Yesterday was my daughter´s birthday. And she grows bigger with every passing year, I see a new facet of her. Stronger traits emerging slowly but surely!
I still remember the tiny bony baby, looking all blue with curled up feet and arms, after struggling through a long labour along with her Mummy. Yes, that´s me! Little did I know then, what she is really all about. You know, somehow all babies come crying into this world looking the exactly same. Yes, there are some basic differences between American babies, African babies, Chinese babies and Indian babies. But, within each race, all the babies almost look alike in features. And, irrespective of the race, all babies have the same mannerisms and ways. Quite identical, I would say!
It is only gradually that their identities start to show up a little by little. And it is still shaping. I am in the same boat like her and many others.
So, What is MY identity?
Is it my name?
Tina? Or Tina Jacob? Or Tina Sequeira?
Is it my lineage?
I am a Malayali by roots. But, I was born and brought up outside Kerala. Lived in certain parts of India and America. Married to a Goan man.
Is it my gender?
I am a woman.
Is it my religion?
I am a devout Christian.
Is it my nationality?
I am an Indian.
Well, America has rubbed its influence on me as well.
Is it defined by my clique – people you interact?
I am quite similar to my mother and father yet so drastically different from them.
My spouse and I are one being and yet so opposite.
I have friends from another religions and nationalities.
I have friends who are much older than me and much younger than me as well.
Is it defined by my hobbies?
I read a lot of books, write, watch TV, surf the internet, doodle a bit, sing and dance.
Is it defined by the food I eat?
I am a savage non-vegetarian.
Is it defined by my skin colour?
Black….White…Brown…Yellow….Ivory…Gray…Rainbow???? I´m confused
Is it defined by my profession or title?
I am an HR Professional. I am a writer. I am a teacher. I am a student.
Is it defined by the role I play?
I am a daughter, sister, wife, mother, daughter-in-law, friend, guide, mentor.
Am I more than all of the above?
I remember when I was a stay-at-home mother, I was quite comfortable in my skin. Yes, I wanted to work and keep myself intellectually occupied and be financially independent. But, the lack of a professional title strangely didn´t have any effect on my self-identity or confidence. In fact, I grew an innate finer sense of who I truly was. Away from the pressures of the world, it gave me the opportunity to find peace and contentment inwards.
On the other hand, I found women who questioned their self-identity once they had no professional title attached to their name. They had a tough time recouping their self-confidence. They were essentially restless until they started working again.
I find Indians who undergo a huge identity crisis when on foreign soil. Their nationality and race becomes a huge part of who they are. For some, solace can only be found when they return to their home soil. I remember a conversation with an old Indian lady who had no choice but to spend her last days in America with her daughter and her family. In her last week of life, all she spoke to me about was how she longed to go back to India and breathe her last there. Unfortunately, her wish did not come true. Her identity was so strongly connected to her place of birth that it was simply inseparable.
On another note, I have always found self-introductions highly baffling. I truly don’t know how to define myself to a stranger. How do I identify myself to strangers and make them understand who I am in a few minutes?
Sometimes, I wonder …..
Are we all as identical on our way out of the Earth…like the way we all came into it?
If so, at what point do all our identities merge into a final whole?
Are we all nameless and blank at point Infinity?