The Day My Identity Died

Friday, December 15, 2017
Keep scrolling for the much neater, typed version of this post...

Looking back, it isn't like there was one specific day when the parts of who I used to be ceased to exist. But the day I got married, I had to let go of the identity of being single. After Mascara was done, I struggled (and am still struggling) with creating new stories, and I had to let go of being a prolific artist. Then a lot of old friends drifted away, leaving me in a completely alien social landscape.

With all of those roles I played erased, I found myself to be a bit lost. And being pushed into new, unfamiliar roles make me want to keep an iron grip on the past. The weird thing is that the tighter I held on to the way things used to be, the more desperate I became.

I have to create another manga NOW. I need to write another story NOW--even if I didn't feel completely ready to create something. I had to hold on to the past with a death grip because if I let go, who knows where I could end up? I tried hanging out with old friends so things could be like old times--but I've come to realize that the old times are gone forever. I'm not who I used to be at all, and my old friends and I no longer see eye to eye.

The scary thing about identity death is that my mind is still working to redefine where I fit into this new landscape. It's a cold and dark place. There is a lot of isolation. I cry for the person I used to be. But then, I'm totally overwhelmed with the possibilities of who I can become. Because identity death is never permanent, although it feels that way. With patience and love, it leads to rebirth. I've learned to be confident that my sense of who I am will return, although I've been lost in no man's land for 5 years now.

But I think the reason why it's been so long is because I've kept holding on to the past. My identity will return faster once I let go of the past--who I used to be--and lay that girl to rest.

When I stop clinging, desperation is replaced with curious optimism.

--Paper from the Flow book for Paper Lovers
-- Written with a Muji Gel Ink Pen

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