Identity Problems – A Frank Discussion

Several weeks back, I made the declaration that the more labels a person adopts, the harder it becomes to be a person and know who you are.  Multiple labels saddle a person with mental struggles that become physically exhausting.  Each label comes with social responsibilities, cultures, and expectations that cannot be shirked as long as a person has adopted that label.

For example, I am a dual-service disabled veteran.  Thus, I carry the cultures, expectations, and responsibilities of sailors and soldiers.  Consider what the expectations of a soldier are, and that image is part of the identity and societal responsibilities for being a veteran soldier.  Being disabled carries societal expectations, both mental and physical burdens.  Consider the Marines, and every Marine is a Marine for life!  You graduate basic training and earn the title Marine, and you will ALWAYS be a Marine!  Again, that title and label hold societal expectations voluntarily onboarded, and never will a Marine lose the attitude and social expectations of Marines.

The same is true of every single label a person voluntarily chooses for themselves.  The label will attract specific people into your social circles, but only as long as you willingly live the life expectations of that label.  Each label selected will form identities and mental challenges to meet the social expectations, a heavy burden indeed!

In a recent Tik Tok video, a person proudly declares more than 50-labels, preferred adjectives and pronouns, and identities. The video lasted more than 3 minutes, and I felt sorry for the exertion this person will face every minute they have these identities onboarded.  Another person watching this video declared that the subject claiming their labels was mentally ill; I agree with that sentiment.  Why; because the subject will never know who they are because of the noise of the labels, which includes the social pressures, the responsibilities, and the expectations.  I do not know the name of the person in the video, I would not share that video due to the privacy respect I have for others.

Who are you?

Even though current society in 2021 declares confusion between who and what a person chooses to be, not what are you.  For example, I do not like, nor do I onboard, the identity of disabled.  I am NOT disabled, handicapped, injured, and working on healing, but NOT disabled.  Consider the power of words for a moment.

The transitive verb “dis” means to show disrespect, insult, or criticize.  As a prefix, “dis” is defined as the opposite of something, depriving someone of something, excluding someone, or expelling someone.  Thus, a disabled person is either being disrespected, insulted, or criticized, deprived, excluded, expelled, or is the opposite of able.  Frankly, when we are made aware of the etymology of words, we are then more aware of why people choose to adopt or not adopt certain words and labels.  Do we understand this problem of labels just from an etymological perspective?

Regardless of plasticization, words hold power over the mind.  Words become identities, thoughts become things, and research supports that labels hurt mental processes and can permanently scar.  Yet, who and what a person chooses as their identities are not considered a problem in current society or a mental illness.  People’s choices reflect their identities to attract those in socially accepted circles.

Thus, who are you?  Who do you choose to be?  Are those identities sufficient?  While not as important as who a person is, the last question ranks a close second.  How many identities can you physically onboard and live successfully?  As a fan of simplicity and a follower of the KISS rules, as detailed by Murphy, the god of perversity, I keep it supremely simple to protect my energy levels and allow my identity to shine through.  Having only a few identities enables me to select social commitments, restrict the mental noise and exertions, and hold myself accountable to a few identities to grow as a person.

Returning to the Tik Tok video subject and their 50+ labels, identities, and preferred pronouns, we must ask, what is sufficient?  A follow-on video by this person reflected the physical exertions from conforming to identities and social pressures.  Worse, this person had onboarded several more labels and identities. They reflected the mental illness and physical drain caused by trying to live up to all the label responsibilities.  An extreme example; unfortunately, no; the pressures to onboard labels and identities have grown exponentially, mental problems are too significant to quantify, and they are growing.

Not just in America, the confusion about who a person is, the identities, and their inherent loads, have become a global phenomenon.  What are the mental health professionals doing; causing harm by not discussing the physical and mental exertions of onboarding too many identities.  It is up to the individual and parents of minor children to understand and help learn and teach simplicity in labels allows growth as a person, not more identities, but less.  Fewer identities provide freedom for growth, identity exploration and empower mental health, leading to improved physical health.

Identities

As a pre-teen, I struggled with the concept of my identity.  Religion was a curse, my family was worse, and I did not know who I was, thus strangling what I could do or become.  I got jealous of how my sister could get away with breaking the rules and thought I should be a girl.  I struggled with wanting to be a girl for several years as I learned who I was and what I wanted to be.  If this problem occurred right now, professionals would counsel me to adapt and change my body through drugs and surgery, compounding my identity problems.  Yet, what helped, was getting to know me!

