by Hussein Yusuf
Hussein Yusuf describes how he sees himself.
My overriding identity is Somali although I live in the United States. If you asked me what makes me who I am? I think it would take me a while to respond.
Our identities are shaped by the world in which we live. Outsiders influence how we think and even look at ourselves.
I think being Somali is contradictory because the Somali identity is mixed, and even, dare I say, confused.
We are Africans... and yet we are also part of the Arab world.
Our psyche, worldview and even who we are is mingled with what happens in the Arab world.
Our destiny seems to be tied to that world... and yet we are so different from them in so many ways.
Our Somali identity is real: our music, food and everything we do smells of a unique Africa.
Beautiful and proud, Somalis remain Somali.
Clan means so much to so many of my people.
Yes, I belong to a clan, a powerful clan in Somalia, but I have no affinity for it.
I choose to be Somali.
But I am also more than Somali, I am the product of many oceans, always changing, revolving, learning and growing.
Yet my Somali culture and history remains the tower that gives light to the oceans I swim in.
I breathe like a Somali.
My culture is not a fixed configuration but a constructive process.
This is maybe a weakness on my part, but my identity and culture are always conditional to my environment and the centre of the process that I feel is never complete but always under construction.
This is the Somali story: we are the product of many cultures, ideas and people.
I am Somali.
This article originally published on BBC " Identity: Who do you think you are? "