Thursday, 18 August 2011

When I grow up...

I have been thinking a lot about ‘lingering identities.’*
Who we used to be, and may not be anymore, or ever were, but still include in visions of ourselves.
Single Lady
Future-Cat Lady
Future-Camp Owner

This are just a few of mine.  Some of these date back to High School. 

Now some may argue that these are, in fact, part of my identity.  They made me who I am today.  But sometimes I feel like these are anchors that don’t allow me to move forward.  In many of these identities I was confident and sure.  At least that is how I remember it now. 

If I look a little closer at these, I see many of them were not so confident and were also paired with massive self-consciousness and perhaps a little social exile.  For example, ‘Musician’ is code for Band Nerd, ‘Actress’ is code for Stage Filler, ‘Student’ is code for Nerd, ‘Activist’ code for Naïve, etc. 

What I want to concentrate on here is those ‘Future’ identities.  When I was younger (not that I am saying I’m old, but relatively speaking) what I wanted to be when I grew up was a part of my identity.  They determined course-choice in High School, then again at University, then again for summer internships/jobs, for extra-curriculars, when I went for that first ‘real’ job, etc. 

But it didn’t always work, did it?  Or at least not the way I thought it would work.  And instead of going with it, I constantly compared my present to my past identities and past future-identities.  I feel as though that is a bit limiting, but I also feel like it’s a bit boring.  If I am going to drag around these lingering identities, why can’t they be ridiculous ones?

Why do I only drag identities from High School, and after, around my present?  What was wrong with the identities and future-identities from before that time?    

Fairy Princess
Fabulous Host of Ariel’s Radio Show feat. Barbie and ‘Craig’
Apple Tree Trapeze Artist
Pirate Ship Captain
Super Girl Scout (cape included)
Fraggle Host
Future- Park Ranger

These are SO MUCH COOLER!!!!  I mean, who doesn’t want to be an Apple Tree Trapeze Artist!!!

I blame my High School Guidance Counsellors.  When a student shows a degree of aptitude in book-learning please do not assume they should be put on the University track.  If I had been allowed to choose my own courses, I would have switched out chemistry with Home Ec (that should be doable, yes? It’s still weights and measures and chemical reactions.)  I have yet to find a need for the ability to balance a chemical equation or create a thermal chemical reaction in a beaker.  But I have desperately needed the ability to properly read a recipe, hem a pair of trousers and/or cut a pattern.  All of which would have come in handy when pursing my Super Girl Scout (cape-included) identity.

But wait, here’s the real kicker.  If I look at who I am now, I feel like I might very well be closer to those pre-High School identities than the serious ones I have consciously been dragging around. 


I feel a change in the wind. Maybe it’s time to make loose the anchor.  Go where the wind blows.  Take opportunities as they come.  Take what I can, while I can.

I may be a Pirate Ship Captain, yet. 

So dear readers, what are your lingering identities? Are they anchors or the wind in your sails?  (that's the last one, promise)

*This is not my phrase.  It was coined by a friend during a similar discussion and I’m pilfering it for my own purposes.  See?  Pirate in the making.

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