Episode#1: Prologue

In Episode #1: Prologue, I talk about how I struggled to find meaningful connections after realizing that I might be living in exile for the rest of life. I also talk about how I chose a different path from my parents’ to blend in with my community. I also share how my liberal views are reflected in my day-to-day life.  

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I decided to dig deep in my past and unearth any memory that has pushed me away from my community, and re-develop that memory to bond and connect with my new community. I have chosen to curate my kin.

Hallo – This is Somaye Dehban, a loyal Dutchified Iranian who has curated her kin throughout the years. 

I am the creator and host of Your Curated Kin, a podcast for anyone who has ever struggled with finding their tribe whether in their own native land or some other place on this planet. 

Join me every 4th Tuesday of the month to hear about the every day challenges of life and how it has shaped my personality, my relations and my career. 

Now grab your favorite drink and let’s unwind this episode of Your Curated Kin.

Welcome to the first episode of Your Curated Kin. Thank you for showing up and tunning in. 

I have lived out of my country of birth for over 15 years, none of my family members live close to me and I have lost the option to visit them whenever I want, due to my political background. 

The physical distance between us brought emotional distance as well. Of course I speak to my direct family members on regular basis, but it does not replace the face to face meetings and joining their gatherings in person. I am sure most of you who are listening to this podcast can relate to this feeling after the pandemic and the isolation we all felt. 

When I accepted that I am no longer able to go back to my country of birth – which was a 2- year process with a significant mental break down – I decided to re-build my life and family here in the Netherlands, and that’s how I got into curating my kin. 

I already had really good friends from my college years, and knew quite a few Dutch families through the work I did for them during my student time here in the Netherlands. And I tried to re-visit these relations and connections to find a closer bond with them. Easy to say but very challenging to implement. 

One might think, that its easier to bond with people from the same sex or gender, or the same religious background or the same ethnic background, but this was not definitely the case for me. And it took me quite a lot of time and energy to figure out what actually helps me bond with someone else that is beyond a work or college relation. And that’s what I would like to share with you in these podcast series. 

Interestingly enough, I realized, the hard way, that it is next to impossible to truly connect and bond with anyone in my life if I am not truly connected and bonded with my own roots. 

In upcoming episodes I will share with you why and how hard I tried to erase parts of my past in the hope that it will help me to forge a new understanding and identity for myself. And I thought if I manage to erase it from my own memory, I might be able to present a new identity to the world that cannot be traced back to my past and is not reflected in my actions and behaviors. And helaas – as the Dutch would say – that was a vain attempt. 

My attempt to erase my past, was an unconscious engraved behavior that I took from both of my parents: my father tried to erase his past by adopting a new and much more appreciated  accent by his society when he moved out of his community to build a new life. And my mother tried to erase her past by avoiding to acknowledge the trauma she went through. 

I understand now – after many, many years – why my parents have chosen to erase their past. And how their need to bond with their community, have pushed them to make such choices. 

I have chosen a different path – I decided to dig deep in my past and unearth any memory that has pushed me away from my community, and re-develop that memory to bond and connect with my new community. I have chosen to curate my kin. In these podcast series, I will be sharing with you my struggles to bond and to maintain a connection. I will be sharing with you how unearthing past painful memories has helped me to build a bright future. And I will be sharing with you how the meaning of the phrase “nosh e jaan” which is Persian for Enjoy Your Meal has been at the core of all the dinner gatherings I have arranged for my curated kin. 

As a liberal, I believe that any form of change to be brought about must come from within, from the smallest and most important unit of every society and community and that is the individual citizen. 

As a liberal, I also believe, that every individual is absolutely responsible to “find” themselves and truly bond with their community. Because as social creatures, we’re hardwired to care, love and form relations. We have a deep need for bonding and belonging. And this – I believe – can only be achieved if we are truly connected to ourselves in the first place. 

I am a mother of two energetic and loving boys, and with my partner who is their step father, our main wish for them is it to be truly connected with themselves. 

At my work, I also try to truly connect with my colleagues and clients. In my consultancy work as a Nexus Strategist I combine Harmony and Progress to bring about Positive Impact. I developed this concept because I have a vision – call it a dream if you will. 

And that dream is that I want to live in a world with true personal freedom of choice, equality of opportunity and the ability for people to thrive, which is balanced with a personal responsibility to contribute to the collective good. 

I believe this world is possible by taking an integrated nexus approach to challenges and opportunities. This approach needs to  focus both on individual components as well as the inter-relatedness and inter-dependencies of the entire system. Only in this way we can reduce trade offs and create and hence leverage synergies. 

I have developed this synergistic model and apply it not only in my work but also in my personal life. The starting point of this model is to get rid of the notion of work-life balance, because work is part of life and not in a dichotomy with it. And life has so many other components than just work. 

That’s why through Nexus Strategies, I bring (back) balance and harmony to the context in which we operate and apply change leadership to build a coalition of unlikely allies to collectively develop a pragmatic strategy. 


What was the aha moment of this episode for you? 

Did you hear about something that resonated with you and your life?

I hope you felt connected with another human being who has experienced similar challenges to yours. I also hope you have some more head and heart space to absorb more from what life has to offer. 

Want to hear more? 

Sign up for my thematic newsletters to get notified about each episode and more. You can do this by going to my website: somayedehban.com/newsletters

Until the next unwinding – bedrood.