I am a Muslim, Danish-born, Somali Woman and if that is the tip of the iceberg, there is an entire kingdom beneath the surface. I have spent my entire life, i.e. babyhood, infancy, toddler years, teenage hood, early 20s, travelling and relocating countries. So whenever I am asked “Where are you from?”, I default with “Somali” (hoping that the person doesn’t then ask “Have you ever been to Somalia?” because then that would open a little pandoras box of small talk, which isn’t really my thing.
Now being from somewhere doesn’t necessarily explain who you are. I’m sure there have been fancy scientists that have done extensive research on what identity is, but I’m sure I’m (1) not qualified to talk about it in that sort of detail and (2) Neither I nor you have the patience to read about that. Right?
Identity to me isn’t something that is black and white, where you can only be this or that. Identity is all encompassing and ever-changing. We come to terms with certain aspects of ourselves and accept them. Time may be the variable that alters our wisdom and perspective on life, which may influence who we are. I’m sure you don’t see yourself as the same person you were when you were 16, right?
What and who we identify as is dynamic and multifaceted, and it isn’t a set of characteristics to be ticked of a list. It’s an innate consciousness of self at the deepest level. It’s personal and it’s yours. Being one thing doesn’t negate being something else
When you’re awake in the middle of the night, with the deafening silence of nothingness around you. The person you are in that moment, and the person you are staring into the mirror first thing in the morning. That is you before you start filtering what you think, and hiding parts of you because of what people may think and accepting certain types of treatment from people that you know is an absolute no-no.
We spend so much time putting ourselves in these boxes that there will come a time where some of us might be met with two parts of us that in theory are mutually exclusive. Except I need you to know there is no such thing. You are who you are and you don’t answer to anyone for that. We’ve been given this blessing that is life, and each one of us are who we are.
We’re human beings not Build-a-Bears. Accept all sides to you no matter what anyone feels or thinks about it because there is always someone who has an opinion and guess what? Their opinion is a non-factor in the grand scheme that is your existence. The capacity that we all have to fulfil our potential, and lead happy lives is immense, but with all the obstacles of life, we want to add not accepting who we are? COME ON!
I know for some of us it isn’t easy, and sometimes can sadly be fatal. But can you bear not being yourself for however many years you’re gonna be on this Earth?
Stay true to who you know you are at the very core of you because this thing called life is already trying enough for us to also not live our best lives. You do it on your terms for you. You only get one shot at this, so either you’re gonna have inner peace, be happy and prosper or always have this weight crushing the inside of you because you’re not being honest with yourself.
Your identity is yours, own it.