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"Identities" as Clues to Patterns

Identity usually means defining ourselves with particular words that symbolize shared experiences/hurts/values/etc. RC techniques recognize the potent contradiction of being flexible with identity (e.g., "I'm not a woman, you are . . .") and the cycle of discharging on letting go of/taking on a particular identity until it is comfortable and then working back the other way (e.g., "I'm a Jew . . . I'm not a Jew . . . I'm a Jew . . ." and so on).

I think about identity a lot, perhaps because I have multiple, often apparently contradictory identities for which I am "eligible" (e.g., "I am mixed heritage"). I also play with different identities in different situations, and a lot of the time I choose to be closeted (to not identify) with certain of my more restimulating (for me and/or other people) identities. Here's what I've been thinking lately . . . .

It's most useful to identify ourselves with particular Wygelian groups when that identity will facilitate getting close and/or discharge/re-emergence. But identifying because oppression patterns (dys)function more smoothly when we are all in our little boxes does not necessarily contribute to our closeness or re-emergence. Part of the way that we are hurt is through learning that identities are supposed to be rigid (e.g., "I was born a female, raised a girl, and am a woman") and universal (e.g., "All whites are . . .").

Who am I really? I have an inherent nature which I share with every other human (e.g., "I am brilliant") and I also am unique because I can (ideally) respond to each new moment with my own fresh thinking. My universal humanness and my uniqueness are my identity. The Wygelian groups that I can choose to use for re-emergence and closeness are just tools, they are not the "real" me. (From now on, the real Meliors!)

Meliors Simms
Hamilton, Aotearoa/New Zealand

Last modified: 2019-05-02 14:41:35+00