Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Detangling Identity Part II

Identity is tricky but in many ways how we form our identity is random. In my previous post, I asked folks to randomly offer 10 different ways in which their identity was formed. Like me, they took a moment and jotted down ten things which came to their mind. I found folks who were once republican that became democrats. I had one email of a democrat turned republican. Almost everyone shared their love of either writing or at least several writers whom they admire. There was a visit to Apollo’s Temple, a PC gamer, a former high school athlete and another woman besides myself who has an affinity for barrowing the style of Annie Hall. I also learned that calling Daedalus on the phone would be futile as she has rejected this obtrusive technology while I, almost obsessively, lovely cradle my phone while giving it random pet names. Somehow, I think Daedalus has made the better choice here. There was also a rather humorous remark that “Identities,” like people, need to be responsible and use birth control when a meeting of the mind is had. Coyote, while listing his ten points, was concerned whether he pinpointed the correct ten aspects to share. I happed to have that same problem after posting my list. This is an important observation because identities can also be like a jail. We grab onto one or another of our representative identities and hold on for dear life! What happens when we let an event or a thing have rule over our identity? Our vision becomes narrow and our choices become limited. If I identify myself only as a diehard democrat or republican, I close my ears to others who hold different identities markers – I can no longer see past my self-induced label. The same happens with seemingly irreverent identity holders such as those who declare the supremacy of Mac over Windows.
“I am right, it is heard, my OP system is the correct one and you, dear sir or madam, are sadly misguided in your choice and preference. I pity you, you fool!” *flip of hair, stamp of foot, rolling of eyes*
Lions, tigers and bears . . . Oh my! There were commonalities in our identity choices. For example, we all owe part of our identity to our roles as various family members: husbands, wives, sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles. We agreed on writing and music and the centrality of these elements in our life. Yet, should I take offence that Daedalus pointed to U2 while I am still hanging on to Elton John and Billy Joel? Or that Lance singled out Eric Clapton and Jimmy Buffett? How dare they! Oh my god. The absolute horror! These people, these readers, obviously have sooooo little in common with me! How on earth can I continue to speak to someone who would put Buffett above Elton? The ignorance! Pause. A moment of silence. A new cup of Theraflue. (Side note: will I ever get over this crud???!) I hear grumbling over my Theraflue.
“You are minimizing the problem. There is a big difference between, say, music choices compared to important issues such as Pro-Life identifiers vs. Pro-Choice identifiers. Your example is frivolous at best and off the mark at most!”
But is it? What makes more sense to you? That we work towards musical communication and understanding or abortion communication and understanding? Or both? If we can’t get past frivolous obsessions such as OP system supremacy or musical preferences, how in the hell are we ever going to be able to look at and discuss abortion issues or politics? When we stand in the “right” vs “wrong” absolute, we injure ourselves as Coyote pointed out.
“Wait a minute miss ‘utopian’ fanaticizing whore, what are you trying to say? Should we all be ‘lovers not fighters’? You know that nut case Micheal Jackson said sometime like that and look what everyone thinks of that perve now!”
Hold on there Mr. “quick-draw,” I might be a fanaticizing whore, I’ll admit to that one, but I never said we should all just “get along” and agree. What I said was COMMUNICATE. To communicate we must be less ridged with our absolute identities and our visions of right VS wrong. This does not mean we will agree. I am sure that Lance will still prefer Buffett over Joel. More power to him, I went to a Buffett concert once myself and had a grand ol’ time. What I am saying is that to communicate we need to realize that there are commonalities between us and that that touchstone is where we can find some trust to start the debate. I am sure someone will piss me off, offend my sense of identity somewhere down the line. I will piss someone off as well. That’s just fine, just as long as we are willing to be pissed off and still listen. Of course, I am preaching to the choir. Those who accepted my challenge are those same folks who I network with and follow their writings and their blogs. But I cannot say that I have always agreed with these folks. There have been times when I looked at their posts and disagreed. I admit, this is rare—yet, I did not walk away at the first sign of disagreement. If I had done so, what a sad loss to myself because these folks have, on more than one occasion, educated me and challenged me to think in a different mode or look at an issue in a different light. Contributors to this post: Quietly Making Noise Howl @ The Moon Washingtonrox Less People Less Idiots

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