The Headgirl at The Common Room makes some points that I think describe me:
I'm only pretending to be a participant in American society, when I really belong somewhere else (but don't ask me WHERE that somewhere else is. I haven't a clue).
[O]ne of the key things about TCKs is that, in adolescence, they act more mature than their peers. Something about living in multiple worlds propels them into closer relationships with adults rather than those in their age groups.
And quotes from a linked article:
One of the other parts of the article that had me vigorously head nodding was this one:
"On the surface, most adult TCKs conform to what is going on around them in such a way that attention is not drawn to them. As they meet new people and situations, they are slow to commit themselves until they have observed what is expected behavior. If what is expected is unacceptable or incomprehensible they will quietly withdraw rather than make fools of themselves or hurt the feelings of others."
Observation is a big part of the game. There's a lot to watch, too!
We don't want to *always* observers - it just takes us a long time to warm up to any other role, particularly in large settings. In smaller settings, though, human connections are extremely important. Why? Because sometimes that's the only notion of "home" we've got. One of the hardest questions for a TCK to answer is, "Where are you from?" or "Where's home?" Home will never be a "where" for me. Home=the people in my life, which is another reason for feeling disconnected. If people make up your construction of home, and if you live a thousand miles from some of these people, of course you're going to feel restless!
We moved around so much when I was a child, I don't have a sense of a home culture, a place where I know how to behave to be accepted as part of the group. I usually feel like an outsider, on the edge of community but not part of it.