Perspectives: Identity
Very Useful Information

May 11, 2011 Print version       Other articles by this author

Writing about something like identity seems damn near impossible because it is ALWAYS changing. Like everyone else I know, I have 'characteristics' & things that make me...me, but even when I think about where my head was when I got the bright idea to write about this nearly 4 months ago, I was in a completely different head space than I'm in now.
Before diving into this, I thought it best to look up a technical definition as I went about the business of writing this offering.

Thus, identity is defined as all of the following (to name only a few):

1. the state or fact of remaining the same one or ones, as under varying aspects or conditions
2. the condition of being oneself or itself, and not another
3. condition or character as to who a person or what a thing is

On one hand it all makes sense & yet somehow, when I look at these three definitions, I'm even more puzzled than I was before primarily because they seem a bit contradictory. As listed above in that first definition, all of the 'variables'-i.e. varying aspects or conditions play a much larger role than I think any of truly us realize.

It has been said that one of the best ways to find out who you are is to get clear about who you are NOT. Following that line of logic, there should be no question whatsoever for me personally about who I am. At 36 years of age, the sum of my experiences both personal and professional have enabled me to zero in on who and what I'm not. Unfortunately that's only the beginning....

I could ramble on at length about all of the things that I believe myself to be but instead, I'm choosing to keep it simple. This past weekend while reflecting on the last 5 years of my life as the 'vessel' through which all things 'Brave Soul' have come (& as I dove into what is usually the busiest time of the year for me with milestones, a host of activities, & performances), I wrote a spoken word piece that helped me begin to 'put my finger on' who I am. What I'm referring to (entitled "ManHood") came forth right on the heels of a performance I was part of which took place in Newark, NJ at The NJ Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) entitled, "Out, Loud, & Proud V". I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to share this examination of my life with an audience on Saturday May 7th, 2011 to close out Brave Soul Collective's performance presentation "Parallels".

As I continue to move forward, I remind myself to revisit, & re-examine this piece because while some things about life & identity are clear, concise & can be understood, there's even more about my life (& ALL OUR OUR LIVES - to that end) that will FOREVER remain...an enigma.

MANHOOD

this wasn't covered in the handbook
there was no training 4 this job
I didn't get a job description
I never knew it'd be this hard

I swear this wasn't what I signed up for
this isn't quite what I envisioned
I ask myself what I was lookin 4
not playin all of these positions

Emotional, sexual, spiritual
an artist/ a black man / the homo
a top dude, bottom boy....versatile
An angel/ a devil/ the problem/a hero
a villian/ a victim/ a magnet...
the puzzle
the leader /creator/ the mentor/a brother
a friend, a son, a partner-a lover
never imagined there'd so much ground 2 cover

almost half of my life I've already lived
& I'm just figuring who this man Monte is...

this wasn't covered in the handbook
there was no training for this job
I never got a job description....so by creating my own blueprint
thas how I've managed 2 get this far

see what nobody ever told me
is what i found out on my own
that life is less "paint by numbers"
& more make it up.... as i go along.

MJW