Thursday, 8 March 2012
2. An Identity to Call My Own
Identities are funny things. They range from the very basic “male”, “female”, “sister”, “friend”; to the physically descriptive “curly”, “shorty”, “twinkle toes”; to the playful and affectionate “monkey”, “honey”; to the not-so-kind “loser”, “asshole”, “imbecile”.
We are born into this world with ready-made identities which begin with “my first born” or “my first daughter”. Then “my difficult sleeper” or “my good eater”. To “the biter” or “the faster” or “the fastest”. The list goes on and these identities build upon each other. Creating layer upon layer like an onion until we subconsciously begin to walk, talk and breathe whichever tags have ended up becoming second nature.
As you may have previously read, I have recently lost my mojo, what I consider my identity. Like everyone, I have many identities. Some more similar and an extension to each other. And others more conflicting and a total contradiction to the former - depending on the person who ‘handed’ me my identity.
In Hong Kong, a friend called out to me once about being “Russian”. I had stopped, mid-step, and turned around in confusion. “Russian? What? You know I’m Australian!” Only to have the penny drop a few seconds later, and realise she meant “rushing”. So yes, in Hong Kong, I mostly rushed about like a headless chicken, going from one job to the other, ticking those proverbial boxes.
In London, friends and acquaintances often commented that I “knew everyone” (ie at the girls’ school) and I was the “go to” person if they wanted to know anything or get anything done. I knew how to “make things happen”. Someone went so far as to call me the “Mayor of London”. It was a nice identity to wear.
So far though, in my 7 months here in Singapore, I’ve heard myself termed “blur like a sotong” (ie clueless) several times from childhood classmates I have recently become re-acquainted with. Why “blur”? Because when they ask, “remember when I was so mean to you?”, my response standard response is “I really don’t remember that”. Another crime to validate my “sotong” (Malay for ‘squid’) status? Having left Singapore when I was 15, I have little knowledge nor comprehension for the local slang and so when I ask when something means, this group instantly crack up about what “a blur sotong” I am. I have to interrupt myself now to google the actual meaning of this term so I can be more succinct about this newest identify I’ve been given. This is what I found:
Blur sotong: Blur meaning gong tao, meaning confused mind, meaning you’re totally stupid and clueless. Sotong means squid. Squids are stupid things who react at any one thing. Put them both together, if you’re a blur sotong, you’re totally helpless. Go find yourself a corner and hide.
One word. Ouch. How did I go from the clued-up and well-connected “Mayor of London” to a “totally stupid and clueless” squid?!
Sigh. Which brings me to this point. I have laid awake the last few weeks over my missing mojo and wondered how to find an identity to call my own. Not like the ones recently given to me by others: “Faith, Tia and Paige’s mom”, “Matthew’s wife”, “occupation: housewife”, “the girl that runs all the time”, “the one who carries all her own groceries”, “the Girl Scouts Leader”. Not the ones I used to be: “published songwriter”, “Mulan”, “Princess”, “singer on cruise ship”, “singer in fight scene in animated movie Dragon Blade”, “entrepreneur”. But a new one. One given to me by me and me alone.
What would I like it to be?
Motivator. Writer. Lover of good food, good drinks, good company and a good laugh. Funny. Kind. A great friend.