A thread to help explore and expand how each of us identify within such a broad concept as "culture"
For the 'me' of today, this is a difficult question (and why I'm interested in seeing how others might 'weigh in'), but when I was younger, it was all quite simple: I was a "Native Oregonian" from a rural area. My ancestral stories gave me a connection to my country, and back across the seas to another continent with its own distinctive cultural ties: but primarily I identified with my family, the region of my birth, and the social connections there. However, this began to change as I grew older and interacted with a broader world. My first great shift came when I met the parents of my high school girlfriend, who were native to Denmark (she was a first generation American). Through their influence (and gracious acceptance) I was introduced to a much broader world-view, starting me upon a path of exploration that continues to this day. It cannot be emphasized enough that this was a profound and fundamental shift in how I perceived the world, and more importantly how I 'fit' within it. It challenged me to rethink how I self-identified, forcing me to become more "culturally flexible" at the very least. While I still retain some of the residual imprinting of my birth, I simply no longer identify with the persona that once was. I've heard it said that in order to define a "culture" there must be two or more to identify as such, but I can't help but wonder: could one adapt and grow into a distinctively unique broader cultural identity altogether?
I think this is true of most people. I also identified my culture as my family until I got older. I shifted to Kingstonian(my hometown) and Washingtonian before American. It is interesting to note that as my cultural awareness widens to a more global perspective, I also self-reflect back to my own personal culture. The culture of "I" :)
…yeah, looking back on my early influences, only to realize I never really was a “card carrying member”. Its probably the biggest reason I left the place of my birth: a profound philosophical diaspora. Those of us who left and reconnoitered in PDX formed our own culture of misfits: “those who escaped.” This became our only real collective shared point of reference as we transitioned from such regional isolation, developed more distinctive individual identities, and then continued on into our more worldly ‘adult’ life pursuits…prior we hardly even knew each other, and although some strong bonds formed through the development of shared interest/experience in early adulthood, we were essentially all immigrants into an entirely different culture…? Its hard to convey this perspective in a world now seemingly “connected” by the internet, but the Urban/Rural divide remains a significant one, regardless...?