Who are you really now that COVID has put you on time out from your old life?
Are you the job title, or that person who once won that thing? Maybe you feel represented by the brand you wear, better yet the one you created for yourself? Are you the person your parents expected you to be, when as a child you first started developing a personality? Are you your failures and the things you almost did?
Perhaps you don’t think about these things very often. But let’s give it a try.
What if the job disappears, and you no longer have a title next to your name? What would you write to express your power of contribution?
Imagine that your favorite brand goes out of business and you have to start dressing yourself differently? What would you wear to express yourself?
Here’s a good one: What if your parents were wrong? and your failures were actually core life lessons? How would you live your life and what kind of choices would you start making?
Shaky Identity 101
There are many ways for us to create a solid identity. I mentioned a few of them already, especially job, appearance, family and experiences. Our identities help us make day to day choices, small ones (like what to eat) and big ones (like where to live and who to make babies with) it allows our brains a break from constantly trying to solve existential problems. We usually don’t even have to think about these things if we function within a society. The most basic identifying factors are chosen on our behalf without our conscious approval. Thank your school, your local food store, the TV in your living room, the government, your unsuspecting parents…the list can go on and on. Essentially society tells you to say YES and move on to the next fake choice you think you are making.
Spirituality I have come to find, comes at crucial times for most of us. Many people seem to be exploring themselves now due to the significant loss of jobs from COVID, and/or the changing nature of our lifestyles. The first thing that happens once you delve into seeking higher truths is all those ego crushing questions come out to the surface. Essentially, if I am none of the things that I identified with before, then who really am I?
This is where it gets fun and juicy and terrible for our egos. At this point you welcome in that fantastic identity crisis that most of us lost souls out on spiritual journeys either are experiencing or have experienced before. Mindset comes in hard and heavy, and you get to really sit face to face with your insecurities, choices and triumphs equally.
I, in no way am claiming to know answers, all that I know, I write. I think we need to create space for questions like this not only in Sathsangs or philosophy lectures but over coffee with friends too. Normalizing self exploration is a great way forward to create a happier more authentic society.
The lost ones are my favorites; the ones who are walking barefoot and naked amongst crowds of fancied out liars. The ones who almost got it, the ones who kind of have it figured out; the ones who laugh as they think about the past and the pressure it held.
I walk with the hopeful ones who definitely have no clue but are at least trying. I wait with the patient ones who have been tested more than enough and still cannot catch a break. I dance with the weirdos and the wall flowers; we trip over expectations as we line the dance floors of society. I look at your face and you stare into my eyes that were never blue or green; and I feel enough simply because; and you never even have to say it.
I write for the readers who cannot but. I write for the thinkers who need to stop and need to try something else for a change. I dread with the brave ones the what ifs and the I wish we could. My singularity melts as I think about the whole, as I think about you as you read this and how I could possibly make you feel even if for 2 minutes.
The sickness fades and becomes part of us, it begins to create a home in our lives as we wonder how we could’ve possibly changed. So peer out with me and unto me as I hold your attention for the next few seconds; walk another sentence and give yourself some time to figure sh*t out.
And so the day ends, you walk over to a porcelain white sink and you blink once. You blink again and the person staring back at you has not changed. You look deeper into a reflection you have learned to classify as being you, yourself, one person, one mind, one soul, a single beating heart. What a burden of singularity yet a liberation by its mortality. Has anybody ever stared at this exact reflection in the thousands of years that have passed? Or are you as one person a creation so new, well preserved for a single birth and a limited number of breaths? Has the sound in your own head ever been heard in somebody else’s? You draw your face closer to the mirror as you examine features you have learned to overlook at times yet obsess over at other times. This is possibly the weirdest situation : staring so hard at yourself that you reach a point where you can’t see how your internal persona matches that external foreign body. A stranger emboddied so mutually curious and awe struck by you. A minute passes, maybe even an hour; perhaps an entire night. All you know is that everytime you blink a genuine feeling of serenity accompanies the lightness of opening your eyes to a sameness and stillness of well defined functional features. Your own, for you, that body belongs to you and it is you. What a disturbingly capturing idea. Such a simplicity, so direct, so automatic you never thought it through.
Cold porcelain under your tight fingers awakens your wandering brain to a swift innocence of childlike humor. You blink and this time, the stranger smiles back at you with precious recognition, an acknowledgement of 21 years of comradery. Possibly the most absurd and equally profound realization you’ve ever had.
You splash your face with water and sarcastically think to yourself “damn im deep”.