To be born in one place but to feel like you belong to another: the danger of being an unhinged “transdemonym”

transdemonymI have absolutely no doubt that there are people who feel that the demonym they have been assigned for being born in a particular geographic place does not agree with the place that, deep down, they feel they belong. I have invented the term “transdemonyms” for them.transdemonym

“Transdemonyms” live among us without difficulty, unnoticed by most people. Only the most perceptive will recognize them, when we come across them. My neighbor from across the hall, for example, although according to her identity card she was born in Fuenteovejuna (Córdoba, Spain), she carries, deep within, a real Veracrucian. I often see her in the elevator when we both take our dogs for a walk, always dressed in her white “jarocha” dress, with her wide and waving skirt adorned with laces, blouse in the same color and embroidered shawl. Over the skirt she wears a black apron embroidered with flowers and there she carries a packet of Marlboro cigarettes. I don’t think she  is an eccentric, but a “transdemonym”. She uses her clothes to live according to the transdemonym she truly identifies herself with.transdemonym

There are other people who stuff themselves with the typical foods of the region that makes its home in their hearts, those gastronomic indiscretions revealing their secret belonging to the eyes that can see. The head nun at my school, native of Tomelloso (Ciudad Real, Spain), would only eat “marmitako” (tuna cooked in a casserole, a traditional Basque dish), even for breakfast. Underneath her grey habit of the religious teaching order “Escolapias” and contradicting her official place of origin, beat a Basque heart.transdemonym

I have been suspecting for some days that behind the deadly wave of fires that is devastating Galicia, might be a group of furious “transdemonyms” out of control. Overwhelmed by the intense frustration for having been born in Seville or Badajoz, but with strong feelings of being purebred Valencians they are living torches, pure flames inside, and their external façades, apparently harmless, suddenly feel compelled to behave like angry vandals.


These uncontrolled spirits of the Fire Carnival of the Fallas set fire to everything and everybody in their path, with no respect for flesh or matter. Thus, faced with such inner malfunction that causes so much harm, all I can do is pray that, if I ever come across one of those dangerous crazy “transdemonyms”, I hope I will be so lucky as to be chosen “The Ninot Indultat” (the only figure pardoned from the fire at Las Fallas).


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