When we’re babies, pretty much all of our first hours are spent being identified. We’re poked and prodded, our health or lack thereof is confirmed or denied. Our parents, and doctors, check out our eyes and ears, our fingers and toes, and pretty much any other attribute you can imagine, of the physical us.
As time moves along, other things about who we are, become obvious. We start to actually do things, which help those around us, to begin to understand who we seem to be, in less physical senses.
When my son was days old, for example, he would not open his eyes, when the room lights were on. For the time he was in the hospital at least, he appeared to be sensitive to flourescent lighting. That fact was a potential portent of things to come.
It turns out, like so many such things, that the issue with light aversion, was temporary.
The point is, as my son grew, as with all of us, he continued to develop. Being Moderately Autistic, his process of growth, has not been the same as that of many others his age.
What I’m saying though, is all of the mentioned things, are matters of identity for my child.
He, like the rest of society, has developed, and as he’s done so, things have changed.
It’s literally true, that even physical attributes, have morphed over the course of time.
I have an old picture of my son, as the wallpaper on my computer. In it, he has more or less coppery-blond hair.
You might have figured, that it was due to change color. If you had, you’d be correct. His locks are more or less dark brown these days. Where once he had loose curls, today his hair is relatively straight. Granted, a part of that is how short it is at present.
Even so, in outward senses, you would find my child to be largely different now, than in his toddler years.
Any parent of adult chidren is likely acutely aware, that most of them continued to grow and change, such that who they now are—how they identify, and can be identified by others—has changed, potentially in major ways.
That’s not just a physical thing, either.
As a child, I didn’t quite hate rye and pumpernickel breads. These days, they’re among my favorites. I shudder to admit, I would chew gum, coat it in sugar, freeze it, and pop it back into my mouth, as an additional treat.
Today, I have a hard time imagining chewing gum most of the time. As a child, it was often a desireable thing to come into possession of that substance.
There are so very many ways in which I’ve changed over the course of time, and I have expectations, the same will be true of my son—as was the case for my other children.
Some of the changes were assuredly superficial, others were much deeper.
What I’m getting at here is, what you hold even as a seemingly deep desire, may well change in the course of your life, such that you cannot even imagine having been your former self.
Further, there are things you likely hold highly wanted that, should you not wish to go to jail, you won’t act upon. For example, if it seems like it’d be fun, to go around killing folks for no cause, it’s my fervent hope you won’t do things based on that urge.
It’s at this point, we come to a significant realization. Identity includes choice.
The fact that you suffer depression, doesn’t mean you go around acting on that truth.
I’m not suggesting here, that you shouldn’t accept the existence of your depressed state, for example. I’m not saying you ought to stuff it down, or hide it away. I am suggesting some sort of treatment is likely called for.
I may not agree with you or others, as to what that treatment should look like, but I think it important to grapple and deal with, your condition.
To be sure, I in no wise belittle or degrade you, for that piece of your identity.
Still, how you choose to act, knowing you possess that condition, may make all the difference in the world.
As I’ve already indicated, you choices can be seen as part and parcel of your identity.
That’s not to say there aren’t things inherent to your who you are, that won’t change.
That said, to begin with, there’re things that can, and will do so. On top of that, your choices based on how you identify, and how others identify you, may not change who you are, but they certainly may change what that means.
There’s another idea we should discuss as well, that’s the idea of preference. You may decide you like chocolate ice cream, vanilla, some other type, or none at all. These are signs of preference. Your choice of ice cream may be just that, but the chances are, it’s based on an underying preference.
That preference is a part of your character as much as any other consideration. How important it proves to be, is another matter.
All of this said, the expression “sexual preference,” may seem like an incorrect way to term things, but let’s just take a moment to run that down.
Say you come to the conclusion you’re homosexual. That would make your preference to associate in love and sexual activity, with people of your same sex. Now it’s incumbent on you, to make choices, either for or against that preference.
The idea that sexual—or any other—activity is not the result of preference when not forced or coerced, or that the preference isn’t indicative of underlying in-built factors, is absurd. The concept that you choose to, or to not, act on those preferences, is equally so.
So for those who assume there’s no choice in identity, you can be assured, I disagree. Further, for those who decide some of those choices don’t work in contravention to one’s identity—and often to the definite benefit of the person with that identity—I very much suggest you consult a former drug or alcohol addict. I hope my points here are clear.
Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.