"When you know yourself, you are empowered.
When you accept yourself, you are invincible."
- Tina Lifford
What makes us who we are?
How negotiable is our identity?
What do we use to define ourselves?
How much does identity change over time?
How many versions of you are there?
What happens when your identity results in conflict?
Why are certain things not a part of our identity?
There are hundreds - if not thousands - of pieces that add up to make you who you are. Some of those factors are within your control: they are chosen by you. However, many are not. Part of your identity is embedded deep in your DNA, and thus is perhaps unchangeable and predetermined. Simply stated, our identity is ultimately ours to change, accept, and develop.
Imagine all of the different applications you are or will be filling out in your life, regardless of your future plans. All those questions and checkboxes can read like a menu of gender, race, language, religion, education level, experiences, and more. These options can also read like a list of possibilities that people can decide to adopt as part of their identity, or they can be used against them in the form of prejudice, stereotyping, sexism, or racism.
Aristotle (a wise old dead guy) once said, "Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom." As you move toward the end of high school and the beginning of whatever comes next, most of you probably try or have tried many different identities on, as you do outfits before leaving home. That's what this stage of life is often about, really. Finding yourself and your place in this big, crazy world.
As our work this quarter will show, the journey towards knowing yourself is often full of surprises, disappointments, victories, doubts, fears, setbacks, and - most importantly - growth. After all, it takes courage to be who you really are.
So, who are you? Who do you want to be? Who does the world need you to become?