Thursday, March 15

why identity should not be kept in a shoe box.

pictures taken at greenlake. 

i don't know if it is just all the rain we have been getting lately, or if it is all the recent changes that have been happening around me, or what - but it is making my head spin this way and that and causing some thoughts to get jumbled up and tossed out of my brain. 

meaning, i have been doing some thinking, and one of the things i am thinking about is this: our identity, where we get it from, and why it can wreak havoc on our lives if we let it get out of hand or find it in places it shouldn't be hiding out in in the first place. 

let me explain. growing up, there were not many places or activities or groups that i fit into very easily or effortlessly. like, i wasn't good for sports (you know this already, though ), i wasn't a natural leader, and i was certainly not popular. so, when i did come across something that i was somewhat proficient at, i would grasp firmly, hold on, and dive in to whatever that thing was. art, for one. i was good at art. and writing. as i got older, and as i continued to hold onto these things, living them day in and day out, letting them shape and define me, i collected other, more complex activities, hobbies, and labels. good grades, stylish clothes, knowing and listening to all the awesome bands ever, etc, etc. by the time i reached "adulthood," all of these things had become ingrained in me, and not just in me - but made up my being. like, they were all the necessary puzzle pieces, that when fit together in just the right way created a picture of who i was - and who i made myself to be. my identity. all of these things - my clothes, my hair, the music i listened to, the books i read, the art i made, the good grades i got, the jobs i kept - all of it held what i called my identity, what i believed i was worth and what others saw when they looked at me. 

now, it is not bad to care about the things we do, to strive for success, to be delighted by compliments, to enjoy looking nice, to be passionate about what we create or pursue. BUT, but - a problem occurs at a certain point, and that point is this: when all of these things become the sole foundation of our entire beings, our entire lives. because, you know what? eventually, one, if not all, of these things will be threatened: taken away, lost, under-appreciated, or...and this one is really a killer....someone who is better at it comes along. someone who is smarter, someone who is better-looking, someone who knows more music than you, someone who makes better art than you, someone more talented, someone funnier, someone with more guts, a better job, more money, a marriage,kids,cartelevisionhaircomputerbodyblahblahblahblahblahblah.

and then, suddenly, the rug is swept from under our feet and everything we held onto dearly, the things we grasped, crumble. and we fall, fall, fall, fall. because our foundation is no longer there, holding us up. and who we are, everything we have created ourselves to be, all the pieces that put us together, are broken. 

and what is really insane, is that sometimes...most of the time...we don't even realize we did this to ourselves. as for myself, my pride and identity were rooted in places of instability for years and years, until i was hit real hard in the face by reality's fist, and left staggering into the pit of self-pity and despair. 

you see, nothing we do, nothing we plan, can be a source and reflection of our own personal value as human beings. not the promising business venture, not the hopes for athletic stardom, not the ability to cook well, not intellect, not the trendy shoes in the shoe box. 

because none of that is lasting, none of that is who we are, none of that is promised to us. and it can all be ripped away, at any moment, when we are not even looking. and then what is left? nothingness? no. a broken person. but a person, nonetheless, who is very real, and very much still existing, and who is worth more than any of those...things. i may have become aware of where i've placed my identity all these years, but that does not mean i have stopped. i try, sure. but in my moments of weakness and frailty, i find that my heart still breaks a little when i fall short in those areas of pride. that is not only incredibly frustrating, but sad. 

i am not saying we shouldn't make plans, or be proud of our accomplishments, or stop everything we are doing. we are allowed to be disappointed. we are allowed to strive for more, and improve ourselves. but i think we all need to be really mindful of how many eggs we are really putting in our baskets. for our own sakes. for our own well-being and health and soundness of mind. because, listen to me - you are worthy. you are talented. you are gifted. you are so important. and it is not because you dress well, it is not because you are educated, it is not because you tell the best jokes, or own the latest and coolest gadgets, and it is not because you are famous or whatever. it is because you are you, and you are the only you there ever was or ever will be. 


  1. What a wonderful post, Kalie! I appreciate your honest and recognition of change needing to be made. That is the beautiful thing about self-realization. I can definitely relate to pretty much everything you struggled with, so it hits home.


    1. thanks, brenda! yeah, that stuff's hard! i am glad we can relate to one another so much, it is encouraging to not feel alone...or crazy!

  2. What a great entry! I'm guilty of setting deadlines for myself and defining my self worth by how much I accomplish. I don't hold anyone else to the same standards though. It was nice to read this and not feel so alone.

    1. right?? it is so easy to be hard on ourselves...and not hold any one else to that same standard, because we KNOW that our expectations are difficult, but gosh, we are such bullies to ourselves! yes, it is ALWAYS nice to not feel alone! you totally aren't!

  3. These are just lovely photos Kalie! And you are so wise for one so young. I see a lot of unhappiness in people who get hung up with what they do is who they are and it's so untrue. Good for you for writing it so eloquently!

    1. wow, gosh! thanks, reese! that's such a nice compliment. yes, people who strive so hard for fulfillment/accomplishment/happiness in things that are temporary are never happy for long. those things don't love us back.


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