“But who in the world am I” – Alice In Wonderland
In order to begin exploring the labels that we attach to our sense of identity we must begin by exploring what sense of identity is, asking what is it that ‘I’ am attached to and the ‘stories’ given behind that. Who am I? This is the beginning of a very interesting journey, I have had conversations with people about their emotions, their clothing, their families, their bodies, their health, their preferences and dislikes as well as what they feel is morally right and wrong (their stance in life), their gender identity and expression of ‘self’
I learned whilst studying both social sciences and early psychology about how as we grow up most of us have a need to find a place of belonging and how this creates a sense of ‘me’ and ‘them’ how we wear metaphorical badges be this clothing, hair styles, attitudes, material items, how we have our house decorated, how we tend to our gardens all the things that give each of us an individual sense of identity but also as sense of belonging with others.
Us humans are very necessarily social creatures, compared to animals we are quite vulnerable on our own particularly as very young children when we are completely unable to defend ourselves safely and effectively for a good number of years. We are not like ducklings taught to swim by our mothers and then free to go, not like kittens who can stand within a week or so and then within 8-9 weeks live independently as long as there is a source of food. Not like horses whom are born walking rather quickly, we are utterly defenceless, helpless and completely reliant on attaching to a caregiver for safety.
This makes us hugely vulnerable and makes us attach to a sense of felt identity, feeds a belief system which in turn feeds our sense of identity, of belonging or not. The latter has serious detrimental effects on our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. As we grow we are exposed to each of our cultures, our wider societies, our closer communities… expectations are given to us very early on from our families (which were previously placed upon them or based in their sense of achievements or fears) all of which contributing to this experience of our sense of ‘self’.
Drink me, eat me. You will be better, faster, thinner, stronger, wiser. Believe me and you will be with the right crowd and experience happiness, fulfilment, disbelieve them or you are fundamentally wrong and will suffer incredibly.
So who are we? Each of us? What is this sense of self made up of in each of our circumstances? What has informed our feelings and our physical, emotional and mental growth?
(Stacie Amelia ©️)
I’m taking some time in this process of change that I’m facing right now in this chemotherapy to really reflect on my own sense of ‘self’
I have no hair, my eyelashes and eyebrows are beginning to thin, what is my sense of face and appearance? what changes am I noticing?
First I have to find a sense of who I feel I am in order to begin exploring each label deeply to find if this really is ‘me’ or a mirage? I need to explore who I think I am to discover if this is really who ‘l’ am.
So I begin my journey….who is ‘me’? I also ask you…who are you?
I am working on collages, creative journals and some sculpture to explore this.
(This is an image I created a long time ago back in 2004/5 when I first began contemplating this idea of ‘self’ ~ Stacie Amelia ©️)
What’s your story and how are you making sense of it?
Have you asked yourself… who am I?