Identity

I have been thinking about the idea of identity lately. What weight does identity carry? How does identity mold your life, your self-value, your social standing, and your world? When I think about my identity, I see myself as a white male, older, an author, a poet, an athlete, a college graduate, a person that questions himself, a butcher, a leader, a coach, an assistant manager in the meat department, a liberal, a person who does not identify with a religion, a son, an uncle, a person that wanted to have my own children but that never happened, and a person who needs to let shit go. My sexual identity is straight, yet I do support the LGBTQ community.

With all this being said, what does it mean?

I really don’t know.

I listen to books when I drive to and from work. I drive about 1 hour to an hour in a half one way. I have a lot of time to think, plot out, and listen to authors much better than I. In this book, one of the characters lost her ‘Princess Class’. Let me summarize quickly what that means. In this book, there are ‘classes’, like a ‘warrior class,’ a ‘ranger class,’ a ‘Magas class’, and so on. She was born into a noble family, so her class was that of a princess. The character has a breakdown once she realizes that she has lost her class.

This is what started my journey into what an identity is. The character identified herself as a princess. Once that was stripped away from her, she did not know what to identify herself as. She could not see that she was so much more than a princess; she was a barmaid, a caregiver to a young knoll, a fledgling warrior, a second in command of a very busy bazaar inn. She is also intelligent, a survivor, and someone that takes control when she needs to. Once one aspect of her identity was stripped away, she did not know how to react to this. Granted, being known as an actual princess, a person who comes from nobility is a huge thing.

The person that helped this character get through her crisis could not understand what was wrong with losing a title like ‘princess’ when she was in a part of the world where no one cared about such titles. He, (of course, it was a he, because guys are fixers, right?) could not understand that her identity as a ‘princess’ was special to her, and it connected her to her past life, one she chose to abandon.

Throughout my stages in life, I have had to give many titles: football player, wrestler, college student, cook, chef, teacher, coach, boyfriend, lover, caregiver, cat father, dog father, and so many more. Some of these titles defined me at a time in my life. Sports played a huge part in my life when I was young. When I was in college, I was a cook and a student, but I lost those titles when I graduated and sought better jobs. I never truly gave my heart and soul over to being any of these titles, even a boyfriend, a coach, or a love. There are parts of my life, the ones with labels on them like a loner, a lover, a friend, that I have stepped away from for no reason. (I’m a little bit self-destructive.)

So why was she crushed when she lost her identity and her title? Her core belief was that she was a princess. This is something that I clearly see as the listener, but as the character and the character’s friends, it would be so hard to see. When I write a book, my characters have clear-cut identities. Zenith is a warrior. Nami is her girlfriend and a warrior. They are lesbians. The brilliance that PirateAba, the author, did was strip away a main side character’s identity and have the reader go through the trauma of this with her.

The identity defined her role in society, how she viewed herself and how others viewed her. If you asked her how she would identify herself, she would automatically say, “Princess”.  Her world is simple in a way that they have not clogged the pipes with how to identify herself as more than one or two things. Also, in her world, the importance of being a princess is far greater than being one today. Her identity holds weight, it holds merit, and it holds a certain amount of fear. An average worker who upsets a noble is a dead worker. Kings, Queens, Princes, Princess, and Nobles are people, just like the field worker or the chimneysweep, yet, the king is viewed by the public as a leader; regardless of if this person truly is, the identity of the person is far greater than the actual person themselves.

In today’s society, identity is a huge part of our lives. Sexuality has become a hot-button issue lately about how people view themselves as compared to how society views them. People will ask you for your pronouns and your identity when they meet you. I have not had this happen to me much, and the three times it did, I just gave them, he/him. I did not see it as a big deal. Someone who identifies as female even though they was born as a male is not really high on my list as something I should take offense to. As a matter of fact, I don’t take offense to it at all. Where I work, there is a large LGBTQ community. I meet many people in this community that this is important too, so I make it important to me to remember how they want me to address them as.

I think it’s a way to free themselves from the shackles that society wants to put on them. The older I have become, the fewer things like this bother me. Unfortunately, my attitude is not taken up by those who identify themselves as ‘Christian or conservative’, or as I call them, assholes. There will always be those who want to push their identity onto others because they think that they have the right identity and everyone else is wrong.

 What does this have to do with the princess? Not much, it was just a little rant I wanted to get off my chest. I’m losing my train of thought so I need to wrap this up.

The princess was having a young mid-life crisis without buying the sports car and getting a 20-year-old girlfriend. She lost the identity that was cultivated for her from birth. She did not know how to cope with this loss. What I’m saying is that she handled this crisis like how many of us would handle it. She freaked out. It wasn’t until someone had to explain to her that even though she did not have the ‘class’, they still identified her as a princess.

Later in the chapter, PirateAba, gave her the class back.

Authors are the best cheat codes around.

Thank you for reading this, and happy writing

J.W. Berwyn

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