One of the fundamental enquiries the individual makes is, “Who am I?”. We tend to seek clarity of identity and purpose and beyond reasonable doubt most of our traits are inherited from heredity, observation, study or environment.
A wise man used to tell me, “All behaviour is learnt.” Like I said even the traits passed from our parents are information passed on through DNA.
Now of course there are different ways in which we all respond to different environments and different perspectives through which we attack problems. I believe the one we do more seamlessly is who we are.
While all behaviour is learnt, there is certain behaviour that is incongruent enough to make people say, “Oh, she’s fake,” or “He’s trying too hard.”
Why is it?
For instance, a young boy or girl who attempts to speak English in the queen’s tone so hard it sounds funny, it doesn’t sound right. It is not him. He is like a rapper going off-beat to the rhythm if life is an instrumental and our behaviours are the “flow”.
See even musically when people hop on to a cadence that isn’t for them, they tend to be off even to a non-musician’s ear. We say there is discord. Once you appreciate that in order to be dominant in life you have to be your seamless self.
Become proud of who you are, your inclinations. Figure out the good you do best and perfect it.
If you were born with a darker pigment, you embrace it. You do not try to hide it under pigments of lighter tone or bleach it away. You rather find out the clothes that go with that and put them on. Walk in confidence. No makeup will make up for any beauty you have. It can only compliment.
If you come from the ghetto, you may come up and be amongst suburban kids but you will not be ashamed of having come out of Glenview, Mbare or Makokoba. You will not be ashamed of your mother even if she were un-schooled, not very tech-savvy and so forth. Your accent will not have an on and off switch and worsen when you talk to a white man.
That’s confidence in identity. Do not confuse it with settling for mediocrity.
Move up but remain grounded to core principles and values. This is why I have never seen the hype with “yellow-bone vs. Black-bone or red-bone” online squabbles.
If you know yourself you will not see skin pigmentation as giving superiority to anyone. This article is not about race but let me share something on race to highlight some things, because loss of identity amongst my people begins with race.
An interesting thing on identity…
I used to always wonder why my people think, “Watsvuka,” (you’re now more light skinned) is a compliment, whilst, “Wasviba,” (you’re now darker) is considered a down grade.
I then realized the power lay in many ideologies and the words themselves. For instance “Wasviba” also alternatively means, “You’re now dirty.”
Yes, same word.
The white man is basically reffered to in my culture as, “Vanhu vachena”. The –chena in vachena (white people), which creates the word kuchena (to be clean) subconsciously aligns the white-man with cleanliness.
The old saying then says, “Cleanless is next to Godliness,” So yes, my people then align the white man to God or rather a deity.
This is not farfetched as it can be proven by simply looking at the word murungu in Wikipedia. Murungu stems from Swahili and used in more than 11 dialects across Africa. In Shona, my native language, murungu means the white man.
In other dialects it means God. Is it accidental that, the white man inherited the name we used to use to call God?
Did we fear their image so much; we started calling them a name we use to call God?
If you’re black, when you were a kid and asked to imagine God, which race was he?
What does this say?
In shaping who you are, words you use matter. The words you use to name yourself, to name things and to talk. They all matter.
There is a lot of power in words and even people who are very spiritual agree. Vocabulary is not to be played with. As soon as a person for instance begins to talk vulgarity willy nilly it’s accompanied by certain dress codes and behaviour at least for most people that fit the stereotype.
Just look at how a terrorist and a freedom fighter may be the same person depending who’s viewing. The news if it hates a freedom fighter can call him a terrorist. The word they choose then leads to your perception of that individual and therefore how you respond to his message.
What words are you telling yourself about yourself?
Are you a graphic designer or a visual artiste?
Are you a writer or are you an author?
Are you consistent with image?
I have this interesting young friend who doesn’t seem to have a particular identity. If in one minute he sees another guy gets so much attention from girls for wearing a summer shirt and dying his hair blue, he too mimics that and paints his hair blue. – Mr Me Too
We all have that Me Too Friend who never follows through right?
Next he see’s Sharky rock his beads and African attire and decides to wear that image and become that too. Not realizing that both those individuals succeed at it because they are being themselves. It goes back to the metaphor on going off-beat.
The lack of discipline to follow through with who you have chosen to be creates an incomplete you. You can never be Outspoken, Sharky and Jah Prayzah at the same time. It becomes a conflicting person and you won’t be best at expressing each persona.
If however you decide to be Kapfupi, go 100% the process, lest you go off-beat.
Remember, Sharky for instance may wear certain attire because he has certain knowledge from childhood about Africans he was told by his mother as a child. So he doesn’t wear any shirt anyhow and perhaps some are for certain occasions and so forth.
A person who just wears that lacking that knowledge then goes off beat.
Girls will eat me alive if I reveal that the first mini-skirts are said in certain circles to have been meant for office quickies. Also historically lipstick was red, created by Egyptians to highlight the mouth for interest in oral sex, 5,000 years ago they say.
However I am not saying people should not use that but I will highlight that knowingly or unknowingly lipstick still maintains its seduction significance. It has other non-sexual meanings in modern day so do mini-skirts.
It’s just good to know this, in as much as we know how sagging pants by males began in American prisons and so forth. Some information may offend us, but if it helps us grow let us not be quick to trash it.
I mean next time you have your little daughter, a 4 year old cutie pie, you may consider things like, “Who am I priming her to be?”
I was shocked growing up to find out that a hip-hop cipher was spiritual and pouring liquor to the ground before drinking it was honouring the dead. Things we over-look huh?
As much as words mean something and sends messages, so does dress. The take a way is that anything that sends a message should be dealt with carefully because it’s sending a message to you.
Your expression not only influences how the public perceives you. It influences how you perceive you.
You are your first audience because you spend 24 hours a day with yourself. Others see you in 10 minute instances. Purpose Different people define purpose in different ways.
I believe purpose is the thing you intend to achieve and see at the end of the day. It must be defined so that you know you have reached it.
The purpose of this article for instance is to see the individual embrace themselves, white or black, male or female without trying hard to live on someone else’s beat where they go off beat.
Throw away all identities that you’re manipulated or forced into, find time to find self and be the best version of you. You do not have to fit in all the time unless you seamlessly fit in. Every jig-saw puzzle piece has its purposeful place on the planet.
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