I am Female. I am Canadian. I am Black. These are sometimes answers to registration forms that may but most likely don’t define the complexity of me. It’s just a scratch on the surface, a “maigre connaissance” as impersonal as a handshake. As much as this doesn’t define our person, it holds a picture of us. An oxymoron; The definition of the identity can either imprison us or set us free.
We have walked for miles and scavenged the earth for thousands, tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of years. We are the last remaining piece to the earth’s puzzle. Far and wide, we have walked, talked, made kingdoms and made babies, made the best and made the worst; a group of mammals with a big spectrum of degrees, personalities, even ideologies, to say the least, can define who we are just a little bit. I agree, we are complicated creatures with not just one factor to blame but I wonder how much our identity plays a role in our perceptions, thoughts, and actions. What roles does identity play in our lives or on another tip, can how we identify ourselves effect our lives?
From birth, we are bombarded with outside stimuli, that attracts our pupils from left to right, our minds trying to break down what we are seeing and experiencing. Put a mirror in front of a baby and see the wonder in their faces as they lock eyes with their reflection . This is the first great example of true self-acceptance. From then on, most of us will lose it. Why? We are told everyday, through our five senses who we are suppose to be, not what we truly are. How can you be the person that is not really you? You’ll be forever disappointed. Look in the mirror now and do you have the same wonder in your face or do we avoid our own gaze? And that is the easy way of recognizing the man in the mirror. We usually accept the names people gives to us; our self-portrait is always smeared with others’ perception, rarely do we name ourselves. This is not condemning the people we hold near and dear, nor should they stop giving us feedback to us. They mean well, (I hope), but the first person who knows you should be YOU. Identity. We can use it to imprison or to set free; it has the power to unite and divide, all based on how clear we see ourselves. Humanity strive to find meaning of their existence in groups, conforming is seen as a strength. Conforming does not mean coming together and although you may be a reflection of me, I must learn to recognize me in you. I must see the similarities and differences and respect it. Conforming is not Acceptance, its the losing of many things, mostly oneself.
I was born in Canada, this is where I live, in a lively neighborhood, and an anglophone, I can say I am Canadian. It’s history and its policies may not reflect who I am, but none the less, I am Canadian.
I’m Black, born to a West Indian family, we come in all shapes, sizes and shades. Although, we associate black as being “skin that’s darkly packed”, how De La Soul has put it, the word black is complex. It’s used to describe a group of people based on their hue of their skin and was used to determine’s one’s status in society. Now, we mostly use it to describe a person with Melanin.
Female, yes I am. I am Woman. This does not make me weaker, nor does this make me less than the other. My part is just as important as my male counterpart. We don’t compete with each other, we complete each other. You can’t have one without the other. Without the Woman, the world would seize to exist, nothing would be born. My femininity is my strength, some might penalize me for it. I am not ashamed.
I may have many names, a lot more than what I’ve given here. As you can see, our identity can effect our lives if we allow it to. The only evil, to allow the distorted self-perceptions to effect it. Boxes within boxes, we are the Russian Dolls in our lives. Uncover until you reach the baby inside.
Now, look through its eyes.