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.

Morality, the Vaccine to Envy

Angry Wet ChickenIn reading the news today, under the heading of “equity,” we find masturbation taught to first graders, hardcore porn taught to high schoolers, and San Francisco, CA., sliding into lawlessness and chaos.  Honestly, I felt my mind trying to explode; yet, life must go on.  In several previous posts, I have described how equity is a mask for envy.  For example, sexual grooming of the innocent comes from people envious of the innocent.  The district attorney in San Francisco is envious and uses his envy to gain power and lord that power over those who elected him.

The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints, in their book of scripture The Doctrine and Covenants, Section 121, verse 39, has an applicable declaration.

We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion” [emphasis mine].

Detective 2For those interested, “unrighteous dominion” is considered to be oppression, pride, vain ambitions, and a host of other contention-increasing actions designed to stay in “power” where the exercise of authority can be abused.  For example, the district attorney and staff in San Francisco were informed by those who elected the DA to power that the crime and the lawlessness in the city were hurting them. The DA and staff are reported to have claimed those raising concerns were racist.  The governmental leaders in San Francisco consider themselves as having authority. Yet, they refuse to acknowledge that their “authority” comes from the governed and was granted through the electoral process and can be taken back.  Hence the verse quoted is an excellent description of what is being witnessed today at every level of government.

Various sources define morality; in fact, morality has been considered a philosophical debate, and much is written on this topic.  For this reason, the definition of morality is as follows:

Morality is the differentiation of intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are distinguished as proper and those that are improper. Morality can be a body of standards or principles derived from a code of conduct from a particular philosophy, religion or culture, or it can derive from a standard that a person believes should be universal.”

I am not here to dictate what is and is not moral between you, your conscience, and your supreme being worshiped.  However, I will emphasize that America was founded upon the morals of Judeo-Christian theology, and these morals have been a solid anchor in the chaotic push and pull of beliefs and morals across time.  I mention this because that definition of morality opens the doors for people to insist that sexually grooming young children is morally acceptable because they believe that sexual grooming should be universal.  Planned Parenthood, GLAAD, and several other groups believe that sexual grooming and stealing the innocence of youth is required because they personally envy children their innocence.

ModestyBelieve it or not, sex is NEVER free; there will always be consequences.  The 1960s sexual revolution has done more harm globally than any other revolution or clash of arms in history, bringing us back to the topic rather forcefully; morality is the only vaccine to envy.  But, who decides the morality of a nation, a state, a country, or a city?  The electorate as a collective voice selects the morality of that area.  The electorate decides the laws through the ballot box in a representative government.  In a non-representative government, the king, monarch, dictator, etc., dictate the morality of the population, which is one reason why old countries have histories where immorality was rampant as the people followed the examples of the leaders, not the leader’s words.  Want a history lesson in morality and how people copy a leader’s morality, look no further than King Henry VIII of England.

Social Justice Warrior 3Circling back again to how morality is the vaccine for envy, provided the morals involved in supporting morality are selected carefully and exemplified by leaders.  In the discussion on morality, philosophers question if there are absolutes?  Absolute right and absolute wrong, or are morals a gray area where time and social pressure keep everything gray?  Depending upon your appetite and your ability to control your appetites tends to set your moral convictions.

5 Illegal Drugs That Doctors Once Prescribed As Miracle CuresFor example, Playboy and Hustler have made billions of dollars selling sexually explicit content to the masses.  Some participate in pornography; others refuse pornography.  Those who choose to imbibe in pornography live a fantasy life where no woman will ever be good enough to meet the pictures witnessed and the lurid content from the magazines selling appetite suppression.  Both sides of the morality issue will complain they deserve attention and should be free to express their rights.  Both are using the same tool, envy, to make their moral stand become a legal standard.

Who wins and who loses?  Why?  These questions get to the heart of the problem and identify why morality is a vaccine for envy.  Morality, where all men (including women) are equal, would see the chains of pornography and set a moral standard to limit the content to adult audiences.  But, every 10-year old knows a friend whose dad has a subscription and has seen a Playboy or Hustler magazine.  Is this a failure of the law or moral codes; no, it is a failure of parents and parenting.  Yet, society will consider this a social problem. The K-12 educators will become involved in peddling worse to your children, all because of curiosity, failed parenting, envy, all of which stem from moral problems and morality breakdowns in social systems.

Exclamation MarkAs a kid, I remember the fierce debates over convenience stores being allowed to sell adult content, video stores carrying adult movies, and the continued fight over how much is too much in an R-rated, PG-13 rated, and G-rated movies.  Why were these fights and debates occurring; the lude and loose morality of the 1960s perverted sex into being “free,” and morality took a back seat to legal freedoms without accountability and responsibility.  Consider the gargantuan awards against cigarette manufacturers; why were these awards so high, poor moral choices, envy, and a refusal to accept that the daily choice of smoking 5-45 cigarettes is going to cost you your health as a consequence.

Sure, medical professionals peddled smoking as a curative; but they also peddled mercury, heroin, cocaine, and a ton of other chemicals and poisons, and those companies never got in trouble.  So why were cigarette manufacturers singled out; envy and a lack of morality where consequences are accepted for personal behaviors.  Nobody twisted arms and forced anyone to smoke.  Yet, the cigarette manufacturers have been forced to pay for advertising to prevent smoking, smoking cessation classes, and a host of other programs by legal mandate, for the moral failures of people in society.Are You Sure Grandpa Never Took Heroin? You May Be Surprised | BoredomBash

Is the connection clear?  Envy breeds bad case law, which enables poor moral choices without consequences.  Except, the consequences for personal choices cannot ever be escaped!  Therein lay the issue and the answer.  I do not care what moral code you choose to follow, provided that moral code does not infringe upon another person’s rights and liberties; believe who, what, and where you will.  Just understand that your moral code comes with consequences that others should never have to pay for.

Knowledge Check!Equality in the world, since the 1960s, has been a mask for envy.  Through the power of envy, people have become discontent, disabled, and disconnected from morality and the consequences of immoral behaviors.  America stands on a tipping point where envy is concerned, and if we, the citizens who can understand, cannot persuade, educate, and correct this trend line, disaster looms large!  We must recognize that the path of envy, in all its nicer sounding, feel-good imitations, is part of the problem we face!  Yes, I believe in liberty, freedom, the inalienable rights of man.  But freedom, liberty, and the rights of man are not government benefits to be doled out at the whims of bureaucrats.  It is not more government we need when morality is threatened by envy, but less!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.