July 22, 2008

The norms.

I made a post a while ago in which I kinda sorta touched on my own identity and how I feel about it. And that post was really messy, but I think I can safely talk about it now without getting horribly confused or frustrated...

First off, identity. I don't think I'm having so much an identity "crisis" as I'm having an identity awakening. We all go through--or rather, we all HAVE to go through that period where we discover who we are. For some of us this happens sooner than later...to me, it's never too late and never really too early to find out who and what you are.

But, what does all that mean? Is that who you are to people around you, or who are you to yourself? What do you mean to friends and family, and what do you mean to yourself? For me, I thought the question was so simple several years ago, and even recently. I knew who I was and what I was. Unfortunately, I realized, I only knew pieces of my own identity but had never really put together the grand picture. And I could say who I am to other people, but not to myself.

To my family, I'm a daughter, niece, half-sister, aunt, sister-in-law, cousin and even though my grandparents are deceased, I'm a granddaughter. I occupy all those roles, all noticeably female right? Well, I'm a girl too.

Which brings me to the world and society at large: what am I? What can they see in me? I am black/African-American, not that tall (damn genes), a glasses-wearer, stocky (or as some would put it, overweight :P) and short-haired since I cut most of my hair off. And that is what I am, or what I feel I am, to others. But notice those are just physical characteristics, what do these people actually know about me? Even my family and even close friends. Does my outside appearance really tell all there is to know about me?

Do they tell I'm an atheist despite living in a mostly Baptist/Christian household? Do they tell about my sexual preferences (aka my queer-ness), my thoughts and feelings? Do they suggest I'm an English major with hopes of being an author and maybe not broke? Could people just guess who I like to hang out with looking at my clothes?

The answer is no. My outside appearance doesn't necessarily say all that. I can make myself "say" that to others if I choose to, but I don't. And why? Am I afraid of not being vocal?

And that kinda takes me into the question of what I identify myself as being. I've noted recently how much I don't like talking about myself. I mean, I've always known but I REALLY hate talking about myself. I didn't realize how much until recently. It's just really hard. I feel sometimes it's really vain and I'm like a little mouse, so I hate that stuff.

To me, I am black, and happy with being black but not the general perception of "black". A female that's kinda starting to be happy being female, but not necessarily with the perceived "female role". I'm exploring my sexuality little by little after living in a bit of a repressed household for so long (I've settled on just "queer" for now) and I'm an atheist. And I can say all these things, but what exactly does it mean? These are all the pieces to my puzzle, and I'm still kinda rearranging them and getting the big picture straight.

And that's my philosophical talk for the day.

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