Thursday, January 8, 2009

Me Myself and I???


The issue of identity has been one I’ve thought over the majority of my teenage life. This rebirth I talked about in my new years’ theme is once again linked to this, in a way it is me pealing layers of myself to find who I truly am. I’ve learnt along the way that these layers are actually part of and to an extent make me who I am, however some of these layers are not qualities I would like to have. Others are formed by external influences (eg. Other people’s perceptions, the media, culture and society etc) which have forged me into a person, that does not connect with the inner me, hence is not truly me! do you get what i'm trying to say?
So in this search for myself I have become slightly obsessed with defining myself, in order to know who I am and hence less susceptible to the bullshit the world is constantly feeding us…


On this note, I had a very interesting History lesson about Nationalism. The ‘teenage phase’ of European nations during 18th-20th centuries, and I began to think about my own nationality as a Ugandan. An African. Most African nations and states were formed by European colonists who divided up the land for themselves, and somehow the boarders stuck, despite the fact that so many different tribes and people ended up in the same nation, yet didn’t speak the same language or share cultures etc, all that makes a nation united...

I know that before this happened, there were just many small territorial units under this or that tribe, and that the tribalistic nature of Africans (and mankind on the whole actually) would have made unification as a nation a very bloody affair (just like it was in Europe, the 1st and 2nd world war both happened in the era of nationalism, If Hitler and the Nazi era was a product of extreme nationalism, I wouldn’t want to know what would have happened in Africa! ).

Despite the possible hidden blessing the colonialists did for us by drawing out permanent boarders and creating states, although for selfish inconsiderate reasons, I still feel that Ugandans don’t have that nationalistic unity that we should have as a nation, especially compared to neighboring Tanzania, (Kenya is not the best of examples, they got similar issues when it comes to unity, but are still more nationalistic than us!)

Although it has gotten better, and more people feel more Ugandan, most people still find tribe an important aspect of their identity. I’ve heard my mother tell me numerous times how never to marry a Muganda, and how the Basoga are weird people with weird a culture, and not to even think of bringing a Northaner home! Or how the Bahima are lazy and love gossip, so that leave who? My people from the south west the only likely suitors/spouses? I thought we were all Ugandans!!

Like my country, I am torn/confused/divided about my identity! The majority of who I am, was formed by western ideas of what a young black female should be, through media, my school, my peer group etc…this was the age I used to listen to angry dark rock music, try to be sexy, strive to have straight long hair, thought local languages were ‘local’ (in the negative way, i.e. ignorant, not cool), found white dudes more attractive, even used to find my features awkward in comparison to what i thouht i should be and used to be! Thank God I opened my eyes and saw past these lies and insecurities!!

Still, I have my doubts and uncertainties of who I am. I have conflicting identities in a way, for instance, I am very pan Africanist, afro-centric, proud to be an African and I would like to give back to my people and my country, my continent one day, yet I can’t speak any African language fluently. I am very liberal not just politically but in most aspects of my life, yet I cherish the old school, and agree with some conservative and traditional things. I find men very attractive, and I’m certain I’m straight, yet I find women so sensual in every aspect, and can imagine myself being intimate with fellow female. I’m a good poet, a very visual and artistic person, opinionated and confident in my work opinions and thoughts yet I have terrible stage fright and I hate sharing my poems or art pieces… The list can go on and on…

In a way I can identify with African Americans and their struggle of identity, the situation and circumstances I grew up in such as; living in the suburb, exposed to mainstream media, going to an international school yet living in Africa and witnessing firsthand the poverty and suffering of my people, being naturally lighter skinned than the average Ugandan ‘Black person’, etc have caused a lot of conflict and confusion in the development of my identity. I live in two parallel worlds, and as a result I am a mixture of both! (I’ve been mistaken for a mixed race person many times, most people find it hard to believe I don’t have a white parent!)

There is an undeniable strength in this however! The more diverse one is, the stronger, more intellectual, more talented, open minded, flexible, adaptive and even more attractive one is! Look at the animal kingdom for instance, the more diverse a species genes are, the more likely it is to survive. When people intermarry within a family/families as often happens in small villages, the more likely their children will be born with deficiencies and underdeveloped cognitive abilities! The more mixed a person, the more attractive they are, certain features are not over emphasized, and they tend to have an exotic appearance most people find attractive!

My mother has commented before that the future belongs to the ‘Obama generation’...

Knowing who you are is a gradual process I suppose, since we are ever changing, perhaps no one never really knows who they are!?!
...Yet there are people who have such a strong sense of who they are, and are at peace and are confident about it, they are not easily shaken by bullshit! They attract people simply by being who they are, themselves.

I want to be like that!
Hope 2009 will be a year of striping away the layers, purifying and enhancing the enssentials of who i truley am...

7 comments:

HektikLyfe said...

You are eizzy and only you can define what that means.

I would refrain from categorizing myself as any "type" of person or associate myself with any type of group. There really isn't any one group I agree with 100% of the time.

I think we are all individuals. Even the ones that seem like mindless automatons. They each have their own reasons for being the way they are.

At 15 I was one person. At 18 I was another. At 20 I changed and at 30 I became someone completely different who probably wouldn't recognize myself at 18.

The 27th Comrade said...

For one, I think the biggest negative effect of the divisions is that almost all African countries, at the moment, have more-or-less the very same problems to solve, yet they can't solve them unitedly (with Chinese force - chi energy, I call it - leveraging a big clod of humaniy on it) because they think they are different.

It drives me up the wall. I hate the borders. Africa, Unite!

And this post, it's neat. :o)

eizzy.k said...

@ HektikLyfe - I understand that we constantly changing and hence there’s no point in identifying who we are...and i'm not trying to label myself, just sifting through all the labels i've acquired during the years. we all got them! by only picking out the ones that actually represent who i am, i hope 2 understand myself better...is that a futile and silly aspiration??

@the 27th Comrade- I wholeheartedly agree with you! Perhaps we need to first know who we are as nations before we become a united nations? at least thats what history (European) seems to suggest...

Also, it is human nature to look out for differences in all things. (I could write you a whole essay about this by the way!)

Baz said...

Cosign Hektik life: We change so much. I have a theory that personality is like a water. It takes the shape of its container. It's shape is determined by where it is and what forces are acting on it.

But then, whether it is spherical or square, boiling or ice, it's still water, not milk.

I really enjoyed reading this, Ms Eizzy. Thanks for reigniting my identity crisis.

Emigee said...

i think change is a process and when it does we keep to who we are, we dont need to change who we are...change come across each day so it should not change the perceptions we have about ourself... if you're real that can never change
@Hektiklife what you said about the changes you have undergone at various ages is true to a point, but know it there are certain aspects in life that will never change...

eizzy.k said...

@ Baz - i feel like milky water sometimes!!

@ Emigee - point ,made, i guess i'm not that 'real'since there are aspect of myself that clearly contridict...what aspects are those that never change??

candi said...

Great stuff eizzy.k...

I thought I knew who I was & where I was going (well, at least 80%) till I got to SA & realised how messed up things can get. If you think Uganda is a mess, you'll be amazed at the craziness in SA.

HektikLyfe is right,in a sense. We change. With every lesson learnt we pick up or drop something.

But like Baz said, water is water no matter what. You're African, a female, a Ugandan, your mother's child, your brother's sister...

I hope you enjoy this journey of self-discovery.