Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Identity

Ray and I talk in the car. We always have these deep, meaningful conversations as we drive a distance. The longer the distance, the more time to delve into these thoughts. We love the long-distance drives...and the kids are becoming used to them. Last weekend we went to Stratford and back, which amounts to a total of about 3 hours of chat time.

We talked about identity.

Think back to when you were young: your identity was probably about who your parents were and what they did, to what you liked to do, to the place you lived. When you go to university or college, the first questions people ask are: What's your major? and Where are you from? Which are identity questions. Now, as a mother, I find that there are questions about vaccinating, babywearing, working in and out of the home, and breastfeeding. Which are veiled identity questions (are you a crunchy or main stream momma).

As a mother who works from home part of the time and had the kids home the other part of the time, I am in a weird camp. I breastfed my kids and wore them (Ray wore them too!) and made my own baby food. All of that says crunchy! But then I also use disposable diapers and vaccinate. Which is not so crunchy.

Identity, as it turns out, is not a definitive. It's more an ebb and flow.

But on Saturday night, Ray and I were not talking so much about female identity, but about male identity. Because men tend to identify themselves by jobs first. But what if you hate your job? Does that mean you hate yourself? What if you don't know what your job should be? What if you are between jobs? How do men define themselves in these cases?

Sometimes I think as women we have it a little easier when it comes to identity. I can be anything I want to be. My sisters fought for that for me, and I do not take that for granted. Men, on the other hand, are still defined by their jobs. Some are slowly beginning to define themselves by hobbies (which can be a replacement for the job and essentially be a job without pay in some cases). The odd man has taken on the caregiver roles that have been typically the domain of women...which is a whole other kettle of fish and not an easy path to tread for identity. And some are just meandering. Wandering through the mire of available identity, without being able to choose.

It's not so cut and dried, this identity thing.

2 comments:

Lisa said...

Have you been reading my Dev Psych book? teehee

We do that too ... take long drives and have deep discussions.

Miss Dawn said...

I noticed that you have The Diviners on your list of favourite books. I love Margaret Laurence and have always thought that her work was about her characters searching and, hopefully, finding their identities. Although, they don't often find themselves until they are on their deathbeds.

I hope to find mine sooner than that. But it's difficult not to bow to her superior wisdom.

My favourite part of any of her books is the last bit of Jest of God when Rachel realizes (and I'm paraphrasing) that she'll spend the rest of her life pulling on doors marked push. :)