Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Jimmy Ray is an English pop-rock musician whose birth name is James Edwards. In 1997 Ray released his first single from his self-titled debut album which did very well in the United Kingdom and in the United States. The chorus of which continued to “are you?” and would insert different names until Ray defined himself as Jimmy Ray. Even though Jimmy Ray would not release another album he is very well known for the smash hit single he did have.
Identity is defined as the condition of being oneself or itself and not another. It is also defined as the condition or character as to who a person or what a thing is. A person’s identity is how we define them, for instance we know exactly who and what a doctor is. They have a set role, so much to the point that doctors have a perceived persona, people assume a doctor will be intelligent, able to help, writes with bad penmanship, and has wealth or at least is rich. Identities help others to know who we are but they also help us in knowing who we are. Over time though identities can be lost, confused, forgotten, and changed.
With the current state of where I am in present day I realize my identity has been lost. For years now I have been a student, an uncle, an employee, a son, the friend who always had money, the smart one, a model, a leader, but now most of those titles don’t apply to me anymore. With the recent recession and unemployment rates I have lost a lot of my identity that I never thought I would lose. I graduated two years ago from college and I figured I would be in graduate school right now pursuing a doctorate in Clinical Psychology; which in turn would mean I would still be a full-time student. Due to me having a constant job since the age of seventeen and never going too long without working I am accustomed to being an employee. Being a son and uncle are two titles I can’t lose, but those transform over the years. When I started college I was younger and less mature than I am now. My father and I had the relationship of a teenager and parent and even though I was a good teenager overall I like other teenagers had days and weeks of attitude toward my parents. I have been an uncle now for the past eleven years and as I grow older and more comfortable with the role and title I have had to adapt it toward an aging nephew since I have to be a positive example for him. With so many changes and very little time to reflect on everything and all the new meanings and being in a lower spot in my life I have realized that I have lost my identity.
I have never been the type of person to be easily confused except for when I am tired. These days I am confused about my present day identity and who I really am. I was once a leader in many of the school and community organizations I joined. Now, however, I am not a member of any organization. I wonder, does this mean I am still a leader? After all a leader must have people who follow him. Or with me trying to be an uncle to one nephew who needs an uncle and one nephew who thinks we are equal. I have to now wade through all of the confusion. Part of the confusion I believe is the fact that for years I have held multiple titles at once and they have been continuous. For so many years I have been moving consistently around the clock. If I wasn’t in class, I was in a meeting, or I was at work, or I was leading an organizational meeting or activity. With all of that going on I never need to figure out who I really was because I was constantly being told who I was. I decided lately since I have a little bit more free time it is best to try to figure some things out so I can figure out my identity. The trouble I have found is that I don’t know what my own identity really is. The more and more I try to figure it out the more and more confused I get. Something so simple in theory can be so complicated in actuality.
The more I try to solve my confusion the more I have started to wonder is the real reason I am confused about my identity because I have forgotten who I am. For nearly ten years I have had so many titles that I have had to balance and juggle. Now I am starting to wonder have I just forgotten who I was. The startling part about that concept is that years ago I was a child with a child’s mentality. There was no real identity back then it was just a child engaging in childish behavior and hoping for the best outcome. As an adult did I forget who I am? Back when I was younger what was I really about? There were the basic ideas and thoughts my parents put into my head; I have to wonder was that me? So many children rebel against their parents and who they are for various reasons. I never really did that. Now I wonder am I really the good son who was meant to grow up into a good man or was I meant to have more of a bad boy persona. In turn for so many years I was the guy who always had a date. For so many years I always thought I would end up being having a serious long-term relationship which would grow into marriage. Yet I remember at one time I was a loner who didn’t care about being in a relationship. For the past two months I have realized I don’t want to be in a relationship, at least for right now. I wonder was I really a loner, or am I really a loner now? Am I supposed to be the friend who is always dating and involved or am I meant to be the single friend? I have forgotten which one I truly am. When I was younger I only imagined having a professional job, really having a successful career. I didn’t imagine being a workaholic. Over time though balancing school and work I became a workaholic. Lately, I haven’t had the choice on whether to be a workaholic or not. Being at home all the time is making me think did I really like working? Perhaps I am a lazy person. The more days that pass the more I have had time to think and ponder questions about what I have lost, how confused I am in present day, and what I have forgotten.
The answers slowly started to come to me in a fit of self-discovery. Over the past year President Obama has aligned himself with one word, change. Over the past two years I have had so many small changes back to back and then a move and more changes back to back in my life that confusion has happened. What I didn’t realize though is that I am still who I was last year and the year before that. I am still a son to my parents, I am just older and more mature. Instead of talking about prom, report cards, and being able to drive the car to school the conversations have changed to what’s really going on in your life, how is the job market and career building going, are you dating? I am realizing that just because I hold a title like uncle doesn’t mean that I have to be one way all the time. My nephews are in two different age categories, one is in middle school and the other is in college. Those relationships will be different and now that I am older, an actual adult, and out of college the way in which I can be an overall uncle is changing and growing as well. I am no longer the uncle who just graduated from high school or the uncle going to college parties and being on the college homecoming court. With college out of the way I am the young adult uncle who can be there to guide and mentor. When I was young overall I was a good son I was a good child; flashing forward a couple of years to now I am looked at as being a gentleman. I didn’t lose the identity of being a good child, it has changed and evolved over the years as I have grown and matured. While a leader must have followers to lead being a true leader doesn’t disappear because at present moment I am not leading someone. My personality is that of a leader that of being in charge and trying to help guide people in the appropriate direction. My identity is still there it’s just changing.
Identity is a funny concept. Some people lose their identity trying to please others; some people forget who they really are because they are trying to ignore part of who they are in order to focus on a different part of who they are, and some people just get confused on who they are based on current situations. Lately I have been very confused, but I realize that change happens on all levels. When change is done intentionally it can be controlled and the actions and consequences from that change are easily seen. Change that happens unintentionally is often more subtle and not easily seen. With the changes I have been going through I didn’t realize that I am still the same person. My identity isn’t forgotten or lost; it’s simply changing and growing into more and better. I no longer have to ask am I Theron Exum. I know for the most part who Theron is. While I haven’t figured everything out yet it’s okay because there is no law about completely knowing oneself upon completion of college. I know three-fourths of myself and I am getting more and more intimate with the rest of me. In time I will have it all figured out but as for right now I am satisfied with the amount of knowledge I do have about my identity.

No comments:

Post a Comment