!

Then there was this other side of me that contradicted everything:

You need to do this for yourself, get your ass on that plane.

Age is but a number and a mindset, you can do anything you set your mind to.

If you don’t go now, you might end up regretting this ten years later. Do you want to wake up when you’re forty, hating & kicking yourself because you were too chicken to change your life? You’ve been talking about change for a long time, but all you did was talk, talk, talk! Now it’s time to DO!

If you go and you can’t find your footing, it’s OK. But at least GO and TRY! Never put your life on hold for a man.

The outcast – finding one’s footing can take as long as you allow it to take. – Image Source

I got on that plane. To be honest, I felt like an outcast from the first day here.

We all form groups in life. When we’re born, we’re born into a group that’s called our “family.” That’s the group we don’t choose very unfortunate, in some situations, we’re born into it. Then we go to school, we form other groups. “Cool Girls,” “Pretty Girls,” “Rich Girls,” “The Posers,” “Mean Girls,” and the “Don’t-Fit-Into-Any-Category-Group.” I never fit into any category, I was just me. Some people referred to me as “The Bitch With The Discman” or “The Bitch Who Thinks She’s All That.” FYI, I never thought I was “all that,” for I had the BIGGEST inferiority complex when I was a teenager. Looking back now, I’d refer to myself as a tomboy, still am. And yes, I did write DISCMAN. If you were born in the “iPod” age, you might not know what his relic is. Google it to learn something new today.

How did coming to China make me feel like an outcast?

When I came here, everyone had their group. I wasn’t the only Surinamese (there was another guy, Nelsen), but I was still an outcast. Though Nelsen helped me out A LOT, he was more than ten years my junior. Of course we had a great friendship, but still, we experience things differently. I am a woman in her thirties, he was barely twenty. We were at different stages in life. The Indonesian, Thai, Filipinos, they all stick together. Because most of them don’t speak English very well, they don’t let outsiders in that much. When I finally DID find a group of Black people, they didn’t accept me. Why? Because I looked slightly different from them.

That made me feel like an even BIGGER outcast.

Two years later, I have been accepted into the Black community in China. Maybe because I’m wearing my natural hair now, I have no idea. It could also be that most of them judged me based on their own insecurities. Once they got to know me, they liked me. What I don’t do, is beg people to like me. If you snub me, hey no hard feelings, much power to you. Not everyone is meant to play a role in your life. It’s not something that will keep me awake at night.

A friend of mine from Gabon asked me if I was a member of this Pan African group on Wechat. Though I am Black and of African descent, I am not African, for I wasn’t born there. I can’t relate to Africans on all levels. We can understand one another, yes, especially being Black in China. Every day we go through the same things, more or less.

But I’m still an outcast.

Not that they make me feel that way, but I do feel like that. My country is in South America, but we’re part of the Caribbean. There are many South American students here, but we have nothing in common. We’re friends, yes, but I still don’t feel like I belong. I told my friend from Gabon that I would feel better and more comfortable if there was a group called “Black People in China.”

Putting specific labels on things, “African,” “Thai,” “Black,” “White,” “Canadian,” “French-speaking,” it’s so exhausting and limiting. After I moved here, it really dawned on that we people are OBSESSED with LABELS! I think the best name for a group could be, “I’m A Fucking Human Being In China.” Everyone can join that group.