Friday, 19 February 2016

Identity Issues

Identity. Who am I? Who have I been? Who will I be? It is the most important part of human identity. It defines us, makes us unique. It happens naturally - but sometimes you get caught in the net, and struggle to find who it is you really are. You feel supressed by school, work, family life, friends. Your teenage years are the hardest struggle for exactly this reason, with hormones involved everything is changing too fast.
I spent years of my life trying to be other people, to act like them, dress like them, talk and like the same things they liked - and it got me  nowhere. My mum always told me to 'just be yourself' but I found that incredibly hard to grasp - why should I be me, when I could be her? The other girl, who is so much better than I am? But eventually, I managed to find the person I wanted to be - and I found my true friends, I got good grades, landed myself with someone who has my back day in day out - and I was a much happier person, and as random as it sounds - people seemed to like me more, now whether that's a psychological thing or not, I will never know. But I was so much happier when I wasn't being someone else. 

But I recently discovered that as life goes on, the person you think you are begins to change. Life events morph us into different people, its not really a matter of choice, we are constantly growing and evolving. I thought I knew who I was three years ago, and I was very happy as that person. However, I have faced the battles of change and have come full circle, and yet again I find I am in need of realising who it is I am again. 

My mum once told me that being a woman means you have to face the identity issue several times throughout your life - as a teenager, then as an adult, then as a new mother and then as a mother whose children have grown up and left and no longer need her in the way which they used to. 

Feeling like a misfit is probably one of the crappiest things ever. And I'm pretty sure everyone goes through it at least once in their life. We all want to belong somewhere. But we move on and we change and we discover new things, new places. And then suddenly we look back, and we realise how much we've changed. And truth be told, this makes me panic.  Thinking you know who you are and then having that jolting realisation that you have actually come so far, and your values, morals, life goals, friendship groups and everything else has completely changed, is totally scary. 

So I have been trying to get a hold on who it is I am, and the only way I could think to do this, was to sit down and literally map it out. 
Spider-diagram was my method of choice. In the middle - 'Who is Katie Frost' - Then I split it into:

And gradually built up a pretty good picture of who I think I am, and who I want to be eventually. I realised that not that many things had changed, it was more a case of having added things to myself, or having realised the small things I love - like for instance, Steel drums. I love the sound of steel drum bands, it brings back childhood memories of watching the little mermaid, is probably the reason I love Reggae music so much and takes me back to one of my most cherished family holidays. But my favourite books stayed the same - a few additions of course, but the core ones were still there. The same with movies and food choices - funnily enough on the 'Dislike' list, vegetables still took a pretty high rating, so not much change there
But just taking that step back when I felt like I'd lost my way helped to make me realise that I may have changed - but I still am that person I was three years ago, I may have more anxiety and confidence issues than I had back then. But I have also got more favourite books. Its just another bump in the road, and even though it feels like it consumes me some days - I just need to step back and look at the bigger picture. I am not lost, I am not anxious, I am not a nobody, I am me.

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