Identity.

I am a gardener, a writer, a Londoner. I am English. I am a geek. I am a cook, a painter, a slow examiner of minute details (you are rushing me, however slowly you go). Despite being shoehorned into a body that is cartoonishly female, I don’t understand what it is to have a gender identity. I was born, happily, with a soul that is firmly “it”. I find people who relate to me on the basis of my being a woman tiresome. I am a dutiful child, a sibling and friend. I am your best kept secret: I am loyal. I have my heart deep in myths, down with the bulbs, dead in summer, growing in the quiet dark in winter when all seems still and without hope, flourishing in spring, all herald-trumpets, quick to fade but dependable and undefeatable. I am a hermit, most likely to find contentment and rest when alone, unable to function in a busy house. I must have space, mental and physical: high ceilings, the outdoors, the sky. I must have animals in my life, dumb, wriggling, hot little beasts. I am not, and never wanted to be a parent. I will compete hard for money, but never in the smallest way for love. I cannot abide unkindness. I find many people beautiful, but very, very few sexually attractive, and that is dependent entirely upon feeling an emotional connection to them. In the absence of that, there can be nothing else. And the minute your back is turned I will begin leaning on the rules that have been explained to me, leaning, leaning, bending, finding ways around, burrowing under, subverting, unpicking. Not with malice. I don’t have any malice, nor any concept of revenge. If you are in authority I am compelled to test you. If there is a way it should be done, I am compelled to invent a new one. I can’t help it. It’s who I am.

It is my identity.

Other people differ. Some enjoy chilli and some play video games. Some people are strongly gendered. Some love casual sex. Some people are here to be parents. Some people dislike wasps but are mad for giraffes. Some never look at the world they walk around in. Some need religion. Some are afraid of everything, some are not afraid enough. Some can drive cars, or speak a dozen languages. Some can dance and jump and run. Some people like Ikea furniture.

Someone has to be Peter Hitchens.

So I might not like you, but I love you. There is a line in Whedon’s “Angel” (I am drawing on humanity’s most powerful canon, here), where the green-faced barkeep reminds someone that “it is the change from one note to the next that makes life a symphony.”

Oh, let’s remember to love each other. We are all monkeys in shoes, muddling along and post-rationalising everything we say, do, think, holding it up against the filter of other people’s approval: so afraid of rejection that if someone gives us that, we wear it defiantly, like armour. We grow small inside it and become lost (poor David Cameron rattles in the very toe of his suit of armour, and wants to give us all armour, just like his). But what we say, do or think, good or ill, is a note in the symphony.

That I would say something like this is predictable, because saying a thing like this is part of my identity. And that you may laugh at it and think it is nonsense may be part of yours.

But I hope not. x

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About chiller

Rachel Coldbreath spent 20 years working internationally as a technical specialist on large data collections for law firms, before becoming disabled. She blogs on a variety of topics from the news and politics to gardening and how very annoying it is, being disabled. Habits include drilling holes about 1mm away from where they ought to be, and embarking with great enthusiasm on tasks for which she is neither physically nor intellectually equipped.
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10 Responses to Identity.

  1. Fles says:

    You are so right about rejection being something we wear as armour – I think, to an extent, we specify our own fortresses day-by-day, construct them in our minds and then wear them: unconscious prisoners of emotional straight-jackets.

  2. ourgaff13 says:

    me – I love the words. xxx

  3. tfaswift says:

    I won’t beat about the bush, you don’t seem the type who’s into that. You’re interesting and opinionated. Do you ever visit other blogs and get involved, leave feedback etc? Or do you tend to stay on your own turf. Bloggers are different, so I’m just wondering which type you are. I like meeting bloggers who are willing to get interactive and share their (hopefully strong) opinions, whether they are the same as mine or completely opposite. Either way, good luck with your blogging journey and your journey through life in general. I think it’s great that you know yourself so well; it’s a rare quality.

    • chiller says:

      I used to more than I do now. I guess as I’ve got older my sense that It Is Important That Other People Know What I Think has waned somewhat: as long a I know what I think. I do sometimes, though. I got very bogged down in the Assange thing for a while, for intance (before realising that it’s like pushing string: those people have no interest in sense).

      I’m not sure why it is rare to know oneself (a few people have said this to me, today). It is very hard – maybe impossible – to know anything that is not oneself.

      Thank you for reading, and for commenting! I hope we meet again.

      • tfaswift says:

        I’m studying to be a therapist, so I find that a lot of people are struggling to figure out their authentic identity and true self. I’m sure you’ve heard the talk about “taking off the masks” that people wear, i.e. trying to be what others expect of us and seeking approval, etc. But the thing is, a lot of people don’t know what’s behind the mask, or they’re afraid to see what’s behind the mask. Not a lot of people just don’t wear one. I don’t either. I’m just me. But it is unusual to meet another maskless person! LOL. Thank you for your forthright reply. :-)

      • chiller says:

        Society inculcates the notion that our identity is dependent on other people’s opinions of us, so we are trained to be and to think of ourselves as only the things defined as “good”, for fear of abandonment. The disconnect between this self-image and the reality of being human, fallible, petty, unkind, and our inability to cope with admitting those things about ourselves cause us enormous problems as individuals. I think when you accept that you are sometimes a little shit, it becomes a great deal easier to accept other people sometimes being little shits, and you stop dropping people into “good” and “bad” categories because you realise you don’t belong in either one yourself. Life becomes simultaneously a lot more complicated, and a lot simpler.

        And yeah, lonelier. Hello, fellow explorer. :)

      • tfaswift says:

        LMAO. That’s classic. I may have to quote you on that sometimes – ” I think when you accept that you are sometimes a little shit, it becomes a great deal easier to accept other people sometimes being little shits …” Brilliant.

  4. I do so love you and am so pleased our virtual paths met. <3

  5. Lilian says:

    It is good to read this. I think we’re quite alike in many ways (from what I can tell from what you’ve written). I just wish I could explain myself (in every sense) as eloquently as you do.

  6. njbdartford says:

    Glorious! ;0)

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