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Friday, April 15, 2011

On the Other Hand

Today's post by Rosaria has set me to thinking about our personal sense of identity and how it affects us throughout our lives. Why do we begin to recognize that we are, when did I see that I am?

I expect in my case it began most profoundly with sibling rivalry: a baby sister only 14 months younger who stole from me some of the fabulous attention I had throughout my short life been given. So realization that I was somebody and that there was another somebody begat my need for identity!

There was the Daddy's girl I-D and the Big Sister I-D and the school girl, teenager, working girl, wife, mother, grandmother etc throughout life. When I look back over the years I don't have much more sense of who I am than I did from the earliest days of contending with the arrival of my little sister. Professional advancement slowed right down after my move to the UK. I tried to find work several times, but was not successful until 2000-2002 when I had some part time work as an administrator. I do not have a professional identity. If I did have it most probably would have been as an editor and journalist.


Of course the identity we may believe ourselves to be and the identity that others perceive us to have may be very different! At the moment, today, and for the past two weeks, I have felt my identity to be that of 'daughter'. And thinking about it, it seems to me most apt that my sense of who I am is in fact ever changing -- that it is the condition of my life and that I do not necessarily expect to be who I am today -- tomorrow.

On the other hand, philosophically thinking perhaps the most important identity to consider is that I and all who gather here are human and our humanity is the most important identity of all.

1 comment:

  1. Profound reading for this time of night, Broad. I think we are all defined at least partly by our relationships and the balance changes throughout our lives. I am of course still and always my parents' daughter, but since their deaths 34 and 29 years ago, that relationship is no longer active in the same way as that of daughter-in-law to my still hale and hearty mother-in-law.

    Similarly I am a priest, retired, but still a priest and that too defines the person I am.

    For me my self-swareness began around the age of 2 when I can remember relating to my older half-sister and my baby sister in very different ways.

    Thanks for stirring the old brain cells up like this :-)

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