By Wei Di Wang
Identities are the definition of who we are, our peculiarities which distinguish us from any other entity. Our identities could be extremely complex, processing our ethnic group, cultural background as well as family status. However, it could also be defined in an abstract way, containing all the lived experience we have concealed and our own perspectives. Through the integration with others, based on a derisive self-perception, we may tend to disguise our true selves to search for approval. While we often attain to make a forceful stand for maintaining our own personalities, we are being true to ourselves even to the detriment to our sense of belonging.
Why are people inclined to mask their true selves? The motivation could be complicated. As human beings it is our intrinsic desire to be anchored in a community which is greater than us. However, there are always discrepancies between group identity and individuality. We may renounce or conceal certain aspects of our identities to promote the procedure of assimilating into the group. The urge of belonging at the expense of shaping individuality could be exemplified in Sunil Badami’s sympathetically portrayed narrative, ‘Sticks and Stones and Such Like’, where Sunil is insulted by his prejudiced classmates as ‘darkie’ and ‘black bastard’ because of his distinct Indian heritage. Sunil not only, ‘scrubs his right arm until the blood began to sink’ to expunge his Indian existence, but also adopted an authentic Aussie name to disguise his ‘too Indian’ name. Even though this attempt prompts various problems for Sunil, he still confesses that he fails to connect his Indian being with his Australian experience’. Thus, as evidenced by Sunil’s experience, creating a false identity to reassure oneself appears to be a ubiquitous issue for those who struggle to belong.
Moreover, at the verge of being estranged from the