Identity is a matrix really, Am I really Jack White when I do air guitar? As I read Emund Hilary am I really there at the top of Everest? Did i just get the chequered flag in the Moto GP? Sometimes I’m just in the shadow of life, sometimes I’m clutching onto a map for guidance, sometimes I’m just on the edge, sometimes I’m projecting someone else, sometimes I’m looking into the distance – and am in the distance, and sometimes I’m fooling around and having fun, it’s all in the mix.
When people talk about identity, I think of all sorts of angles, personality, character, experiences, vocation, passions, and also masks. The inner and outer me, who do I want you to see and know? I think of Janus too. We talk about “Showing up”, authenticity, being real. In the end, for me identity is a matrix, but at its core is the gold of integrity.
via Daily Prompt: Superficial
We enjoyed our breakfast, the staff were wonderful, attentive, good humoured, friendly. But every time I go out I wonder how much of this is put on, superficial behaviour, and how much is genuine (and I have met some genuine ones). After all, it is just a job. I well remember as a child of eleven, the insurance guy coming to visit and make sure we were “happy” with our payments etc. He had been attentive, friendly, supportive, as dad kept the premiums going even when we were struggling under a load of debt. But the moment dad wavered one year and looked to cut back, this guy, this “friend” turned ugly. As soon as dad relented and caved in to the higher payment, this guy was sweetness and light! I’ve had teachers, employers, clergy, politicians, even people I thought were friends (ha) who were this superficial too. To be superficial is to be fake, plastic, veneer, a user (and abuser), an empty shell.
For me the key word in life is integrity, if you don’t have it – then don’t come near, I don’t want your fake friendship, your fake values, or your pretend life, I want the real you, but most of all I want for you to be real. Integrity, not superficiality.
Which bit of you do we see? Do you have compartments that you carefully show to the world in different contexts, to different groups? Sometimes we are merely slices of ourselves offered carefully for show. How many of us have the courage to be ourselves wherever we are and with whoever? I was struck by Courtenay Martin’s (Journalist and author, founder of Feministing, appeared at PopTech 2014, On Being 2014) comment that we need to “show up.” In other words we need to have the integrity to be ourselves, to be whole (though recognising that we’re incomplete, a work in progress). So that the world gets all of us, and not just a slice, and so that we don’t get caught in endless machinations to present a slice, a compartment of ourselves. There’s something healthy about being whole.