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Identities are an interesting thing. They are so simple yet so complex. And so is their impact. I chose to say identities and not identity because none of us has a singular one. We are composed of so many complementary and contradictory identities. At one time, quoting a jealous friend, we are an unhappy grumpy uncle, and at another, quoting another jealous friend, a beautiful butterfly full of venom. These could either contradict or complement each other, depending on the situation and composition, and both of these operations lead to much interesting outcomes. To complement two identities creates a more colorful one, like adding bergamot oil to tea leaves. To contradict two identities creates a more convoluted one, like formeting discord between civility and flatulence. Both interesting to experience and behold.

Some of our identities are quite internal to us, and we feel and own and live and project them regularly. We feel at home in them. But, some are not internal. They are external identities. That we have for the outside world. I have known people who identify as introverts internally, but end up being overtly extroverted in their public engagements – that some of these people were evil hearted sociopathic vampiric insects is another matter. What is the matter, is that some of these people were very comfortable in having two very different identities at the same time, one internally for themselves and one external. If these folks were the types who take random personality quizzes, and one of them was, then they would find it very difficult to answer questions as they would be split down the middle on most of these questions. But in reality, we are all split down the middle. We are extroverted as well as introverted to share one sample, or the hedonistic monk to share another, or fake nice (as another jealous friend once mentioned).

In the world of yesterday, one might have called these personalities. But in the world of today these are identities. We are very self aware, very self assured, very self serving, and very self imposing. So we must make all of these – identities, not merely parts of our personality. That would be too benign a treatment for the twenty first century. Where after adding hyper before words to denote magnitude, we now add super, and soon we will need to find some other word to denote magnitude more than super. Because now, being hyper reactive is not enough, so we become super reactive, which is also losing its shine. But … let us come back to our earlier conversation after this digression.

I find that it is not that major of an issue that we are not necessarily aware of all of our identities. Most of our identities are known to us, because we live them internally and display them externally. But, many of us have hidden personalities, both internal and external that we are not aware of. That others see, and experience. On occasion they assume we already know these things about ourselves and on occasions they know that we dont know. But something we know that they know that they know that we dont know, even if we dont know that we dont know what it is to know (another identity could be that of the infuriatingly incomprehensible riddler). And on occasion, these identities are insidious, racist, evil, or insulting – in which case they become prejudices, and are usually not shared with the identity holder. Except in times of inebriation, stress, or general bitchiness.

In the time honored spousal responsibility of correcting each and every one of each other’s faults and errors, and minor transgressions – my wife told me that I seem to be having too many Identities. And that I choose the most politically opportune one for each situation. A charge to which I say I am fully guilty of this charge. And I am ok with bearing this guilt. None of the identities I project are fake or foreign to me, they are all me, and I am all of them. Hence, I am ok with bearing the guilt of picking and choosing the identities I project from time to time. As should you be.

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