PART 4 – “The #1 Most Common Myth about TCK and Relationships”.
By Ruth Van Reken.
I want to look at one more issue you raise – the idea that you
can’t really relate to someone who is not a TCK. That seems to be a
growing myth among TCKs and likely from the line in our definition
that says a TCKs sense of belonging is to others of like
experience. This doesn’t mean TCKs can ONLY find a sense of
belonging with other TCKs but it was more to broaden the way we can
find our “tribe” by shared experiences in today’s world rather than
only the more traditional ways of defining ethnicity by nationality
or race alone.
While it is true we can have a more instant connection to fellow
TCKs because there are huge chunks of ourselves that we quickly
understand when the other refers to something like reentry or the
adventure of discovering new places with each move, that doesn’t
mean we can’t also be friends with others. While our feelings and
experiences have occurred within a particular context, many others
have similar feelings that have come to them in other contexts. One
reason it is so important for us to do our own internal work to
understand our deeper story is so we can transfer those lessons
learned and understand others as well.
It may take a bit longer to get to know the other person since you
won’t have some of these “automatic” connections you might with
another TCK, but it can be done.
These are some concrete suggestions I would offer:
1. Realize every person you meet is “the same” as you – TCK or not.
Sometimes we don’t want to look at that as we feel as will lose
something of our “identity” if we don’t maintain a distinct
differentiation between us and others so let me explain.
2. Before you were/are a TCK, you are a person. But so is everyone
else you will ever meet. In other words, every person in this world
is fundamentally made to be a relational being with emotions,
creative potential, the right to make choices, the capacity to
think, and a place where all the pieces of who I/they am/are come
together with some sense of meaning in a cohesive place. We are
physical and spiritual beings as well.
Because of these realities, we also have common needs. The need for
relationships, as I mentioned, but also a safe way to express our
feelings, to create new things, whether in artistic form or some
other way, like, for me, with ideas, for others, a new engineering
project, etc. We need a place to make choices for without that, we
are victims. When we have choice, we are empowered. We are living
out the wonder of being human once again. We need physical exercise
and a deep sense that our lives have meaning and purpose.
So what does this have to do with anything you asked about?
Lots!! If I look at any person I meet as someone who has some
fundamental places of “likeness” with me rather then looking first
at the “difference,” then I can also expect that we can relate at
these places despite the variation in details of our life story.
Being a TCK becomes a way to frame or describe my life experiences
but that it does not define my total identity.
So how does that work out practically?
In Part 5, we will conclude the series, and discuss how to connect with non-TCKs, finding
common themes in our life stories, and connecting the dots at these