I have been listening to a lot of Cornel West lately. What a thinker. He talks about so many subjects, but I really like his concept of how we must face the death that is present in our lives. He is not talking about death in the end of our lives, but rather putting to death the things in our lives that really impact our sense of identity and self – well, I’m not sure he would say that exactly, but that’s how I interpret it.
We all have identity features that we don’t like. Some things you can easily change. You can get a new haircut or grow out a beard or something – if you’re a guy. Some things you cannot get rid of. You might be able – through the amazing developments in science – to change your nose or really most any body part these days. Some things like your height, you cannot change.
Most of these physical things that I described though find in it’s foundation a thought. You don’t like some identity feature because someone put a thought in your mind about that particular feature. You can drown in it. You can let it overwhelm you. You can maybe get that plastic surgery to make it look better – but the real issue is a thought.
That is the thing that you put to death. Whatever the insecurity – whatever you don’t like about yourself – West would say that it takes courage to address that thought and put it to death. Changing an identity feature takes courage. It takes strength and support. It takes encouragement and at the foundation of it all – a death. Look around – lots of people are making money off of this lack of courage. We market against your inadequacy.
It takes courage to put to death an identity feature.
One thought on “Death to an Identity Feature”
That is something I have been learning as my identity has changed, especially in terms of how people see me. For a long time I was very ill, and overweight. I have now lost a lot of that weight, with a bit still to go. Losing the weight has changed me I feel so much freer and I see things differently. I notice people interact with me differently. What I have to learn to do is have the courage to live in the new identity that I have. It is a fascinating process, but a tough one too!
Another superb post Lem. I really love your work.