October 5, 2014
Puzzle of Identity in Life
Every human’s life is like a puzzle: starting from birth to death, all the people and all the experience that we go through will impact our future decisions and will result in a final product of our identity. Just as all the pieces of the puzzle come together to reveal a final product or an image, our past experiences come together to reveal our final product, which is our identity: who we are and what our beliefs are. The effects of past experiences and encounters will reflect the actions and connections of the present. This adventure of finding ones identity by completing the figurative puzzle requires intimate connections and memorable moments that you cherished. However, this seems to be the issue for people who have gone through a traumatic situation. As the author of “When I Woke Up Tuesday Morning It Was Friday” Martha Stout explains, that victims of traumatic situations are unable to form strong relationships. The lack of strong relationship is caused by the unavailability of the individual mentally, while it actually occurs. Stout refers to this phenomenon as dissociation, where the mind splits itself from the physical body to protect the individual’s sanity. Ironically, the function designed to protect the individual at the moment of the trauma to maintain sanity, is what restrains him/her from forming intimate relationships hence leaving them unable to form an identity. This brain mechanism triggers the mind to disassociate, even when there is no real danger in presence and causes the individual to miss the important parts of his or her life, simply because they are mentally not present for it. This lack of connections and memory of the past events causes the person to question his/her sanity. Not having a past and a history which makes us who we are, seems to be an issue for this generation’s young women. In her essay, “Selections from Hard to Get: Twenty – Something Women and the Paradox of Sexual Freedom,” Leslie Bell explores the issues that the young women in their twenties face in the 21st century. With the amount of freedom women have acquired over this century, they have a period in their lives to form history. However, many times this causes a troubling issue for women, who are struggling to form an identity by making their own history and maintaining a relationship with men, to fit into society’s norms. Both essays seem to have parallel stories, where the individual is unable to form a solid identity because of the lack of strong human connection. In “When I Woke Up Tuesday Morning It Was Friday” this results in individuals not being able to form strong relationship in present because of the trauma they faced in the past. In “Selections from Hard to Get: Twenty – Something Women and the Paradox of Sexual Freedom,” this results in women with horrifying past events being unable to balance their independent behavior and sexuality with being in a relationship and not losing their identity to become someone that is desired. By learning from our mistakes from the past, we can make wiser decisions in present and shape our identity.
Depending on the events of past, the individual leans towards the options that they are familiar with or seem safe. It is human nature to adhere to things that relate to them or seem familiar; this allows them to form connection and history. Similarly, it is also human nature to resent change and anything that seems as potential threat; this allows them to be cautious to protect themselves. However, as the time passes, change and experimentation is inevitable for society’s growth. In some cases you may even make the wrong decisions and be forced to face the harsh situations, but as the saying goes: “learn from your mistakes”. So in future the past experience will prevent the individual from making the same mistake again. In her essay, Bell discusses one of her acquaintance named Jayanthi, who...
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