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I very much appreciate the responses to my identity posts. You've given me a lot of valuable food for thought.

watcher457's comment was especially helpful, on a paradigm-shifting level:

IMHO, I think trying to define your identity under one name is as restricting, if not more so, than using other names. You are not trying to disown the work you do under a different name. You may be doing it for reasons of protection, but there is something powerful about creating your own identity. It is not creating something that is fake to hide behind. It's allowing another part of yourself to shine through, and I don't believe that this self has to be identified under your given name. I believe, and I'm just going on intuition at the moment, that the name you use for X spiritual purposes can be, could be, the name of your Shadow self, and then there is you, and they are both you, and learning to accept them both as equally valid parts of you allows you to decide how much of that you really want to give to the rest of the world. Not everyone deserves every part of you. Some only deserve a small part of you and just aren't worthy of knowing you as anything else.


Other people have made similar observations, and/or covered part of this at other times, but there's something about the way she put this together that's resonating especially deeply for me.

Maybe some don't "deserve" to know more than a particular section of myself. But I think that part of what's driving me to wrestle with this issue with the intensity I am is the desire to be known, respected, and loved in all my parts, not just the "socially acceptable" ones -- and there is something about doing that as a single person, under my public name, that feels very compelling.

It may also be an unrealistic desire, and I need to grapple with that as well.

I've seen some pretty sad consequences of individuals (one in particular comes to mind) insisting on being totally open with the wrong people, people who should never have been expected to be able to understand or accept -- much less appreciate -- the things sie wanted to share.

I'd never thought to compare myself with that person before. . . It puts a whole new perspective on this for me.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
watcher457
Aug. 19th, 2009 06:18 pm (UTC)
Well, yes, you do want to be known for your entirety to certain people. It would be ideal if you could reveal everything to your parents, or to whoever else that you feel you want to give yourself to. However, and this is a sad fact, some people just can't handle it. If you're uneasy about whether or not you think, for example, your parents can handle these parts of yourself, you have to decide if you want to take the risk to show it to them and be hurt. It's unfortunate, but you can't control how other people react. It may hurt to hide, but it may hurt not to. Only you can decide if you want to take the chance.

Having said that, I still think it's wise to use the psuedonyms. That way you can be select with who you reveal the truth to.
amqu
Aug. 20th, 2009 02:08 am (UTC)
But I think that part of what's driving me to wrestle with this issue with the intensity I am is the desire to be known, respected, and loved in all my parts, not just the "socially acceptable" ones

You are looking for the impossible. Most people are different from you (and from each other). There are parts of you that they will not understand, respect or love. Not because there's anything wrong with you or anything wrong with them, but because your worldviews and senses of morality are different. Just as you will not understand, respect and love every aspect of others.

Another irony is that you want more than your "socially acceptable" parts to be loved and respected. You belong to several different societies. I suspect the society you are referring to above is your parents' society. And yet some of the very things they respect (conformity for the sake of acceptance in their specific society, for instance), you do not value and neither would other people in your other societal spheres. In those spheres, your parents' ideas are not "socially acceptable."

I think there are two issues here (maybe more, but I'm only seeing two at first glance). 1) Accepting other people's views of you even if it isn't always positive. Recognizing the inevitability of their having basic differences with certain aspects of who you are and loving/caring for you anyway (or even just plain not liking you). 2) Apologizing for straddling two or more different societies. One example I have noticed is needing to apologize for making a living outside your spiritual director practice. This might be nothing more than the fact that you WANT to make your living that way and feel stuck with something less fulfilling. But the fact is you picked a very un-lucrative profession and will more than likely always have to supplement it to a greater or lesser degree with something else. You're going to get very tired of apologizing.

One of the ways you have always identified yourself is as a bridge between worlds. I hardly think that person would expect everyone in every world to love and respect her. You would have to be some kind of wonderful for everybody in every society to accept everything about you.

The Apostle Paul "became all things to all people" to bring the message of the Good News. He tailored himself to the people to whom he was preaching (but without betraying his principles or lying about himself). He simply highlighted different aspects of himself depending on the audience. He also made a living making and mending tents, the preaching business not being all that lucrative, but he is not primarily known as a tent maker.
qos
Aug. 27th, 2009 06:07 pm (UTC)
There's a lot of insight and wisdom here. Thank you very much.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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