I Hid My True Ethnicity Out of Embarrassment

Tim Denning

You can’t avoid who you are forever.


Photo via unsplash

I’m not proud of this fact. Ignoring your ethnicity is the ultimate crime against yourself.

Well, I did it. I even hid my ethnicity from my girlfriend.

Why? I was embarrassed. So it’s time for me to come clean. I am half British and half Irish.

I hid the Irish part of my heritage because in Australia, Irish people are the brunt of many jokes. Put simply — where I’m from, to be Irish is to admit you’re stupid. I wish it wasn’t true but it is in my hometown.

The other day a friend of mine accidentally let loose that a big part of my heritage was Irish. At first I was a little uncomfortable. Then something changed inside of me. It was because of Taylor Swift.


In the documentary about Taylor Swift titled “Miss Americana” the young singer is followed around with a camera for several years. Despite all of her success she felt deeply out of alignment with who she was and who the record label executives wanted her to be.

She was told to “not be political.”

This meant not talking about politics or choosing a side. Taylor’s artist brand became the subject of a movement online against her. People were calling her too perfect. They were attacking every aspect of her life. So she gave them what she thought they wanted: exile. She disappeared for a year to see what would happen. It was time to reflect on what mattered.

Taylor sat on the sidelines and watched the political chaos unfolding. Then she discovered an interesting question: “What if I could change it?” The truth was, Taylor could change what she was witnessing. She had a massive audience online. Sure, some of them hated her. But a large number of people were still prepared to buy her music and listen to what she had to say.

In the middle of a political revolution in America, she just couldn’t sit quiet anymore. She had to speak out, or risk continually feeling miserable.

After years of built up shame she said screw it and launched her political views on Instagram. There was all the usual backlash, outrage and trolls who tore her to pieces. She smiled. She didn’t care anymore about anybody’s beliefs — not even her captors, the record labels.

It was a liberating moment to watch. I felt like Taylor in many aspects of my life. Ethnicity being one.


So why I have hidden my ethnicity for many years, I will no longer do so. I no longer care if I’m the brunt of Irish jokes. I no longer care if my heritage makes me less appealing to the opposite sex. I no longer care if my writer credibility is reduced because of the lie I’ve been telling.

Here’s what I’ve realized:

When you come clean about who you are and where you’re from, your entire life changes. You stop letting labels and bullshit control who you are. You stop living in fear.

Most people don’t truly care where you’re from.

There is one race: human.

I look back on my fear of people finding out where I’m from and laugh. Since I started telling people nobody seems to care. The embarrassment I hid from was an imaginary nightmare playing on repeat inside my head — but nobody else’s, though.

Overcoming the embarrassment of my true heritage has become a trigger. I am going to continue to openly talk about who I really am. Just like my investment in Bitcoin, I don’t care anymore what people think.

Life is too short to worry about opinions.

When you admit who you are to people you encounter, you attract more of the people you need in your life to make your goals a reality. The people who matter don’t care where you are from. The people who care about you don’t care if your grandmother from six generations back came from Ireland.

The people who matter like you for you.

None of my close friends who found out I was part Irish have left me. They haven’t made a single Irish joke at my expense, either.

A Powerful Strategy You Can Implement

What part of yourself are you avoiding? What aspect of your personal story are you secretly hiding? We all have at least one. I have many.

The first step to set yourself free is to write down those aspects you’ve been hiding. Writing things down helps you see the truth. You won’t magically wake up, though, and decide to admit these truths — there’s a process.

First, you choose one truth about yourself you’ve been hiding. Then you admit that truth to a person you trust. Notice their reaction. Watch how they don’t care too much. Then tell a second person the same truth.

Repeat the process with many more friends. As you build up the evidence against yourself, you reach a point of courage. It’s in that moment you can let loose and own that particular truth. Once you master one truth about yourself, you can add another one to the list and so on.

You have many parts about yourself you’ve been too afraid to admit. But what if you reached the next level of your life by owning those truths?

People are drawn to those that are courageous enough to admit who they are.

Comments / 82

Published by

Aussie Blogger with 100M+ views — Writer for CNBC & Business Insider. Inspiring the world through Personal Development and Entrepreneurship www.timdenning.com


More from Tim Denning

Comments / 0