I had several people help me form an identity I could be comfortable living with as I explored my options, fought to understand my role and purpose, and embraced my potential.  It took time, lots of time.  It required patience with myself, a moral code I could live in, and a desire to learn—all of which I had to develop from scratch.  My identity is forged in the fires of adversity, for the consequences of my choices during this time played a role in how I went to school, what I chose to learn, and where I found employment and socially accepted company.  Some of those consequences hang around even all these many years later.  Some consequences I have been able to live long enough to survive.

Worse, as I have learned more about myself, my identity has changed, bringing with it consequences of change.  Music, movies, humor, education, and more are part of an identity that forms a life.  Choices bring consequences; how we value those consequences (e.g., good/bad, profitable/unprofitable, etc.) will determine our eventual destiny towards understanding who we are, so we can become what we desire to see in the mirror.  More lessons I had to learn, then and only then, could the value of religion be discovered, the value of family understood, and honor and pride and commitment to self appreciated as an identity to live.  Crucial to this growth and development, I know when to cut social ties, drop music and movies into the trash, and I am imperfect in changing, but I have some lessons I would see others learn to avoid pitfalls.

      1. Commit to learning using the question, “Who am I?” as a core principle to discovery.
      2. Allow yourself time to think, ponder, and consider before committing to an identity. I always wanted to be a soldier, but I loved the ocean.  I did not understand the value of these paradoxical options, and by rushing headlong, I had to learn an identity after living that identity.  Arduous path; know first, then adopt an identity.  Let me try and simplify that with my favorite axiom,  learned as an Emergency Medical Technician, “Never take your body where your mind has not traveled first!”
      3. Comfort is key. If you are not comfortable, your conscience tells you something is wrong.  An identity should require physical strain and mental confusion.  Yes, you can delude yourself for a time/  Ultimately, your conscience, spirit, intellect, whatever you call your inner voice, will break through and tell you your identity is not mentally acceptable.  If your identity choice is not comfortable, it will affect your physical health negatively.
      4. Never stop learning; learning leads to change, and change is good!
      5. When in doubt, turn to lesson two, give yourself more time before committing to an identity.

I love hard rock, big hair bands, and southern rock.  Steel guitars, banging drums, and headbanging to an excellent beat are an identity with power.  But headbanging gives me incredible headaches.  Too much rock and roll, and I cannot think clearly, and the ability to control my thinking is paramount to me.  Do I adopt the headbanging identity or not; sometimes, I am all in for a solid rock fest.  Mostly, I listen to the inner voices and moderate my music.  See, lesson two continues to hold power and lesson four keeps me thinking how much longer will I affect my identity with an uncomfortable identity with physical pain.

Choose carefully, evaluate often, and allow yourself the freedom to grow by not onboarding labels without due consideration.  Please, consider your gender and biological sex as integral to your ultimate destiny and comfort.  Before you are comfortable in your skin, you have to be comfortable in your mind!  If you want to explore identities, explore, but explore smartly and be cognizant of the social responsibilities, expectations, and cultures inherent with an identity.  Observe those with those identities closely for the consequences of thier identity.

I cannot betray a confidence, but I have witnessed how traumatic experiences can be the impetus for forcing an identity change.  A close associate went to a party, had a mickey slipped into their drink, and woke to a new reality.  The consequences of other people’s identities can negatively impact your identity, especially if you do not know who you are!

I have never been comfortable with the hard rock, headbanging social aspects of rock and roll identities.  The illicit drug use, the promiscuous sexual encounters, and the extremes in living frankly scare the hell out of me!  But, I love the music, and I love much of the wardrobes in this identity, even though I will NOT wear makeup and cannot play a musical instrument.

Life is a journey; travel safely using the axiom, “Never take your body, or anyone else, anywhere your mind has not already traveled.”  Think, ponder, consider, and then act confidently.

© Copyright 2021 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

Human Infrastructure – NO!

Angry Wet ChickenA particular political party is trying to force the lexicon of America to adopt that all humans pledged to a cause are to be considered “human infrastructure.”  Sure, what they are trying to communicate is the value of humans in a particular endeavor.  No one will know what human infrastructure means until the term is adopted and Americans are reduced to mindless pieces in a machine controlled by the government, paid for by the human infrastructure.

CEASE and DESIST!

