Saturday, December 27, 2008

Identity and expression

I've been pondering identity and expression over the last year. Here are some notes I jotted down this morning.

Identity-does it exist without expression? How can you tell who you are without expressing it?

I repress expression of my identity when I am objectified. Objectifying others is a human thing, we all do it. Objectifying happens when broadcast is mistaken for aimed, when expression is mistaken for communication.

Art is expression. Is all expression communication? Communication of what?

I don't live in a forest; how can I ever go unheard? When I do something just for myself, as an expression of my feelings, to literally act out what I am thinking and feeling, does that have to be received as aimed communication merely because I broadcast it and there are individuals who have the ability to receive it?

I often choose to repress myself because people frequently react as if I intended a specific communication to them when I was just being myself in the world. I don't like that particularization of my interaction with the universe, but the only control I have over it is to repress my expressions. An unintended consequence of that repression is losing my sense of identity, losing track of who I am.


Stef said...

I think you might have more influence over how you feel about other people's reactions to what you do than about their reactions. There might be choices you could make other than repressing yourself, if the repressing bothers you.

Kai Jones said...

I'm having trouble coming up with the other choices.

Rory said...

It sounds like it could become an endless spiral- you anticipate reactions so you edit to your expectations which changes the expected reaction and you wind up talking to yourself. Repressing short circuits that.

Since your word for the year is 'strength' what about the strength to let people make their own interpretations, no matter how wrong? The strength to move in the world knowing you will occasionally, accidentally step on toes but not letting that be a reason to quit moving?

This is a mental thing, anyway- not real toes being stepped on but people who interpret a comment as being about them, an imaginary slight and a product of their own ego, through their own agency.

Kai Jones said...

people who interpret a comment as being about them

That right there.

The strength to move in the world knowing you will occasionally, accidentally step on toes

Yeah, it's not stepping on toes I'm frustrated by. It's when my actions are taken as a personalized invitation to interact with me. E.g., just because I'm dancing doesn't mean I want to dance with *you* (generic you, not Rory-you).

I think I need to work on my rejection skills.