In the midst of intersectionality, there is this need for many to define themselves by listing every sexual preference, illness, and even their race to earn points in the workplace and to plead the case of diversity in the workplace. In other words, they want equality of outcome. This is a concept that does not work. We’ve seen the result of this, in a way, with Equifax when we discovered the woman in charge of cyber security didn’t even have a degree in cyber security. She was hired not on merit, but because she was a woman and they needed to fill a quota. That is how I saw it, at any rate. There is more to a person than what they are. Being a woman does not make you proficient in anything. Being trans does not make you proficient in anything. Having anemia, depression, and ADD does not make me who I am. I am not my illnesses, and I am not my gender.
I am not my identity. I am the culmination of years of mistakes, reading, and talking with other people. I am a crafter, a poet, a writer, and a researcher. I am shaped from the lessons I learned, from the mistakes I have made, and the conversations I have had. I am shaped by the research I have done and the conversations I have had that made me think differently. I am the experience I have had with the jobs I have held, the crafts I have learned, and the beliefs I hold dear.
I am a compassionate person, to a point. Everyone has a point, a breaking point. Everyone has that one moment in time, that last straw that makes a compassionate person become closed off, frustrated, and angry. I would do anything within my power to help those I consider friends and even those who are struggling that disagree with me, but I will stop helping those who abuse my help and take advantage of me.
Not once have I felt I need to assert what I was, unless context was needed. For example, in a conversation about sexual assault and rape, I can describe what it was like, because it happened to me, but do I live it every day? I am in fear of it happening again every time I step out of my home to run errands? No. I refuse to live as a slave to the things that have happened to me. They do not define me. They are not who I am. They have made me stronger and given me lessons on which to improve myself.
There is a what and a who to everyone. My what is my ethnic background, my illnesses, the color of my skin, and what I look like. My who is my personality, my experiences, my intellect, and how others perceive me. I am not my “what”. I refuse to be defined by my “what”. When you look at me, if all you see is my what, who are you in terms of intellect and compassion? What type of person are you? If all you see is my skin color and tell me I have privilege because of it without taking time to find out who I am, does that add “racist” to your what?
I am not my identity. My identity is me. If you can’t tell the difference in those two statements, maybe, just maybe, you might be part of the problem.
Until next time,