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Beyond the Lone Islands

Monday, 28 June 2010

Choose An Identity

Choose an identity

I wonder how many times in my “career” as a blogger so far (1½ years) that I’ve faced that choice? Usually I am already logged in when I read blogs and comment, so just skip right to the publish button – and so I was today… but because the content of what I had just been writing was about identity, suddenly the choices stood out for me.

Heather had a post about the struggle of being oneself (well, that’s the short version of my interpretation – you might form your own by visiting her blog). And it set me thinking back on various conversations with people over the years… 40 or so… about how we look upon ourselves and how we think that others see us; and sometimes those images are surprisingly wide apart.

Moreover: sometimes what we think that others are thinking about us is not even what they are thinking at all, but turns out to be only what we are thinking that they are thinking. And on top of that, what they are thinking about themselves might also be very far from what we are thinking that they are thinking!

Was anyone able to follow that? ;) 

The bottom line is that we all have our identity struggles. Most of us have a lot of roles to juggle about during our lifetime: in the family, in school, at work, in church, in different groups of friends, whatever.

We “log in” and accept certain rules of behaviour in one context, keep more of an “open identity” in another, and choose to be “anonymous” in a third.

Often we tend to fall into the same pattern automatically, in the same kind of circumstances. And we may think no more about it than we usually do when Blogger tells us to “Choose an identity”.

Perhaps sometimes we should stop and think a bit more about it?


Writing this, I also keep getting bits and pieces from Paul Simon’s album Surprise weaving in and out of my thoughts. Link goes to his website where the titles of the songs on this album can be seen, and if you click on the titles you get the full lyrics. (Only wish I could provide the music, too.) My problem is that it’s hard to choose just one or two quotes; the whole album really deals with related stuff. From the first song How can you live in the Northeast to the last one Father and daughter. Okay, so I’ll choose one quote from the first and one from the last…


Weak as the winter sun, we enter life on earth. Names and religion come just after date of birth. Then everybody gets a tongue to speak, and everyone hears an inner voice. A day at the end of the week to wonder and rejoice.
~P. Simon: How can you…~


There could never be a father who loved his daughter more than I love you. Trust your intuition. It’s just like goin’ fishin’. You cast your line and hope you get a bite. But you don’t need to waste your time worrying about the marketplace, try to help the human race, struggling to survive its harshest night. I’m gonna watch you shine, gonna watch you grow. Gonna paint a sign so you’ll always know. As long as one and one is two.
~P. Simon: Father and daughter~


Heather T. said...

Love, love, love this post ♥ tears are in my eyes with the quotes...yes, they are. Thank you, my friend for feeding my spirit today.

Hah! And because I followed your link from my, I am forced to choose an identity :)

Of course, I shall remain "me".

wonderful post

GB said...

Interesting thoughts. I certainly agree that many of us choose an identity to suit what we are doing. A partner who many years previously had worked in the same Department as I worked said to me, when we were living together, that if people in the office had any concept of what I was really like thay wouldn't believe it. The point of telling you that being to emphsise the point you were making.

Some people, however, are just themselves. I am just myself. The problem is that that I have so many selves - well I used to have. I'm not so sure that I do now. What an interesting subject.

PS For some reason I'd missed Heather's post. I shall wander over and read it now.

Ginny said...

Wonderful post! Really, don't some of us act differently depending on who we are around? So our identity is ever changing, then. The Paul Simon album was a SURPRISE, because I haven't heard of it, nor can I find it on I Tunes. I need to Google it and find snippets of the music!

Sandra said...

when i saw the log in pic I thought, NOW what is she saying about this one. I love all of it. and teh scary thing is, I followed that paragraph completley, just like I had written it. i agree with all your thoughts and you put it in perfect words for me. I love it when you start "thinking" it makes me "think" to. I like that first simon quote a lot and it to makes perfect sense.


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