I identify as a quirky, sunglasses and beanies kinda gal.
It’s odd how ‘identity’ is such a chaotic concept. Identity, by definition, is “the fact of being who or what a person or thing is.”
We both search for, and condemn, the idea of ‘other’. We connect over, and shy away from, ‘change’. We try to be, and hate to be labelled as, ‘different’.
I once met a man who loved talking to me about Wales. Yes, the country. He identified with me because my grandmother is Welsh, and he used to live about ten miles away from her home town. He was, to everyone else, a coarse and unfriendly man, but lit up when able to regale me with tales of his youth in Newport. I’d see him on the train every morning and we created a friendship over the identity of being, at least in part or by heritage, Welsh.
I’ve never pretended to be a normal person, if we accept that the concept of normal is fashionable, sociable, personable, mainstream etc. In fact, I embraced my difference wholeheartedly and protested if someone made the assumption that I was anything near normal. But when I didn’t make friends too easily because I was weird or completely disinterested in the way I looked, I hated that I was different. I sometimes hate that it’s difficult for me to understand social interactions because I’m not normal. It’s more than a choice of music and clothing. For me, difference is wired into my brain as surely as the knowledge of how to ride a bike.
The Welsh man, Charlie, stopped getting the train one day. I guess his identity moved him down a different path to the one I’d been following. But like that man, who identified with me over nationality, I know I’ll find many more people in life who identify with different facets of my personality. I’ll find even more people within whose personalities I see my own identity.
The chaos that is the concept of identity is all that keeps us grounded in a cacophonous world. It’s best to just jump up and let the tempest whirl you towards your destiny.