I have been thinking about how to explore my identity and “pin it down” for want of a better phrase. The problem with self-exploration is that it’s very easy to get tunnel vision and to become locked inside the mind. I want to figure out my identity, not in isolation from the people around me, but along with those people around me. Here are some ideas I’ve had to help me with this.
1. (a) Write down all of the characteristics of those people around me, both those whom I identify with and those whom I simply enjoy being with. I hope that by identifying the characteristics of the people around me, it might tell me something about myself that I can’t see at the moment. (b) In addition to this, I will also write down the common characteristics between those with whom I identify, to see if this makes it clearer what it is exactly that I identify with.
2. With regards to my gender, rather than forcing myself to settle into an identity each day, I will “not think about gender” in the hope that I will naturally settle into a gender-place that feels right to me without putting pressure on myself. My biggest critic is myself so the idea with this is to prevent me from being too hard on myself when I can’t figure it out!
3. Also relating to gender, I’m going to take away my politics when I first consider a gender identity. This is particularly in relation to my feminist politics regarding my gender identity. I find that my distaste with transitioning “fully” into the male gender role relates to my strong political identification with women in contemporary society. I don’t want to become the oppressor. By taking away my politics, it gives me space to contemplate a gender identity without becoming immediately self-critical of my desires relating to becoming that gender. The criticism can come later.
4. Finally, I’m going to start focusing on those things that make me happy. I made a commitment to myself this new year for positivity to become an important aspect of my life. By focusing on those things that make me happy, I’m hoping that my “purpose” in life, my career path, will become clearer to me. Work is an important aspect of my identity, and I need to acknowledge this.
As a final note, I have to say that I am not unsure of my personality. I see personality and identity as two separate parts of the whole. My personality has always been unique, and identifiable. It’s the rest of me that I’m not so sure of. So, here’s to closing down some of the open tabs!