Redefining Oneself


“I am redefining myself”, people sometimes say when one walk of life or one career path ends and the new one isn’t in sight just yet.

I’ve always wondered what people meant when uttering this statement. For: How do you go about that, i.e. re-defining yourself? What aspects of you are at stake and can be voluntarily redefined? Is such a thing possible at all? (Yes, says this gentleman)

Off of the top of my head I’d say, identity is at stake to an extent. Which begs the next deeper question: Exactly what is this phenomenon called “I-dentity”? Wikipedia has this to say about this concept. In their article, I find this finding particularly valuable – and conclusive, if I might add:

Sociology places some explanatory weight on the concept of role-behavior. The notion of identity negotiation may arise from the learning of social roles through personal experience. Identity negotiation is a process in which a person negotiates with society at large regarding the meaning of his or her identity.

“…in which a person negotiates with society at large regarding the meaning of his or her identity.”

Interesting. So now – and quite “impromptu” (=all of a sudden), though -, identity is no longer about what _I_ think as to who I am. Now it is about them and what they think I represent? Did I get this right? So, wouldn’t it then be technically more appropriate to call it “we-dentity”? Or rather: “Them-dentity”? Naw. I agree. Doesn’t sound good. Doesn’t sound good at all. OK. So for now and for the record: Wikipedia abruptly makes “I-dentity” into “I – plus more.” Huh! I never saw this coming!

Now: Be this true or not – at the very least it offers – me, personally! – a very handy explanation as to why it is I’ve been feeling so alienated from everything and pretty much everybody (with another particular stress on “body“. Sorry, John Mayer! I took your breakthrough song and shrunk it to the size of the singularity for no other reason than to serve my personal micro-nano-super-small-scale purposes when I should know better than that… particularly when considering that I’m a “string-“slinger” myself…[Psssss: Will do better in the future! [[NOT!!!]] ])

So, sociology posits the societal role someone embodies when negotiating identity at large. The “I-thing” somehow became a “we-thing” or rather “them-thing” along the way. And them decide over who I am? Am I following this right for just now?

If I did: I currently play no role in society (other than being a burden) – where does that leave me, sociologists? Nowhere? For real, now? (That was a rhetorical one. I know-know that I’m currently nowhere, o.k.? Thanks, no thanks!). No role, no place in society. Got it! (Socioligists? You weren’t exactly helping. Can I say this without sounding too rude?!)

Psychologists most commonly use the term “identity” to describe personal identity, or the idiosyncratic things that make a person unique. Meanwhile, sociologists often use the term to describe social identity, or the collection of group memberships that define the individual. However, these uses are not proprietary, and each discipline may use either concept and each discipline may combine both concepts when considering a person’s “identity”.

“… most commonly use the term “identity” to describe personal identity.” Ah…. huh!!!! “Personal” as opposed to …. what?! “Collective” identity? (Yay!!! I got this one right, at least!) But still… uhm… collective and at… the… same…time… “unique”? Can I just say: We’re not getting anywhere with this, aren’t we?

Finally, we might be gettin’ somewhere:

Another issue of interest in social psychology is related to the notion that there are certain identity formation strategies which a person may use to adapt to the social world.

Aha!! And they go on to describe “archetypes” such as e.g. the Refuser, the Drifter (uhh… sounds like I might like him! 🙂 ), the Searcher, the Guardian (shut up! Had my fair share of “Good Samaritians” in the sack! Hint: DON’T!!!!) and – drum roll – the RESOLVER! (“Accepts personal skills and competencies and uses them actively”).

Was it too obnoxiously self-flattering to say that I’ve been living my life like this? Even a long time before knowing I had C-PTSD working against this approach and idea almost from day one?

Back on the topic at hand: THAT – i.e. the “Resolver” – was the role I had been adopting ever since finding that I’m different. And different for no reason of my own choosing. And then that role fell apart. Or I did. Or … oh, goddamn, fuck all this “I”-dentity business altogether!

Now – anyone got a “redefining myself” blueprint somewhere at hand? And can spare one for an early impoverished, but still clean and headstrong boy? Thank you. Really.

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