The ‘i’ identity, is something I’ve just discovered – but it’s better late than never.
I often felt lost among the trappings of society, but that’s because of how I saw myself. I felt I didn’t belong and tried dipping my feet into different shoes, to see which would fit. I tried them loosely, and they didn’t seem to be the right size . At one moment in time , I thought embracing another religion would help me find the answers. I still don’t know the questions I was searching for, all I had was this ‘feeling’ of not ‘fitting in’.
I have a memory of someone who loves me dearly, telling me ‘I’m too good” for this “world”, which over time evolved into ‘naive and immature’, and ‘someone who doesn’t know anything about what it takes to survive in society’.
Growing older I decided I didn’t want to fit in and adopted a ‘ I’m going to be who I am. People can judge me as they see fit, I don’t care” and at the same time complained that I didn’t have a soul in the world to call a friend.
I was called a ‘fake’ when I didn’t speak the language, my name suggests I should, and even when I explained my mixed identity and said that when asked I say, ‘I’m Indian and my mother tongue is Hindi’ that didn’t seem ‘acceptable’ There I slipped into a realm of Identity- Cultural identity.
As children we are known by our names. Beyond that are friends, know us for what we like, and dislike ; our ‘hobbies’ and habits. As a child, we know who we are, we have dreams we want to follow often very simple ones which grow as we grow. But i think as children we accept the other for who they are.
Not for where they come from and what language they speak.
And as an early years educator and an individual who has been searching for her identity all the way into her mid-20’s I want to teach and encourage children and adults, to be themselves. There will always be different lenses through which the ‘others’ see you – and many will be incorrect. You don’t have to see yourself the way they do, and neither do you have to be who they think you should be.
‘Be yourself’ is a label, and definition I struggled to comprehend. Yet I think children would look at it and think – who else would we be!?
Let’s remember what that means, and hang onto it.
Because in that lies the true answer to the question, ‘Who Are You’