My Life’s Work, Your Life’s Work: Identity

Stumbled across brilliance on the internet today, Maya Angelou’s specifically (even more specifically, on the site that is a curated collection of brilliance, Brainpickings). It captures the most basic truth of my daily life:

“Identity is something that you are constantly earning … a process that you must be active in.”

Yessssssss. YES!

What’s even deeper, to me, is that this conversation—between Bill Moyers and Maya Angelou—was titled about “Freedom.”

I do often feel that I am trying to free myself from bindings I don’t understand — are they from my parents? my own childhood coping devices? my youthful decisions about who I had to be in my search for “the safe place?”

So this resonated deeply with me. I do wake up every day feeling I am earning my place. In what, I’m not so sure. Actually, I’m working to earn my place in myself.

And perhaps that is identity at its core, after all.

Go read the rest of Maya’s brilliance. And share with me your thoughts. I do know, so much, that the conversations I have with other seekers help me feel I am earning my way.

I bow to you all in namaste for your service in that mission.


About stacy

I am a writer, author, mother, longtime magazine editor (20 years in the business, 6 as editor in chief of Redbook), optimist, and, above all, a searcher. Right now, I'm searching for whom I'm really meant to be, after living through a series of very jarring changes that bumped me out of the life I was living: a son, then a divorce, a cataclysimcally messed-up house, which led to a book (Falling Apart In One Piece), and then, one week after that book came out, my parents both fell gravely ill, I resigned from my job (and maybe my career), my son got very scared and then, later, was diagnosed with an anxiety/ADHD disorder, my parents died, and at the same time, my boyfriend moved in with my son and me and we started the long and very painful journey of realizing we couldn't make our relationship work (that story unfolds on this blog). Since then I've been trying to figure out what's next. Or, in other words, how to fill in the blanks.
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2 Responses to My Life’s Work, Your Life’s Work: Identity

  1. D. A. Wolf says:

    Thank you for this reference, Stacy. So many insights to ponder. The fact that whatever we feel we accomplish by nightfall, we are nonetheless faced with starting another day when we wake.

    I like to think, for those of us who dream and recall our dreams, they help us bridge who we are at nightfall and who we awaken to become, each day a negotiation with sliding back and moving forward, and maybe a bit of chasing our tail and accomplishing nothing whatsoever except wearing ourselves out.

    I love that she places the women’s movement in the historical context of white men and women as compared to black men and women. A whole other fascinating subject, one, as a New Englander in the South, that I’ve observed over the years but certainly not lived, as a white woman.

    Identity is forged of so many fragments, so volatile, such a mosaic. It’s fragile. It’s sturdy. It’s breakable and reconfigurable. We inherit chips and slivers we like, and others we wish we could bury and never see again. For those of us who write, we’re constantly exploring it in ourselves aren’t we, and digging to understand it in others.

    Imagine what it would be like to climb into her head and experience for a day or two. How much more human and caring we would be.

    Brilliant indeed. You said it. Wonderful find, thank you.

  2. teamgloria says:

    we haven’t written about this on because, well, it didn’t feel possible in that context of beauteous chandeliers and so on but we can say this here, to you…….when we were in south africa recently we were counseled against going out alone into the streets – and we refused to be cowed by a fear that we do not believe exists – and so – as a white woman – we ventured forth and saw a sea of women who looked beautiful and brave and strong and black – and they walked with us and by us and we smiled and we felt part of. it was an amazing experience of connection of the sort of sisterhood that maya dreamed of. in just a small very personal way. and it has changed us. again. we are changed. *wavingfromlosangeles* – tgxxxxxx

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