I think of 2012 as the year that I started caring about where I came from. This happened for two main reasons. The first is that we pulled off the most badass Olympics in the history of all Olympics (that is an objective opinion) and secondly I started living in a different country.
Weirdly enough, before the summer of 2012 I would have happily told you that I could not care less about where I came from, on some days I might have even told you that I was embarrassed/ashamed/unhappy to be British depending on my mood and our current standing on world issues.
The main thing is that I’ve never really understood patriotism. Why should you be proud of something which is really an accident of your birth? I feel lucky that I was born here because I’m allowed to do most things I want to do and because I’m safe and healthy and I get free healthcare but I never felt a huge connection to being British. If you asked me to make a list of words which identified me, being British would fall so far down the list, in fact it may not even make the list.
But then I moved to America. Maybe I was inspired by the Americans love of shoving their patriotism in your face, their pride and happiness at shouting ‘I’m American’ at the tops of their voices and their many many days they take to celebrate their various achievements in the path to becoming AMERICA.
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against all this, I find it pretty fascinating to be honest and I think a part of me was inspired. We all like the feeling of being included, of being part of something, and being proud of where you come from makes you feel like you’re part of something special, gives you a connection to all the other people who are part of it too.
Or maybe it was the fact that Americans really like British people that prompted me to feel a bit more pride in my heritage.
What I think it really comes down to most is that being away makes you realise that there really is ‘no place like home’….or something like that. I never realised before how much you rely on the fact that things are comfortable and safe at home. Sometimes nothing can beat that familiarity which comes from being in a place you instinctively understand. That’s what being British is for me, feeling like I know how things work, I know what’s expected of me, I know what to expect of it.
And yet that is no way a reason not to get out of that comfort zone and explore the world. Sometimes it’s just nice to know that that place is there and that it’ll always be there waiting for you.
So, with that said, here are my top five things about being a brit.
2) The NHS is one of those things that we will happily complain endlessly about, but some other country try and say shit about it and we will defend it with just as much passion. It’s ours and we’re proud of it.
3) We make great TV that other country’s then try and rip off…try The Office, X Factor, The Apprentice, Britain’s Got Talent, Strictly Come Dancing, Masterchef, The Inbetweeners, The Jeremy Kyle Show, Skins*
4) We have a lot of history…not that I particularly enjoy learning all that old stuff but I do like the fact that we have a long history and we did pretty good on the world stage for a while there, considering we’re so tiny and all.
5) Just like anything, it’s the little things that connect you that make you feel part of something. Being British means liking fish and chips, loving or hating marmite, being unable to say a bad word about The Beatles, having a royal family, drinking a lot of tea…you know, all that stuff. And, as it turns out, I love it!
*Disclaimer: I don’t really class X Factor or Britain’s Got Talent as ‘great TV’, I was just trying to make a point…The Jeremy Kyle Show I stand by, that show is comedy gold.
That’s all for now