Pagan Blog Project 2014: “I” is for Identity
(This is late, because apparently, I cannot keep a schedule.)
I struggled with this week’s theme. I couldn’t quite pick a topic for the letter “I”. Influences? Irritations? Irascibility?
It was by the subtle guidance of the Assassin over the past week that I finally settled on “Identity”. Identity is a Big Thing for him, and so it’s a Big Thing for me too. Especially recently. I’ve been struggling with my own identity after graduating from college and especially after losing my job in November. I don’t have a job, and I’m not a student – I’m unemployed. I’m not anything, which means to my brain I’m not anyone. It’s frustrating to think that, especially when it’s not true.
So the Assassin has shown himself after several months of flying under the radar, like he does, and now he’s trying to help me re-establish myself as a self and not as a construct of other people’s hopes and expectations. I have a tendency to look at myself through other people’s lenses, and that leads to a very warped and distorted (and frankly unhealthy) self-image. We have to cut through all of that to the core of who I really am before we can work on building me back up, which is not going to be an easy task. I’d even call it guided shadow work, which I didn’t think I’d be engaging in for a while, but if it’s time for that, it’s time for that. He’s a good teacher, and he knows how important this is. Part of it is getting myself to not care about negative things people who don’t know me might say, which has been a major sticking point for me over the years. Being an introvert, other introverts like to say, doesn’t mean that you’re shy, but I have been shy my whole life, and since some things that happened in 2012, I’ve regressed back to where I was in middle school with any progress I’d made on the not-giving-a-damn front. Which is to say, back to square one.
Aside from the work with my own identity that we’re engaging in – which is slow going, because I’ve been so tired when I go to bed I’m falling asleep immediately instead of making myself available for my “lessons” – there’s also the question of what exactly I am, paganwise. If you’re going just by deities, then I’m Kemetic, surely – even if I’m not a very good Kemetic, IMO. I’m a pop-culture pagan and witch, and I work with the “land spirit” of my City, and I work with a guiding spirit all my own. I don’t fit into a neat little box. Which is usually how I’ve lived my life, but it is a bit frustrating. I could certainly make it easier on myself, I could streamline, but I really don’t want to. Having the this-or-that label would restrict me, I feel.
Of course, there are some people who would say this doesn’t make me a “true pagan”, whatever that means. There was a time when that would bother me. Now, I’d just shrug and say “Shows what you know.”
Maybe this identity shadow work is having an effect already.