I am not human infrastructure.  I am an American.  I am an independent, free-thinking, responsible human being.  Possessing a spark of divinity, freedom from government granted by the creator, and capable of remaining free provided I learn the lessons of history and apply those lessons to current events that I may present to future generations this Constitutional Republic worthy of living in and protecting.

I will NOT be reduced to human infrastructure, like a pawn in a chess game whose players are inept and deserving of scorn and contempt.  Do you understand what is happening in changing the term American Citizen to human infrastructure?  Can you guess the consequences of this if not fought by the citizens?  Do you know your identity as an American?

Words Matter

Congressional political leaders have for too long used plastic words to stretch over problems and hide nefarious designs.  But, do not believe me, take any government program and look for words you know, then look them up in a dictionary, compare their usage from the dictionary to current use, and see if there is a disconnection.  For example, infrastructure is the underlying base or foundation for an organization or system.  Take a road, any road that is the infrastructure supporting society.  The better the roads, the faster society moves, and the more transactions can occur.

Other definitions for infrastructure include basic facilities, services, and installations for a community or society.  Sewers and electrical wiring are examples of this type of infrastructure.  None of the six common definitions for infrastructure apply to humans individually or collectively.  Hence, the political party pushing this lexicon is plasticizing the term infrastructure to reduce the humanity of individuals, stripping them of identity, and robbing them of creator-provided potential.

Identity is Critical

Shakespeare taught a lesson, using some serious backward English when he stated:

What’s in a name?  That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

The quote originates from Romeo’s courtship of Juliet, as Romeo attempts to sway Juliet that a name does not matter.  Except, a name does matter, and the lesson here Shakespeare is trying to convey is that a name contains history, tradition, value, and distinguishment between others.  Lucy Maud Montgomery, in “Anne of Green Gables,” uses the main protagonist to establish the importance of a name.  If a rose was called stinkweed, would people revere the rose; of course not!  Beauty can only take a person so far; the name matters, and in granting the distinguishment of a name, the object or person gains value to others.

Now consider all the descriptions foisted upon Americans by conniving actors hell-bent on destroying identity.  African-American, Irish American, Jewish-American, many people in history were grateful to have earned the right and privilege of being called American.  My wife’s grandmother came over from Russia; she had seven boys and sent six of them to war, proudly learning English to write to her boys.  She was an American, which has been conveyed through five succeeding generations of family.  Yet, how many people now need to hyphenate to reduce their “American” attributes to fit in socially; too bloody many!

By failing to understand the value in a name, these people have been led into dangerous waters.  They are close to losing what makes Americans worthwhile and valuable, freedom of individuality.  Unfortunately, we have political leaders who cheer for this loss of freedom of individuality and identity, for they are anxious to destroy America!  But, my names and titles make me an individual; no, they make you childish and insecure, reflecting a poor education and an inadequate sense of self.  That poor education was intentional, the inadequacy of sense of self, and the culprit is the bloated government at the city, county, state, and federal governments.  These bureaucrats understand something you, with all your labels, have no clue about; a sense of self means fewer labels are needed, not more!

During a social studies class, an assignment was mandated in sixth grade, label yourself.  Several students labels ran for pages and pages; I was publicly called out for only having one label, American.  I figured even then; I did not need anything else as my opinions were my business, not a label I needed to carry around.  My affiliations were none of anyone else’s business, as this opens the doors for separation and discrimination.  The more we label ourselves, the more power we give to others to separate us from each other, speeding the problems discussed by President Abraham Lincoln from his “House Divided” speech.  I was a most unpopular person in school, I was too “rigid” in my thinking, and many a person took umbrage.

Jo Dee Messina sings a country song that perfectly encapsulates my response, “My Give a Damn’s Busted!”  I did not care about how insulted another chose to be then, and I care even less now.  I am an American!  Anything beyond that is icing on the cake or superfluous to the conversation.  Do we understand the principle of names and why labels are deleterious to individuals’ national safety and freedom?  When language is plasticized, separated from standard definitions to suit the purposes of a situation, the common understanding is lost; worse, the words lose their value and connection to everyone, thus speeding the destruction of society who require a common language for success.LinkedIn Image

I repeat, only for emphasis, I refuse to be reduced to “Human Infrastructure.”  I refuse to be a pawn in the hands of inept, immoral, and incompetent political leaders who could not lead homeless people into a free meal.  Americans, drop the hyphenation, join me; we need to take our country back!

© Copyright 2021 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.