We spent some time talking about our identities. It was rather interesting! I realized that there, too, seemed to be layers of ways we look at reality. First, i noticed that i don’t have an identity label that jumps out at me, which probably reflects the privilege of a white person. Then, i noticed that there are many ways i identify myself, though, without making it completely conscious to myself. I am a spinster – a women spinning her own life . I realized that this felt more in line with my identity than “single by choice” because i like the idea of designing my own life. It took me a while to become aware of another identity, which is symbolized by my self-commitment ring: I am practicing living authentically. I thought it was fascinating how long it took me to realize that this is part of who i am! Maybe this reflects the difference between living an identity and naming an identity. There is something very powerful about naming an identity that can add to living it! Maybe it is even easier to live it once we name it because it helps us notice the cultural conditioning that comes up depending on what label we pick.
The final discovery was around my heritage. I don’t think of myself as an immigrant, even though i am. I kinda ended up staying in the US rather than making a conscious choice about it. And then, i don’t consider myself German. I was born and raised in Germany but somehow calling myself German brings up a lot of the shame i felt as a teenager around the German history. The ambivalence with that history came through again yesterday – it is not a part of my identity, maybe that’s why i shun identifying as German. I identify more as an European than a German.
Not exactly sure what this all means but i thought it was fascinating to see how many interrelated issues are contained in the seemingly simple question “how do you identify?”