Monday question: What defines you?

So I've been pondering questions of identity this weekend, because I have a new character in my head who is struggling with who she is and what she wants to be.

(All my really deep thoughts show up disguised as imaginary people.)

And so I've been thinking about identity and how people define themselves. How we take the culture we live in and in the people around us and the things that we hear about who we ought to be and mix them all together with our own likes and dislikes and personality and somehow come up with an idea of ourselves.

I've been thinking about how people cling to that idea, how we fear the loss of reputation or the loss of close friends and family, not just because we love them but also because they help tell us who we are.  And how we share different parts of ourselves with different people, hiding or avoiding the parts of us that they disapprove of or don't understand.

And how sometimes we realize that we are not as bad or as good or as brave or as cowardly as we think ourselves, and how that realization--that we are not the person we thought we were--changes the way we view the world.

And I keep coming back to the question, where does identity reside?

Is it in your name?

How you spend your time?

What your parents and family told you were?

The things you believe (or don't believe) about God and faith and religion?

Is it in the neighborhood you grew up in?

The person you're in love with?

The things your friends say are cool and uncool?

The things the culture tells you that you should want and be and have?

You tell me.

Where does your identity come from?  And if that thing changed or disappeared, who would you be?

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Fabric art in the header by Carol Riggs.