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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I Is For Identity

My native name is on a hard side for people to pronounce once I immersed into the world of school and work. Everyone wanted to give me an American name so that they could identify me. It was an exciting proposal at first, and one that gave me a sense of belonging. Growing up there was nothing better than to feel normal and not different or stood out.

Hence, an American name was born, translated closely to the meaning of my Vietnamese name. It took time to get used hearing myself being called differently, but this name was only used by passerby and acquaintances that I might only met once or twice. Teachers and others tried their best to call me by my given name.


Once I had a job, another American name was born. I didn't like my translated name that much, so I came up with a different one to use with my co-workers. My identity became somewhat unimportant to me. I changed it whenever I was bored with the current one. New area, new name, and so forth! My official name seemed to only exist on paper.

I didn't care much on who called me what! If I recognized the name then I responded, but if not it was at no concerned to me. High school was over, and I was out in the real world. My identity was what I wanted at the moment. I was called Star, Moon, Flower, Wind, etc. and I was fine with them all.


Then marriage came, and I was confined to T's mom, H's mom, and J's mom. Otherwise, I was known as Mrs. R. I lost a sense of who I was, or who I really am. My given name was never heard often unless it was from my mom and siblings. I knew I was struggle trying to figure out who I was. Me, for myself, and not so many different strings attached to who I am.

Needless to say, when my identity was compromised, by my own fault, or by incidents, I was lost in the jungle of names. I couldn't identify my own identity, sadly. I was everybody else, but not me. I had too many shoes to fill in, too many roles to fulfill, and along the way, I adopted whatever identity that fitted me for the moment. I am now comfortable with the person that I am.

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16 comments:

  1. About the only thing that I can think of that is good about getting old is that I am much more at ease with who I am!

    insightful "I" post!

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  2. It is very good to be comfortable with who you are.

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  3. I'm glad you are now more comfortable with yourself. It's important to know who you are.

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  4. i am so glad you are now comfortable with who you are, what an inspiration. Likewise, I let others call me however they want to call me :) so I am Liz, Elizabeth, Beth, Betchai, Chai, Betty, Inday, etc etc

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  5. I can identify with only part of that - being identified as so and so's mom, so and so's wife, daughter, and so forth. How we are identified can vary depending who is trying to figure out what role we play. I am happy that you are comfortable with who you are, because you are a marvel.

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  6. I'm glad you are finally comfortable with yourself!!

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  7. I'm glad you are getting to a place where you are more comfortable with your identity--certainly changing names along the way would add to that difficulty.

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  8. Great post as always, my friend! I'm glad that you seem like you have found yourself again!

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  9. People have frequently asked me what my middle name is, but I don't have a middle name. My mother claims she named me Judith from a character in a poem about the Revolutionary War--the witchgirl Judith. Fine! I can be a witch! I don't care! And I am very comfortable with who I am. I'm glad you are happy, Mumsy!!

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  10. It's hard to feel disconnected from one's self. Glad that you have become comfortable with who you are. It's a wonderful thing.

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  11. I am glad you feel more in touch with yourself now, and I can see how the name changing added to the confusion.

    You have really come a long way, it seems.

    =)

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  12. It's funny how much of our identity is tied to our name. I was married for 26 yrs. and never entirely comfortable with using his name. It felt so much better when I switched back to my own last name! ~ Maureen

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  13. This is fascinating to me as people have asked me to give them English names before and i run across people who have given themselves new names as well. i'm ashamed to admit that English names are also easier for me to remember even though they're often not nearly as pretty or meaningful. It's interesting to hear how you went through many names and identities, and have become comfortable with being you. i hope i get there too. Great writing!

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  14. Your post hurt my heart for a moment.. I was raised by my family, with my middle name but the world and legal called me by my first name.. it was nothing compared to the changes you endured but it bothered me a lot. Today I tell them to call me what they like. I guess getting older you realize who you are and it's no longer such an issue...
    Great Post
    Sandy (my middle name)

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  15. Mumsy, what a powerful post.

    It's funny how we feel lost as our identity changes when we're still inside ourselves the whole time.

    Gosh. I hope that made sense!

    You have had such a journey, I never thought about this aspect of it before.

    Bless you, sweet lady.

    Hugs and A+

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