Developing Personal Voice and Authenticity

ioi_waw_usI have spent the last few day, pondering the answer to this question; thinking about my life as far back as I can remember. Was there any one event that has influenced the person who I am today? I am prevented from writing about volunteering, sports and other people in general and that’s okay.

On reflection I have had a peripatetic life, moving from one school to another and living in four different countries before the age of 10. When it’s with your family, parents, and siblings you just accept it as the norm though for many people even one move would have the potential to shape or reshape their life. In my case, I believe the experiences enriched my life. There was never one sporting event. Instead, each country had its unique sport and being involved in the various cultures, I suppose, allowed me to develop an understand and tolerance of completely different cultures and different rules that apply not only to the sport but to life.

The longest I have spent in one place was the birthplace of my mother, Northern Ireland. I moved there from America with my mom, brother and sister but not my dad, two weeks before my 10th birthday. Previously I have lived in England and Australia.

America is a religious country and when we lived there we went to church and Sunday school. However, nothing could have prepared me for the religious bias I experienced when we moved to Northern Ireland.

Friends would ask your surname and from that would determine “what side of the fence you lived on”! I didn’t get it at first and asked my mom.

She had to explain to me that people in this country fell into one of two groups Protestant or Catholic. Kids went to separate schools, learned different histories at school, played different sports and even the style of dancing you went to was indicative of which group you fell into. Only as recently as the last 20 years has the awful fighting and bombing between the two groups slowed down and political dialogue taking its place.

Jump ahead 7 years. I had been living in Northern Ireland but visiting my dad in Colorado two or three times a year. The time to decide on where I wanted to go to university and potentially spend the rest of my life was looming. My friends in America came from so many different backgrounds, spoke different languages, had different skin colors, went to different churches and none of it mattered. all were accepted. I liked my small group of friends in Northern Ireland but was this where I would spend the next four or five years for my very important university life.

To go back to the question; was there one event that shaped my decision to go to college in America? I can honestly say I don’t think so and really by the age of 18 and having lived a healthy and privileged life it’s maybe not unusual that this is the case. I think that my life experiences all put together have shaped where I am in my life at the minute and the person that I am attending CU and living in America. No one would ever dream of asking or even wondering if I was a protestant or a catholic and it does not matter either.

One life changing events are because they are singular, dramatic or so I imagine them to be. I can’t think of any thing dramatic or otherwise that helped form or change a decision for me. Maybe it was lots of little events put together and maybe next week there will be an event that will change the course of my future. Who knows. and maybe then my answer to your question would be totally different.


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