I’ve always struggled with this word.
Is identity something that we create on our own or is decided by the labels that others infuse on us?
I come from a diversified family. My grandmother a Punjaban. My grandfather a Brahmin. My mom a Russian who follows Christianity and my dad, who kinda follows both the religious beliefs of his parents.
And then comes me, a girl who just believes in Karma.
It was hard for me as a kid, being raised in a small town of UP, Meerut. I had golden hair & a slightly more fair complexion than others there. Often people didn’t know how to react. Often I would get pointed out by random strangers, “Ye Dehko, Angrez ka Baccha”, while I was on my way to school.
And just like that, I started feeling like an outcast in a place where I grew up!
Even at school, girls would taunt me that the only reason why I easily get attention is because I look different from the rest. This was one reason why I never considered myself beautiful. Whenever the male gaze would fall on me, I would just brush it off by telling myself that the attention was given just cause of my coloured hair & fair skin.
By 11th grade, I had collected a lot of labels from people; Russianz, Firangi, Angrezan, Doll, Friend, best friend, daughter, sister and so on…
However, one label pinched me the most; Chubby. I hated it. At a time when I struggled with my identity, didn’t see myself as beautiful, I was given another tag that damned my self worth even more.
My mom saved me from drowning. She told me that the “no plough stops for a dying man”.
We are at the centre of the galaxy only in our own minds. Other people mostly don’t care what happens to us or what we’ve done. The world is still filled with humans
who haven’t heard of us and never will. Those who might be angry or disappointed with
you now will have forgotten all about you soon enough.
So, why do you stress on these man-made labels?
Aren’t we more than the color of our skin, our sexuality, socioeconomic status, political ideology, religion, occupations, struggles, and triumphs? Yes. These features, along with many others, are pieces of our identities, but when we remove the labels we are all one thing: human. Isn’t that crazy? When we remove the labels we have created, at the core we are all the same.
All of us are the same. Prone to all the same emotions; happy, sad, euphoria, anxiety, depression and the list goes on.
Just in that moment I freed myself from the worldly labels. I decided that I am me, not fat, not weird or different. Just me, who loves wearing skirts.
To my surprise, I saw the difference in how I felt and how others reacted towards me. I wore a skirt to my friend’s birthday party. I let my cellulite shine in it’s all glory.
I got compliments for how great I looked. One said that I look so good with extra kgs on, I would be a sensation if I lose a little weight.
I didn’t pay much attention to any compliment ‘cause finally, for the first time, I felt happy just being me. No labels.
Of course, the labels can never leave you. It is hard to imagine a world where there are no labels and everyone understands the being of HUMAN.
*ahh, what a beautiful world it would be though.
The fact that I don’t let my identity be defined by labels is why I have such a thick skin against the comments I get online.
I don’t bat an eye when I receive Beautiful, pretty, cute & ‘oh, you fat’, comments.
However, there is one label that I absolutely hate; INFLUENCER. I often am labeled this because of the kind of work field I am in.
I am NOT an influencer. Merely, I am just another human being who creates art in the form of photos, videos & blog posts like this. Puts my work online in the hope that it can add value to others. Be it in terms of getting entertained, educated or inspired.
It’s upto the audience to decide how they are affected by my content.
I will not lie. It was a struggle initially to shed off the internet labels and just be me. Looking at the thousands of beautiful & successful people on the internet. My own self would start to question if being this is what it will take me to be happy & have a fulfilled life.
I started being a stern observer of my looks. I felt like my nose was a little too crooked and needed a fixture. Even though my own man would compliment me daily & tell me that I need nothing to change. Even though, he just like so many others, adored the Jenners & the Hadids.
I would wonder, what if I looked like this, had this, was bought up like this.
I was choking with ifs and buts…
It is hard to shed off the labels & to truly accept your self but in all reality, there is nothing else but these two things that you need to do to have a fulfilled life.
“Okay so, Aanchal. What is your identity then? There was be something na?”
I personally believe that self-identity evolves with time. Also that, self-identity is something that your past, up bringing, background or situation can’t define.
Take my example; Whenever I meet a stranger, I am questioned by him/her if I am from India because I have exotic features but talked like a pure Desi. I would then tell them about how my father met my mother in Russia, fell in love and then I was born.
Is this my identity? A girl born out of diversification? No.
The story is a great conversation starter though but this story is not my identity. Nor is my name. Nor is my behaviour or my likes. As these two things evolve as you do.
Did you accumulate your mind over a period of time? Yes? But both these things right now you call as myself, isn’t it? And it doesn’t stop there. It just extends into many things – your home, your car, your things, your money, your children, your husband, your wife, a million other things; your religion, your ideas, your ideologies, everything. You are identified with too many things which you are not. Once you are like this, your intelligence is freaked. It’s a wonky intelligence; , it’s lost its penetration.
It is hard to detach yourself from everything to find your true identity. If you ask me today, what is my true identity. My answer would be: I am just a human, here on this earth to fulfil my Dharma and to receive my Karma.
Enjoying the little, simple pleasures of life like a cup of tea, a shared smile with a friend and the joy of just being me.
What do you guys think about Identity?