Taking on the Identities of Others

Lucy Chau Lai-Tuen Sheen, an adoptee born in HongKong, has a poem in Perpetual Child: Dismantling the Stereotype (Adult Adoptee Anthology) called “Musings of a Transracial Adoptee.” She grew up in the sixties in the United Kingdom.

According to the poem, Sheen was Othered and objectified not only by society, but by her adoptive mother, as well.

I was placed upon the school desk as the / subject of “bring and tell”

It was my Adoptive Mother who brought / and placed me upon the desk

This treatment happened in front of 30 white children.

The stripping away of her language, name, heritage, and culture had a profound affect on Sheen. She describes herself as being “like one of those nests of Russian dolls / The difference being there was nothing at my centre / I was empty.”

 

Lucy Chau Lai-Tuen Sheen is a stage and screen actor and has worked alongside some of the British acting greats. In this poem, she makes a connection between her adoption and her career.

I chose a profession where I take on different identities

Speak other people’s words and feel other people’s

emotions

It sounds as if she has spent her life trying on identities to see what fits and as a way to fill that emptiness at the center of her layered identities.

Comments

  1. Thank you for your kind comments.

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