Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Who am I?

Discovering who you are is a lifetime project. At a very young age others take charge of moulding you into what they want you to become. Before uttering your first words, a man in long robes pours water on your forehead and voila! You are now a Christian. Most babies cry out when the water touches their face, probably their first sign of protest at being defined by society. Earlier on your parents may have made the trek to a government registry to name you and you will most likely be called that name for the rest of your life. Once the State and Church are done with you, then your community performs its own branding rituals. In some places strange men or women take you to a dark place and use a knife on your most intimate places to certify your cultural identity. When they are all done, you have a legal name, an official religion and you belong to a certain culture for better or for worse - and you had no say in the branding process. When you are finally old enough to question this pre- ordained identity you either embrace it or spend a lifetime trying to rebrand yourself.

At 50 I know that many people are threatened by anyone who refuses to conform to identity rituals, but those who later in life have the audacity to define themselves enjoy the singular freedom of discovering who they really are.

— feeling incomplete.

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