What Do Identity Politics Mean When You Don’t Have An Identity?

maskI had a friend in college who told me that statistically I didn’t exist. And maybe I don’t.

He said it because as an American I’m a bit of an anomaly. But the truth of his off-hand comment has lingered with me for years. Beyond the demographic categories I can’t escape, I’ve tried identities on for size—with varying degrees of accuracy.

But let me go back.

My childhood doesn’t fit me. The child I was is incongruent with how I see myself now. I know I lived through grade school, through college, through job after job after job. Through labels—grounds crew, barista, teaching assistant, cashier, first grader, freshman, senior, summa cum laude, employee of the month, girlfriend, single.

But was I any of those things? Was I an archivist? A graduate student? A partner? A mentor?  Continue reading

Any Road Will Get You There

[1] I don’t really understand New Year’s, but I do understand that there’s something in the switching of the calendar year that gives people hope, and maybe that’s why I do this every year.

There’s a shading technique artists use called chiaroscuro. It’s a blending of light to dark that gives two dimensional objects a three dimensional appearance. The word “chiaroscuro” has been in my head lately, and I’ve been thinking about the way things blend into each other.

Sadness into joy. Fear into hope. Light into dark.

The longer I live, the more I understand that life, the world, our relationships—it’s all a blending. Of people and ideas and life and values and things. My goal has always been to understand everything in the entire universe, which is silly, I know, but sometimes I do understand everything in the entire universe, which is also silly. But I do.

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