Something that has to be played with…

Identity for me is something that has to be played with and explored, and not become complacent about or uninterested in.

Mika (b. 1983)

Identity is an assemblage of constellations.

Anna Deavere Smith (b. 1950)

The most important thing for me as an artist is having an identity.

Eric Church (b. 1977)

Unless we base our sense of identity upon the truth of who we are, it is impossible to attain true happiness.

-Brenda Shoshanna (b. 1939)

48 thoughts on “Something that has to be played with…”

          1. Ah, that one. I am not sure we know who we are. What comes out in therapy is often surprising for clients, and sometimes shocking. True happiness, in my humble opinion, is best defined in Pirkei Avot, only there it defines wealth, rather than happiness: ‘Who is rich? One who is content with what he has.’ Replace ‘rich’ with ‘happy,’ and you’ll have my definition.

          2. Of course. As my husband and I sometimes discuss, both of us grew up in relative wealth (inasmuch as it was possible), brought up by highly intelligent, well educated families. Cognitively, we can understand and empathize with those who had been deprived of comfort and security (for instance, our adopted son), but ‘сытый голодного не понимает’ no matter how they succeed, following their formative years that have defined who they are.
            Sorry about the ‘psych talk’!

  1. I feel like I am my consciousness and all other identities are secondary. The other identities determine what it’s like to be me and what effect I have on the world, but they are not me. Besides the idea that I am my consciousness, the thing that feels, the thing that experiences my thoughts… Besides me being my consciousness, I know little of who I am. Perhaps that’s something I’ll fix soon.

      1. I’ve read that identities can be used to keep you on the right track in life. For example someone who identifies as an artist will work to protect that identity by producing art. It can work as a motivator in that way. So it might be useful if I can find some of those productive identities and start to believe in them.

        1. That is so interesting! I’ve actually been thinking about writing a very short poem regarding whether it is the case that I am writing poetry about the truth or creating it by writing.

          1. Idealism vs realism. Do we create reality or is it out there to be discovered. Very interesting. My take is that it’s very context-dependent, whether realism or idealism holds more true. In physics it’s silly to be an idealist in social science it’s perhaps a bit silly to be a complete realist (I think I’ve used the terms correctly, but I didn’t check if my memory of them is correct).

          2. Glad to 🙂 Brings me back to teenage me. I remember reading the Mage handbooks of the World of Darkness roleplaying game.

            That roleplaying system took idealism as a way to make magic work in a modern context. Reality defined by our collective thoughts about it, and when there’s no observer to enforce reality all is up for grabs.

            Hope your realism vs idealism poem will be a success.

  2. Identity is another one of those slippery words for me. What does it really mean? Who am I?– that’s an unanswerable question as far as I’m concerned. And too much navel gazing involved. (K)

    1. I saw some quotes to that effect in my search, Kerfe… and part of me agrees with you… but my personality seems to be very drawn to introspection and exploration of my identity… I can’t help it.

        1. well I definitely like that quote (above) about identity being a bunch of overlapping constellations… I guess it’s primarily the intersection of how we perceive ourselves and how we are perceived by others (it can shift a lot). For me, it’s something that feels “right” — feels “true” (like that last quote suggests)… a way of thinking about myself that feels like a comfortable sweater.

          1. I did not mean to press send yet…
            I’m never sure what people think because I know how often it doesn’t match what they say. I get the idea of feeling comfortable with yourself, but I don’t know how you quantify that as an identity. Maybe because I see the outer trappings as easily manipulated, and I’m not sure there is an unchanging “core” either.

  3. Too many people focus on the search for identity. I prefer to live and let it unfold like a flower blooming… Too many think of the search as jerking open a door to find their identity standing there just waiting!

  4. I think my take is most similar to Anna Deavere Smith. Similar to constellations, identity is the story we craft about ourselves based on data points (stars) which may or may not have anything to do with each other.

    FYI, I’m currently drunk, so sober JYP may feel differently (or the same – I’m not that interesting drunk) whenever she shows up.

    1. In my mind, all of these quotes work together – to me, they don’t contradict one another 🙂

      So my take is a combination of these and perhaps others too 🙂

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s