La Voz de Galicia – August 14, 2020 →

Cristina PatoI suppose that it is because I am about to turn forty, or because of the sadness that accompanies me these last few months, or because of the uncertainty as to whether the pandemic will make me reinvent myself anew… the matter is that, sometimes, one finds oneself among many truths, and one begins to question the fact that one has spent all of one’s life migrating because of things one feels passionate about, and suddenly one feels guilty about wanting to learn about everything and being an expert on nothing.

In an article published in 1928, the American sociologist Robert E. Park defined the idea of the «marginal man» as the person who, once they migrate, has to «strive to live in two diverse cultural groups,» and in that search ends up creating a distinctive behavior that makes them feel like a foreigner in any group. In that same article, Park considered the fact that in the mind of that marginal man «is where the process of civilization and progress may best be studied.»

When I try to make peace with myself, I remember the reason why some years ago I began to accept (and to inhabit) the idea that intersections are also a way of life. It was listening to my mentor, the cellist Yo-Yo Ma, talking about the «Edge Effect»: the place where two ecosystems intersect is where, apparently, there is a greater likelihood of variety and diversity, and about the fact that «nature’s creativity» could be found in that constant ability to adapt.

Feeling myself to be at that intersection, uncomfortable, is what makes me continue to look for a better version of myself, and in that constant search, I sometimes find my way of being happy. Because I know who I was, but I don’t know who I will be, and that is what keeps me doing what I like the most: wondering and learning.

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