Identity is a pretty interesting concept. It’s definitely something almost everyone deals with on a daily basis, in one way or another. We give people we encounter a sort of mental identity, so we might remember them in the future. We typically show anyone who asks to see it, our government issued ID card or driver’s license. Identity is all around us, all the time. Anyone with ambitions to avoid it will end up having to stay indoors. I hope they don’t see or hear anything, identifiable,that will disturb their dreams. Oh no! Steve the mailman just knocked on the door with his usual shave and a haircut knock! Identity! No seriously, a person who knows that Steve always has a unique knock would easily identify who was at the door before even looking at it. Now personal identity, that is some really interesting stuff. A question that has been asked since the beginning of time, who am I? Now hopefully you aren’t asking people around you to tell you who you are. Unless you are literally asking people, in that case, sorry dude bad choice of words? Let’s assume that no one has amnesia for the rest of this chat, ok?
We all have traits, some shared and others unique to the person, that dictate who we are as living creatures. Wait…. what? ok, ok, let me try to clarify it for you. Identity is super complicated because it’s totally dependent on the context. Not to mention it also depends on the relationship between the person doing the identifying and the one being identified. Yea that didn’t really help much did it. Ok, how about a story instead! The girl that lives up the block from you is always really rude to you for no reason. She lives next door to Sarah, who is your super bestie sister of awesomeness. Sarah swears she’s a really nice neighbor and claims the meanie head even bakes her cookies once a week. You know Sarah can’t be telling the truth because whenever you say hi to her, she either mean mugs you or makes a comment under her breath. Last week while you were gardening, she intentionally drove past your house and flipped you off! Now obviously your identity to the mean girl is very different than how Sarah identifies you. Just like the identity you gave to both women, Sarah being super besters blah blah, and her neighbor being a meanie-head. Yea, examples usually help. Now do you want to have some real fun? Let’s look up the definition.
n, pl -ties
1. the state of having unique identifying characteristics held by no other person or thing
2. the individual characteristics by which a person or thing is recognized
3. Also called: numerical identity the property of being one and the same individual: his loss of memory did not affect his identity.
4. Also called: qualitative identity the state of being the same in nature, quality, etc: they were linked by the identity of their tastes.
5. the state of being the same as a person or thing described or claimed: the identity of the stolen goods has not yet been established.
6. identification of oneself as: moving to London destroyed his Welsh identity.
Oh I got that here.
Let’s break it down just to make sure we really, really got it, cool? Ready, let’s go!
- This one is cool because one of my favorite songs has a lyric that explains this! This is all the super rad unique stuff that makes you, you! Take 5 minutes, LISTEN to this rad song. I’m gonna go find the lyrics so I can copy/paste the part I was talking about here. “Be exactly who you want to be, do what you want to do. I am he and she is she but you’re the only you. No one else has got your eyes, can see the things you see. It’s up to you to change your life and my life’s up to me.” Big A, Little A by Crass.
- Super easy, you have ____ hair and wear those fancy new ______, that everyone keeps talking about. I have 3 lip rings, a rad vest and colorful hair and that is how people recognize me.
- Alright, this one is harder , but we got it. You are the same singular person, even if you get a bad haircut and try to hide or if you bonk your head and don’t remember who you are, you are still always going to be the same individual, doesn’t matter how, bad your hair is or big the lump is on your head.
- Rad! My boyfriend and I have a ton in common and place value in many of the same things, we are together because we identify with the same stuff. (He’s really cute too!)
- If a person, place, thing, or idea matches someone’s description of it, that is considered the identity of the thing.
- I am going to say right here publicly that I am vegan (don’t think I said it yet today!). By stating publicly, I am identifying myself as one of those awesome vegans and therefore giving permission for the identifying marker to be used as my identity.
So obviously identity is complicated. Everyone should have a basic set of moral guidelines and respect the freedoms of everyone. A good rule of thumb is what I try to do and do my best not to falsely identify anyone and let them self-identify so there is less chance of misidentifying someone.
Until next time, stay vigilant and KEEP FIGHTING!