Noa Gavin, The Fearless Bitch
Oh God do I feel that deep down in my soul. I change my identity every single day, because what I wear, how I do my hair–it changes who I think I am for that day. Sometimes I curl my hair and I’m so ladylike. Sometimes I pin it back so it looks like I shaved half my head. Sometimes I wear purple extensions. It seems silly, but I feel like two different people based on whether I’m wearing heels or my knee-high combat boots.
For a while, I struggled with this constantly changing view of who I am. Identity, to a lot of people, means that you’re one thing all the time and that’s it. If you have different ‘identities’, you’re being disingenuous and are, to the extreme, a liar. A Mata Hari.
Welp, fuck that shit right up the spine.
There are so many facets that make up an identity. People can be mothers and bass-playing hardasses (I know one). People can be tie-wearing ninjas (I married one). People can be artistic and creative and sensitive and still know more than their fair share about Motley Crue (I am one).
Being you may feel different every day. You’re not always gonna feel the exact same way all the time, because that’s boring and also, not at all how anyone feels.
Don’t be afraid to be new, as long as it feels true to you.
Abby Heugel, The Funny Bitch
I ended this month’s “Identity” post by saying that “among other things, I am a writer, a daughter and a loyal friend. I’m funny and grateful for humor, but introspective and complex as well. I’m someone who struggles, but I’m doing the best that I can and am unapologetically myself. I am not my circumstances, but rather a survivor. I am a constant work in progress.”
Writing that post wasn’t easy, mostly because I’m still struggling with this issue on a day-to-day basis and I worry that my identity—both internally and externally—has
become something that I don’t even recognize anymore. I am all those things mentioned above, but I’m also someone who has a hard time accepting where I am right now.
I don’t love my job and get frustrated with the fact I can’t get paid to write humor or something I feel passionate about. I get frustrated with my health because it often feels so out of my control. I worry that my insecurities—those I often try to keep to myself—are projecting out to the world and putting off those that I meet.
In other words, I’m not happy with my identity. And the fact that I’m the only one in control of it—the only one that can change that—can feel just scary as hell.
But this month I was forced to take a look once again at how I see myself, and as one person commented on that post, “The external is what we manifest and what we manifest is a direct reflection of what we believe about ourselves.”
That stuck with me.
My identity is whatever I make it to be, and whatever I put out into the universe—good, bad or indifferent—is a reflection of how I feel about myself. While I might not be happy with my circumstances, I don’t want to be a reflection of that unhappiness. I don’t want my identity to be tied up in struggles, but rather with how I work through them.
I am a constant work in progress, but identity is constantly changing. It’s up to me to decide the direction.
Jen Reinmuth, The Fierce Bitch
My struggle with identity has been lifelong. Being the youngest in my class, I always felt left behind; like I was “acting” the way the other kids were but never really feeling the flow. Although to outward observation I seemed bubbly and popular, I was an insecure hot mess. Sadly, you don’t always grow out of that shit, so into late adulthood, I still found myself framing my identity upon my accomplishments, and the perceptions of others…namely, men. Whether I had the straight A’s, the dream job, and the perfect guy interested in me determined my self-worth. Get a B and ruin my perfect 4.0 GPA? Crying jag. Not get the venerable position I desire? Weeks of self-loathing. Rejected by the man I cared about? Go directly to the Bell Jar, do not pass “Go”.
It has taken years of heartache and rejection, but for the first time in a long time, I feel like I’m finally coming into my own identity, and I owe that in great part to (a) my ex husband, and (b) losing my job this week. Yeah, I know, queue dound of all of you saying “Da fuq?” but hear me out. My ex husband taught me that men cannot define you, they can only offer you what they have to give, when they have to give it. If that’s enough for you? Great. If not, pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and smile, smile, smile your way onto someone better. And losing my job this week taught me that who I am is more than what I do. What I do (or did) was autism research. Who I AM is a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a lover, a writer, a singer, a dancer, and American, and Oregonian, a Christian, a Republican (yeah, I know…judge away), a human being, a woman, and a Child of God. I am finally in a place where I know who I am is enough without titles and affirmations from others.
I met a man a few months ago that I really hit it off with. He is smart, and funny, and kind, and cute as hell, and I absolutely love spending time with him. And he appears to feel the same way. And you know what? we’re both OK with that being what it is. When I entered my 40’s I abandoned the whole idea of expectations. Do I want a committed, long-term relationship? Absolutely. And maybe that’s with this guy, and maybe it’s not. But for now, we are enjoying getting to know each other and having a great time when we hang out. No labels. No “let’s talk about the relationship” douchebaggery; just two adults who enjoy each other’s company. I don’t need him to define my self-worth because I KNOW my self-worth. And as for work, I am confident that the perfect job will come my way; maybe not what I’ve been doing for the last 4 years but that’s OK. Because, as aforementioned, that’s what I DO, not who I AM. Don’t ever let anyone or anything define your identity. You’re too pretty for that shit.