thinking about identity. wondered last night why these questions come in waves like this and determined that the seasons make it so. the perception of summer, for instance, is a time of leisure, of infinite time to do all the things to be done. this is because in summer, the days are long. there is lots of time to do and lots of time for doing nothing. during the fall, the days get cooler and shorter and the focus turns towards lots of creative projects. this is partly because it is a busy time - there is the harvest that must happen in traditional agricultural society, which created the pattern of our very lives, school begins in the fall, vacations end. the weather is cool enough for moving about at a speedier pace, our brains unfog from all the heat, the days are shorter, necessitating hurry.
in the fall, we begin to consider what must be done and who must do it. i have again the urge to determine who i am and what it is i do. the vacation of summer is over - the holidays will approach faster than expected and there are all the necessary preparations to be done for them. there's also the matter of considering schooling, what we as an unschooling family should be doing precisely to further enrich our children's lives. it is the rising and falling of the sun and the orbit of the planet that makes me do and think these things.
and yet - identity. i am always thinking of who i am, what i do, outside the context of my life and culture, as though who i am were somehow independent of everything else that exists; that i alone am truly an island. but i am not. the paths i have chosen have not been chosen for me, but the influence of a life lived amongst others creates the choices as they are. to not seize opportunities as they present themselves would be asinine. there is no controlling it all. there is hardly any controlling anything. there is merely choice, will. who i am and what i do certainly affect the choices that become presented to me, but the culture, the context, even the choices themselves also direct the path from one thing to another. there is only an infinity of deciding, which is beautifully simple and agonizingly complex. it gives the illusion of destiny where there is only direction. to affect is not the effect. to affect is merely the relative truth of existence. each thing that is relies on everything else that exists in an infinite pattern of interconnection. it is not predeterminance. it is simply interdependence.
where we seek to psychologically define and avoid co-dependence and exalt independence, we fail to recognize that neither really exists. there is only the interplay between people, between objects, between varying dimensions of being. you can decide to never choose, to rely solely on the aid and decisions of others - this is co-dependence - but it does not ever strip you of your will and you are always having an affect on the one that chooses - there is no vacuum! co-dependence only exists n a vague way where a person either illudes themselves or illudes another into believing it. everything is interdependent, whether chosen or not. everything not only relies on everything else, everything is everything. and yet it is not destiny - it is symphony! it is subtlety! it is infinance and elegance and the embodied god - the universe is the divine. no creation was necessary. there is no god before god because god is only a word we give to everything that exists. what people fail so often to recognize is that we are all god. we are all not simply elements of the divine, but the divine itself.
there is no transcending this realm because this realm is interwoven into every other. there is no escape but imagination. everything you think and dream is, if only thought and dream. the unseen is no less real than the seen. it all has its place and play in the universe, in our lives. it is all a giant web, as delicate as the strands of a spiderweb, yet infinite in number and connection. each movement made anywhere in the web moves across the whole by infinite degrees of subtlety. there is no divorcing myself from the context and no divorcing the context from myself.
in this sense, the world is not dependent on me, nor am i dependent on the world. i can define myself and change only so far as the universe allows it, which is to say by infinite degrees, yet moving through must come in a million tiny choices that are unseen. it is, however, at least emotionally difficult, if not physically so, to extract myself from out my situation and circumstance to try to create great changes in my understanding of myself in the world around me. to make dramatic change, i must relocate down the web, in some regard.
to discuss identity is to discuss placement within the world, a set of circumstances, my situation. to define myself, then - i can use words to describe it, but what i lack or perceive as a lacking is not mathematical - there is no remainder. growth is amorphous, it is organic. it is only precise and angular or crystalline on the smallest levels, those generally unperceived. i am - a writer, an artist, a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister. i work at the home, my children, on newsletters, crafts, websites, blogs, journals, the co-op board, friendships, all the million tiny things i do everyday. what i want, what i perceive as lacking, is the societal validation of paid work, independence.
i view my relationship in its economic sense, as undesirable based only on the cultural assumption that independence requires planning for the future, which must entail retirement savings, college funds, and avoid social welfare (only as it does not sufficiently exist). i suspect/hope/fear that as this current global climate is changing, by the time i am expected to be old and infirm, the systems which currently oppress people into working only for the future will not exist, through they do not currently really exist for anyone anyway. the system i have grown up in and live in still makes me believe that i must hoard wealth in order to survive with the same level of comfort i exist with now. it is an economic picture that reveals no truth about the nature of the universe. i think it would be better to have nothing but the support of my family rather than age always in fear of the future.
and yet, i cannot myself seem to embrace that. i certainly live with very little now, but i view it as only temporary. i know that one day, in the next few years, my husband will make actual money. i depend on it. what i fear is him not being there to depend on, however. i fear that either through divorce, disease, or death, i will have nothing left to depend on but myself. i fear this because the world tells me i must. a.g. edwards tells me, social security, medicaid, your money or your life, reality television, the evening news, michael moore, commercials, government, feminism - everything in this culture says that the ideal thing to do is prepare for the worst by declaring economic independence. it is not about digging out of the worst - it is about anticipating it, circumnavigating it entirely by becoming independently wealthy.
this all certainly prays or my fears as someone who has chronic anxiety due to Bad Shit happening. but there is no sense to it - it is the fantasy - the reason i fear it so readily is because i witness the dichotomy of it all in the media - on the one hand, i see the powerless, the oppressed, and the poor all victims of loss, hardship, economic despair. on the other hand, i witness the fantasy of wealth in movies and television shows where no one is poor, everyone has everything they need and more. everyone has clothing, health care, whether they have spouses or not, despite where they come from or what they do for a living, not necessarily because of it. this is the fantasy of the glossy magazines, of sitcoms, of celebrity gossip and decorating shows - this vision of luxury for all that does not exist without the oppression of whose who create the goods of it. the poor make the objects and props that the rich flaunt and sell.
the disparity is felt in my middle class life because i am torn between the two - while recognizing the truth of both and still knowing not what to do about it. the issue of identity is exacerbated by falling in-between. i know not what to do and the consequence of any variety of choices seems dramatic. what i want what everyone wants is to do something i am passionate about that is fun and profitable. this is the salve of disparity and being in-between. it is the only solution i really seek. there is also the fantasy of systemic collapse invalidating the need to decide. under the freedom of ruin, i can be who i am without the question - i can be what needs to be, do what needs to be done without the question of significance, validity, or passion.
as a mother, what i do is deeply necessary but not societally/economically valid or important AT ALL. people are always encouraging me to do more than just mother - take in babysitting, pick up outside work in at-home opportunities or part-time jobs. as an artist, i am not talented or prolific enough to be valid or important economically or socially. as a writer, i am not prolific/dedicated enough to be valid or important economically or socially. i write blogs, journal entries, and poems. i do not participate artistically in methods of production that are economically viable: fine art, usable or desirable crafts, journalism, long-format writing (books), et cetera. the question of identity is truly one of belonging and of Being Seen. i, as part of my cultural context, wish to be fully an accepted, even celebrated, part of it. i wish to be normal, even while intellectually understanding the intricacies of that desire and where it comes from. i wish to be seen by my culture in order, ultimately, not to prove my worth, but to prove within the context of my life, that i am real.