I became preoccupied with identity when listening a motivational speaker talk to a marine. The marine said he felt uncomfortable in civilian social situations and asked for help. The speaker said “In the first thirty seconds do you let them know you’re a marine?”
“No, as a marine we don’t ever boast about it.”
“Then you are hiding yourself from them and of course that’s awkward. It’s okay to broadcast your identity, it’s more than okay, it’s necessary and healthy.”
It took me a shocking (in retrospect) amount of time to realize that my identity is Songwriter. I am more than that and I am less than that but it is my core.
I was thinking about tattoos, one big word across my chest, who would see it and when. And I realized the last person to ever see my bare chest is going to be a coroner. When I’m dead, gone, nothing can be explained or justified, what do I still hope people know about me? Songwriter.
So I talk about songwriting a lot, in fact I’ve joked recently about employing someone to keep me away from guitars when I’m drinking because I’m always that guy who wants to sing and play, because it is my identity, it is me, and I’m uncomfortable until that’s clear. Human’s all want to be understood.
It’s why my sympathy goes out to those struggling with gender-identity. “Coming out” as a songwriter, realizing that trying not to be was stupid and painful, is nothing compared to someone who spent 25 years trying to be male and finally embracing the realization that they aren’t. I feel for anyone who has a long and confusing path through life, with so much time figuring out, and fighting for and/or against who they are, before they can find their lifes work.
Find your place in the sun. Those who truly love you will be happy for you when you do.