Monday, November 17, 2014

I am not Alex Cash

Having been educated in journalism getting a persons name right has always been a priority for me. I cringe when I see someone's name spelled incorrectly and make it my professional quest that whenever I use someone's name in print, it is correct. 

A few months ago I was quoted in a news article. But instead of being quoted as Alex Cash, I was quoted as Alex Cross, by mistake. I'm not Alex Cross  I thought, I'm Alex Cash. 

However, this mishap came along at a time that I was just beginning to to think a lot about the identity we create for ourselves, and how important/unimportant it is. So after my initial frustration, I turned it into an opportunity to relinquish control.  

I am not Alex Cash. 

I am a human being, with complex thoughts, feelings, experiences, and hopes. Just the same as every other human being existing on the Earth. A series of molecules arranged in a certain way, turned into something we all recognize. A-l-e-x-c-a-s-h is nothing but eight letters that people use to identify me apart from those others. Those letters do not make me unique, there could be hundreds of there Alex Cashes in the world. 

We work our hardest to create an identity for ourselves through the actions that we do or do not do and the way we make our outward appearance look. Sometimes we search so hard for that identity, sometimes most of our lives, and once we find it we feel we are set. 

But  I am now beginning to see identity as a barrier or a box that we put ourselves in. For example, I have had red hair my entire life so being a redhead is a huge part of my identity. Were I to not be a redhead anymore, I might be losing part of myself. But when you think about it, it is just hair, meant to be on our head for warmth, it doesn't make me who I am or what I am. Staying 100% true to the identity we've created can pose limitations for what we are capable of or stop us from doing what we really might like to do. Feelings often change but identity is harder to change if we keep ourselves boxed in it.

I never want people to say about something that I do, "that really wasn't like her." I don't want to have a preconceived set of things that I will and won't do already set up in peoples' minds. Because in fact, I truly have the possibility to do a huge range of different things. 

Letting go of your identity or the notion of it is no easy thought. But my first step was not being mad about being called Alex Cross. Recently I colored my hair burgundy because I really wanted to even though that really isn't like me.