To some the first thing they see when they look at me is the colour of my skin. To others its my gender, my big smile or my charm-or lack of it. To those who hear me speak I’m an employee, a tax payer, a son, a friend, an ex, a heterosexual, a sapiosexual, a Wiseman, a fool, a spiritualist, a conspiracy theorist, an apostate, a bastard, an enemy of the faith , an aspect of consciousness, or a blasphemer.
My identity, depending on who you are varies and it is fixed and immutable. But to me my identity is fluid, and interchangeable- and also hierarchical.
Why do I use that last word? Well I feel that many of my identities would not exist without society’s need to create them, and give them a subjective value. For example I am only an employee because of my job, likewise I’m a taxpayer because the state requires me to contribute towards my future welfare and security (in theory). These are two immutable, important and unchangeable titles according to the world as we know it today.
Likewise, I also prioritise my own labels; I am constantly evaluating my ‘self’ against the many masks and identities that we are either raised with or have incorporated into our beings.
Looking back on the past 6 weeks of the coronavirus isolation all of these ‘identities’ have been challenged, under scrutiny, and called into question.
The loosening of societal norms and the unravelling of the daily grind have changed what it means to be a citizen, and contributor to our ailing civilisation; as well as who is most valued when compared with many of the so called ‘values’ that are upheld by the governing class. Meanwhile our imposed seclusion has also caused us to also question and challenge our own preconceived beliefs and opinions – of ourselves and of others.
Our insecurities about each of our own personal identities comes to light in the light of our own reflection, absent of the distractions that we would usually face in ‘normal’ everyday life.
For example, in the absence of my daily commute to the office I realised that I am no longer the cocky and wise-cracking employee with a slight swag delivering to deadlines and budgets, or the shy spreadsheet filling analyst; and without my friends and colleagues surrounding me I’m not the Guinness drinking socialite with arguably average pool skills, and even more apparently I am not the buzz-word speaking wannabe philosopher and spiritualist.
So who am I then amidst these masks?
Well, the truth is that each of these masks represents an aspect of my true nature, only exaggerated, and exemplified, and shaped by each of my external environments. However, neither one of these masks represents my fully authentic self in the present moment, only a momentary glimpse of the real me outside of the present.
And it is only during this time and place in lockdown I am finally able to more clearly see myself for who I truly am, without the pretense and suppositions of others, nor the limitations of masks I choose wear to hide my quirks, gifts and vulnerabilities. More importantly I am able to fully accept these things, and therefore accept all the quirks and the, gifts and the vulnerabilities of others as I now see them in myself.