I realized today that through this ongoing period of uncertainty and questioning that I’ve gladly accepted as part of growing, learning, living, and believing, I’ve lost (or at least temporarily neglected) something that I know, without doubt, that I very much believe is real and true. And while I might continue to wander, seeking meaning and truth, without love, it’ll never amount to anything substantial, it’ll never be enough. In my philosophy class, our readings this past week were centered around identity. Most of the philosophers we read discussed identity in terms of things about ourselves that remain constant over a period of time. If something is a part of your identity, it makes sense that it it would be a lasting quality. As I’ve considered their thoughts on identity (some being that identity doesn’t actually exist at all, geez), I have reflected on parts of my own identity, things that have remained true about myself over any substantial period of time, and I haven’t arrived at much. Maybe it’s that on the surface, we change and grow, react and impact, and are aware that continuously maturing feeling; but really, we’re guided by qualities at the core of our being that we might not be aware of, but stay with us as we progress. We make decisions that don’t seem to correlate, but do. Maybe they reveal themselves at some point and we’re able to look back and see that all along, we knew right from wrong, we knew what we believed, we knew who we were and where we were heading, we knew. We might not choose to agree and fit the mold of our identities 100% of the time, but I believe they’re there and the more we search, the more we question, the more times we fail, we can cross things off the list of qualities we don’t hold, identities that don’t belong to us and learn so much along the way.
Let them be as flowers,
always watered, fed, guarded, admired,
but harnessed to a pot of dirt.
I’d rather be a tall, ugly weed,
clinging on cliffs, like an eagle
wind-wavering above high, jagged rocks.
To have broken through the surface of stone,
to live, to feel exposed to the madness
of the vast, eternal sky.
To be swayed by the breezes of an ancient sea,
carrying my soul, my seed, beyond the mountains of time
or into the abyss of the bizarre
I’d rather be unseen, and if
then shunned by everyone,
than to be a pleasant-smelling flower,
growing in clusters in the fertile valleys,
where they’re praised, handled, and plucked
by greedy, human hands.
I’d rather smell of musty, green stench
than of sweet, fragrant lilac.
If I could stand alone, strong and free,
I’d rather be a tall, ugly weed.
“Identity” by Julio Noboa Polanco