Third Culture Kids Are The Best Chameleons


I’m done pretending I’m on a single side.

Truth is, I’m in-between and I’ve always been. On the surface, it seems like we connect and don’t get me wrong, we do connect on several points. Yet, there are moments where it’s like a cold shower, I realise how far apart we are on some points.

And it’s scary, in a way. It’s scary to feel so disconnected all the sudden. Worrying even. Being in-between, you’ll never fit in. If you’re in between cultures, you’ll never truly escape one or truly follow one.

There will always be this part of you, slowly creeping in when you least expect it. You remember that you’re kind of lying to yourself, all over again. You will never “totally fit in” one culture or escape another.

Multiple cultures are exactly what’s making you, you. And it’s not easy when you’re surrounded by people who might not get it. They speak one language, have a certain way of life they’ve had since the start, a country they’ve been in their whole life and feel truly attached to. Yet, you sometimes feel obligated to duplicate yourself just so a part of you can feel truly apart of whatever culture you’re surrounded with.

That sense of belonging you’re looking for? You will never get it by trying to mould yourself into a certain person. They say TCKs are the real chameleons, and they are. If you’re constantly looking to blend into whatever environment you are in by denying parts of you, you’re simply lying to yourself.

We’re all constantly trying to build our identity but the trouble for third culture kids is that we’re juggling with multiple identities, all with the potential to grow. How do you make the perfect blend of these identities without feeling like you are a total outlier?

Author: thethirdculturekidproject

Founded by 2 TCKs, the TCK Project aims to bring together TCKs and share our stories. " Many losses are often not acknowledged even by their own parents, and the main problem is unspoken, unrecognized, shunted aside." Through our story sharing, we want to speak of this main problem and cope together. If you're in Singapore, email us!

2 thoughts

  1. Nice post. I don’t know anything about the author so I am just going to go on the limited information I have.

    This isn’t a problem limited to Third Culture Kids. This is also a question faced by biracials and multiracial people. Some multiracials are also Third Culture Kids, but I do think it’s important to make the distinction. A Third Culture Kid with two ethnically Japanese parents still has a “core”, that biracials do not, even if they grew up outside of Japan (although I’m not saying biracial kids have it “worse”).

    I’m not sure I agree that “TCK’s are the best chameleons” – only those who look a certain way and/or are from a particular social class (middle-upper class, international school) are permitted to be chameleons. TCKs who look racially ambiguous or “ethnic” or who aren’t lucky enough to be in international schools will tend to be pigeonholed and cannot be chameleons.

    1. Hey there! Completely agree with you. This was actually written by someone who has been pigeonholed and who wants to break out of that. Tired of being under one category, “truth is, I’m in between”. I think any of us can be chameleons. Sure it’s easier if you’ve been to an international school but it’s still a common fact among tcks/biracials/multiracials.

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