Identity: Peeling Away the Layers

“I am a citizen of the world.” 
― Sylvia Beach

Question for my readers: What are your layers of identity?

There has been much debate in the Democratic party regarding whether identity politics is what caused the party to lose the presidential election. I have my own perspective on the topic which I will not go into here, except to say that each of the identity groups have real issues and concerns that need to be heard. I hope that eventually we find a way to unite as one collective voice to support each other’s causes.

My real topic for this post is musing on what happened when I started thinking about my own identity. I discovered during this thought experiment that on any given day I may identify as something entirely different, and sometimes conflicting with other parts of my identity. Here are a few of the identities I discovered:

  • Daughter of parent with schizophrenia
  • Survivor of abuse
  • Female (feminist)
  • Short person
  • left-handed
  • Nurse
  • White person
  • Middle class
  • College educated
  • Previously lower socioeconomic with no college degree
  • Mental Health Advocate
  • Environmental advocate
  • Human rights advocate
  • Research professional
  • Mother
  • Person who has anxiety/depression
  • Person who recovered from eating disorder
  • Aunt
  • Sister
  • divorced
  • Friend
  • Fiance
  • US citizen
  • Blogger
  • Writer (wannabe)
  • Caretaker
  • Griever of brother who passed away
  • Parent of child with mental health issues
  • Spiritual person
  • Runner

Granted, many of these “Identities” are self-made and not what I was born into. Nonetheless, each one represents a part of myself that relates to a larger group of like-minded individuals.

World Trade Center Memorial wall

What would it take for all of us to peel away all of the layers of identity to see each other’s true essence? We are all here right now, on this earth, at the same time. This convergence of time and space that provides us all with this home on earth gives us all at least one thing in common to build upon.

What condition will we leave this world in when our short lives end?


4 thoughts on “Identity: Peeling Away the Layers

    • That is a good way to look at it. As I am doing some soul-searching I am noticing how I am letting go of some of those labels and identity. Thanks for your perspective.


  1. We have many things in common.
    Such as: I am also a short, left handed female with anxiety/depression, in recovery from a eating disorder.

    Many of those things are not what I wish for myself but they make me unique and provide me with opportunities to connect to others.

    Do I wish to let go of some of these identities? Yes! Should I be learning how to let go of some of these identities? Sure but they may just return to my list whether I want them to or not.

    Some I can’t change and some I can. The problem for me is that I tend to concentrate on the wrong ones and that’s such a waste of time.

    Thanks for reminding me to focus my time and energies on the parts I can change and learn to embrace the ones I can’t.


    • Wow, it does sound like we have some things in common for sure! I like your perspective on learning where to focus time and energy. I find that I am learning to accept all of these things more the older I get. Thank you!


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