I wrote part one of this post a month ago. I know, I’m slow but I make no apologies for my full, exciting, and somewhat frazzled life. Here goes part two…
I D E N T I T Y
“My fullest concentration of energy is available to me only when I integrate all the parts of who I am, openly, allowing power from particular sources of my living to flow back and forth freely through all of my different selves, without the restriction of externally imposed definition.” ~Audre Lorde
I am a woman
I am Latina
I am full figured
I am bilingual
I am a spiritual seeker
I am straight
I am married
I am a mother
I am an artist
I am an intellectual
I am an ambivert
I am evolving
There are few spaces in life where I feel like I can bring all of these identities to the table. One such space is in my relationship with my husband and children. Otherwise, I pick and choose.
Should I be my assimilated or Latina self? My momma or independent working woman self? My skinny wannabe or unapologetically sized 16 self? My straight haired or curly headed self? Which self am I allowed to bring to this place today?
Let me just say that the constant slew of identity related questions a woman goes through on a daily basis is exhausting. Not to mention, if you happen to be a woman of color, the exhaustion goes deeper than any night’s sleep can cure. Yet we still manage to be amazing.
So what happens when we find a place and time when we can turn those questions off and just be? Integration happens. And when integration happens we are unstoppable!
In The Heights was that place for me. It is a story about the complexity of growing up Latino with limited means in the changing landscape of a gentrified neighborhood. Exploring the many layers of my own identity within that context was a deeply meaningful and rewarding experience.
But it is not enough to have a singular experience and go forth with my own life without passing along the wisdom inherent in that moment. I believe the power is in the sharing and in the sharing is the revelation that we are a collective that learns and grows together. That said, I’d like to close with two guiding affirmations that have come from my learning in this season. Feel free to use them if they suit you 😉
I am a whole, complicated, original person. My culture, physical characteristics, communication style, and world view make me who I am. I will bring it ALL with me wherever I go. Any rejection that happens as a result is a clear sign that that place or those people do not align with the whole me.
I will strive to be a person who creates a safe space for people to bring their full selves with integrated identities. I will not simply suspend judgement but I will ask myself hard questions when my bias kicks in. I will seek out people and organizations that align with my desire to create a more equitable and loving world.