Cultural Forces: Day 9 – Londoner


I have two friends who are brothers. They were born in the US to German parents and moved to London when they were around 10 and 12. You can still hear a little something in their accent that speaks of both their heritage and place of birth.

Officially they are British citizens but I once asked them what they identified as. Did they feel British? American? German? A mix of all three? The older one started, “For me, I’m a Londoner number 1. But I don’t feel British. I’d say it goes, Londoner, then German and after that nothing really.” His brother agreed.

I too am a proud Londoner. After almost 17 years in London I’m fast approaching the moment when I’ll have been living here longer than I lived in Derry. I’ve been fearing that moment for years. I’m half-expecting an instant nervous breakdown. An identity crisis of epic proportions. My own personal Y2K.

Our daughter is two and mastering new language every day. Her English accent is pretty well established. I’m still getting used to the reality that my child doesn’t have a Derry accent, which I know is a ridiculous thing to say. I think it’s exacerbated by the fact that with many words she began saying them like I do. “Out.” “Now.” “Down.” All repeated back to me in a beautiful Derry accent. But before long there’s a switch. It’s like I blink and she’s suddenly English.

My aunt, Mary P, used to tease me about having moved across the water to ‘pagan England’. If anyone at home ever tries to goad me by suggesting, “sure, you’re English now,” I can’t help but react. But it’s never bothered me being identified as a Londoner. I’ve loved London and the people in it from the day and hour I arrived here. I remain a proud Derry woman and a proud Londoner.

The older I get the more I realise how many contradictions reside within me. If we can lean into our contradictions rather than live in denial of them, our life and work can unfold in interesting and unpredictable ways.

Megan Macedo HeadshotAbout Megan

The most important work we can do is show up in the world as our real selves. I write and consult about authenticity in marketing, helping individuals and companies be themselves in every aspect of their work.

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