What is identity? What is it about me that makes me different from other people. Essentially, what is my identity? Identity for me is about what separates you from other people. If you asked me what identity means to me it would be this.
Identity is how both you and other people perceive you and it’s what makes you different from everyone else. Identity is really all about who you are. It’s impacted but things like your age, gender, environment, family, values, beliefs, race, culture, interests, upbringing, etc.
What is my identity?
For me my identity can be summarized in 3 main categories. Culture, my ethnic background, language and traditions I have. Hobbies, what I do in my spare time, things I like, goals and inspirations for the future. Environment, where I live, who my friends and family are, how I was raised.
My culture is rooted mainly from my parents. My mother is Japanese so celebrating Japanese traditions was always something that we did. An example of this is something called “girls festival” or “ヒナマツリ”. Back in Japan, there was a time where many children died very young, usually not making it past the age of 5. This tradition came about to celebrate the children who survived and thanking them for living. There is also a “boys festival” with the same history. During this festival my family has a tradition of dressing up in kimonos and traditional Japanese clothing and taking a photo to remember the occasion. This is one of the only times I ever wear a kimono which to me makes it very special.
I always had a lot of interest in art and music. My family has always been very artistic so I was greatly influenced by them. Following my brothers footsteps I entered an art school which I attended for 5 years. After 5 years I quit. I still very much enjoy art and drawing however, it was more of a pastime then a career I wanted to peruse and it felt like a waste of money to keep attending. I still draw often enough and if you look around our house you can see many examples of my parents hanging up works that my brother and I had done in the past. My current art style is very cartoonish, having grown up on Ghibli (a Japanese animation company). Since grade 5 I have also been playing the clarinet. I am still in band and enjoy it ver much. Music is a universal way of communication and I think it’s a very useful skill to have. Although my main instrument is clarinet, and it is the only one I still actively practice, I used to play a much wider variety of instruments. I cannot play them well enough to say I’m good but I used to practice with the piano, guitar, recorder, flute, violin, and even dabbled in drums. My father played the piano guitar and flute, and I followed in his footsteps. We sold our flute since it hasn’t been used in years. The violin is with my cousin who does play it actively and the drums were given away. However you can still find a piano, guitar, clarinet, and recorder in our house and if I’m bored enough I will sometimes brush off the cobwebs and see what I can remember.
I grew up in Canada, and have only moved once in my life. It wasn’t a giant move either but it was enough that when I entered high school there wasn’t anybody I knew. As you may have guessed, I was taught Japanese by my mother. However I was born and raised in an English speaking community. I went to English speaking schools, and for the majority of my life have been communicating in English. Despite all that all of my close friends are, like me, bilingual. We don’t all speak the same languages but being bilingual gave us something in common yet made us different enough to appreciate. At home I speak Japanese to my mother. My father, despite living in Japan and having married my mother for 21 years, he still cannot speak Japanese. He can understand what we are saying 75% of the time due to our expressions and his understanding of the language but he would reply in English. Although others might call it weird or takes some getting used to, because this is how it usually is I hadn’t really noticed the language barrier.
Being able to answer who you are is very difficult, it takes a lot of time to figure it out yourself. The older you get the more likely you are to have already figured out who you are. But for us teenagers, this is around the time where we ask ourselves that question. Because once we know who we are we can start to figure out who it is we want to be. Now that you know a little more about what my identity is, let me ask you this question; What is your identity?