Week 11: Identity

April 3-9

This is a self-reflection prompt but open enough to many interpretations. There’s cultural identity, identities for yourself, identities that may be tied to your family history, place of birth, workplace, career choices, etc.

I am writing this on the Trans Day of Visibility (March 31) and have already seen a lot of hateful comments and posts. The thing I have to keep reminding myself is that people who have always benefited from a power structure like white supremacy will feel threatened by any change that looks like a loss of power. When you have a visible identity that does not hold much power in your society, your existence is perceived as a threat.

I would like to counter this with a phrase that’s been used in activist circles: “Existence is resistance.”

For this week’s prompt, identity is whatever you want it to be. It does not need to be a visible identity. Moving from the Midwest to the West coast certainly gave me some cultural shock. I went from Midwestern “nice,” which I can handle, to surfer/tech bro, chilled-out West coast people who seemed to flake more often on event attendance. I have since found my people, but it took a lot of work.

As a tie-back to Week 2’s prompt about your relationship to work and productivity, for some of us, work is our identity. Another cultural shock that I’ve experienced is how those in the US are so intensely tied to our work. When we meet someone, “what do you do?” is one of the first things they ask. In many parts of Europe, the question can be considered rude.

So, how do you interpret identity?

Examples & directions to go:

  • Did your birthplace or hometown shape you in any way? Write or draw a reflection of it.
  • Assemble a photo with objects that represent you
  • Create a piece that shows your cultural identity and/or relationship to it. It’s not uncommon for this relationship to change as you age.

Mood board & inspiration: