Merriam-Webster, since 1828 defines ‘Identity’ as ‘the distinguishing character or personality of an individual : INDIVIDUALITY’, and as an alternative also has definition as ‘sameness in all that constitutes the objective reality of a thing : ONENESS’, which in contradictory means that we tend to overlook how similar we all are and unconsciously run in a rat race that does not really have an end destination.
As per my knowledge, there are four phases of learning: Childhood, Adolescence, Middle age and Old age. During childhood, we are identified by our age group, to the family we belong, during Adolescence(including teenage & adulthood) is when we try to make an identity of our own, beyond the family's shadow, during Middle age where you realize all that you were striving for, will never be enough, there is so much more to do, and finally, in old age, you end up reasoning with yourself how and what all you could have done when you were younger and start advising the younger generation on how they can be better at making their lives (Well, experience talks!).
In my first interview, when the interviewer asked me, "Tell me something about yourself", the first thought that came to my 23-year old mind was, "Oh, God, WHAT AM I?", and then looking at the tension on my face, the friendly interviewer said with a smile, "I just was inquiring about your schooling, the city you are from etc. I was immediately relieved and I answered her with the basic information about me. However, the thought that took birth in that specific moment still lingers in my mind. It affects so many of my actions and reactions and decisions.
I started my quest of knowing myself, read introspection; with how I was when I was a child, with a very vague memory, I could infer that I was always needing attention, then a thought countered it as ‘obvious’. Then I dug deeper to the time when I was lonely and scared; a physical abuse when 5, turned my life around when I started growing up. There was anxiety that I did not understand and there was silence that I could not voice out. I kept myself engrossed in games, always on the road playing, until the late night when I would be so tired that I would get home, eat and get up to go to school. I robbed money from home to buy stuff for friends so they would never leave me, to be in the no ‘katti’ zone. The more I asked for, the more I felt shallow. I started getting attracted to people in trouble, I felt helpless but I was getting an idea of what all are actually considered ‘problems’. And what I never expected to happen, happened. My parents separated and I had to choose ‘humanity’ over ‘love’; this became the biggest turning point of my life. I started scoring A’s and life became more than just getting attention. I danced, sang, realized love for the English language thru my schooling.
By the time, I reached to this understanding, I was in my late teenage and there was so much unasked attention that it just boosted me to become something so different from what I was. I was an introvert, now becoming an extrovert. The childish breakup put me through the rough patch where I indulged in alcohol, partying, basically running away from reality and doing everything that everyone of my age does during a breakup. One thing, I promised myself was that I will become addicted to alcohol like my father, and will maintain the control capacity I was gifted with. A fine day, I did lose control and post the alarming incident, I isolated myself for the goodwill of my mother’s solo efforts in bringing me up. The self-analysis phase had just started that, my dreams brought me some scenes of artistic deaths of myself which pushed me to write about them in short stances. I got about 8-12 of them, which I wrote on my phone and failed to make a hard copy of. I eventually lost them, along with my self-confidence. I had just coped up with the loss of my Medical seat in a well-known college and had gained the esteemed idea of becoming a writer through my dreams.
I walked through the early adolescence with crushed hopes, and ranking first in my Masters with little efforts but to no good avail. The marks on the sheet could not bring back my confidence or show me the path which would actually complete me.
Here, started the self scrutinizing phase, my mind kept telling me, 'you are not good enough', 'you do not have a single talent', 'you will just live a mediocre life'. I never realized when and how I ended up in this rat race of becoming something.
Breakups, unwanted jobs, cutting down risks to have a normal life like anybody else, to be just enough to make the family happy gave me life lessons about 'WHO I AM', 'WHY I AM THE WAY I AM', every time, every relationship, every effort only was to make sure the person opposite to me is happy with the way I am. I have lived several identities: an innocent child seeking attention, a frustrated daughter, a detached sister, a strong woman with an abusive past, an average employee with great potential, a self-sabotaging friend, a loyal lover.
Do you think this is ever going to stop? This want of becoming better? The losses taught me how much this moment is valuable, the gains taught me how blessed I am to even understand that it is a blessing, the needs and wants keep colliding and there are more identities that will come and go. The human life is made for this journey of self-assessing, spiritual awakening and thriving for more.
It is up to us, to own it, accept it and live it fully.
You are all that you feel, you are not a single character. You evolve with every minute, hour and day. YOU are a lot more than just the words that describes you. You are the point of universe that knows how ever tiny you are, you are the one that matters right now.
Be you, more than you think you can be YOU.
P.S: I am now, in the late adolescence; a needy wife. :)