Identity

Makishima-senpai on my phoneMakishima-senpai on my phone

What is my identity?

When you talk about identity in Malaysia, it always comes back to race. To where you come from. To your culture. Chinese. Malay. Indian. Eurasian (colonial and not). Whatever.

Which always left me feeling a bit off, because I could never quite grasp them the way. I like culture, but not in quite the same others have internalised them. And then there’s the whole, “If you’re this religion and that race combo” mix, there’s a subtle way pressure to act/identify a certain way.

What is my identity?

I grew up in an English-speaking household. Always felt it was a bit off, because while my friends learnt at least 3-4 languages, in my mixed household we learnt only two.

And neither one was our grandfather’s nor grandmother’s tongues, at least not according to the ethnicity Malaysia had christened them with.

What is my identity?

Stories tell you a lot about the person in front of you. It’s not just the content of the story itself, but how it’s presented, by whom it’s presented, and why it’s presented… We’re all made up of different stories that have led us to where we are. Stories are a journey, but not an end.

Compared to most others, I have a fairly priviledged and safe story. I didn’t quite want for anything growing up, and I have enough to provide for myself, at least. My story’s rather tame, compared to most others.

What is my identity?

The roles we play inform our identity. The labels we stick on ourselves, these form our identity. The feelings, the emotions, the actions we take… this becomes our identity. It is how we identify ourselves to both each other, and to ourselves, a way of marking our presence and reality.

What is my identity?

A sister, I hope. A mother, maybe. A friend. A child. A writer. A spinner of stories. A privileged git. An overbearing and arrogant woman. A people pleaser. A lonely person.

So many, and yet none of these. I am the sum of my stories, and to narrow myself down to a single story, a single identity would be to displace my humanity and the humanity of those who have added to this story.

There’s always a way to move forward.

Naoko @ Geminianeyes