Identity is a weird thing. It is, for the most part, completely arbitrary and /or random. And most of the things we think of as US aren’t necessarily defining who we are. Or they don’t have to be.
I’m a Texan, for example. This is a simple truth. I was born in Texas. I live in Texas. By the most direct and factual definition of the term: I am a Texan. But…
I don’t own a gun. Nor do I have any interest in owning a gun. I don’t listen to country music. I wear sneakers, not boots. I’m definitely more liberal than conservative. And, really, so many things that go with the Texan label simply do not apply to me or my life.
These do not make me less of a Texan as a point of fact. But, if being Texan is an identity, if it comes with certain assumed characteristics . . . well . . . I’m not Texan.
It’s not as if I have anything against country music or boots. And, while I’m inclined to think more gun control would be a good thing, I also don’t really care much if people want to own guns. But if you’re idea of a Texan is a rootin’ tootin’, good ol’ boy who likes going hunting (and odds are good that if a character is defined as Texan then he will like doing at least some of those things) then I fall short.
So what does it mean? Does the term really mean anything if it can be so easily broken and ignored? Can Texan be my identity if I don’t really fit the ideal state of Texan-osity? Like Plato’s shadows on a cave wall, is there a perfect Texan, The Texan, who is everything a Texan should be?
Or is it all just random, flawed assumptions?
I was born in El Paso, after all. Just miles from both Mexico and New Mexico. If I’d been born on one side of an imaginary line, would I be any different than I am now? It’s a silly question, but like so many silly questions, it can be a launching pad to greater mysteries.
If those terms that define us can be wrong then what good are they? For every label I wear, there are certain qualities that I embody, but just as many exceptions. And that’s not unusual. That’s standard. So few of us easily fit into cookie cutter categories. And those of us that do always seem the poorer for it, if you ask me.
So what’s it all mean? I don’t know. Just a question without an easy answer. But usually, those are the most interesting type.
Fighting the good fight, Writing the good write,