Not feeling entirely enlightened by new historicism, though by no means do I intend to discredit the study, I realized that this will be my final blog post – at least for Literary Theory.
I think, rather than my usual response to some form of criticism, I would prefer to reflect on the issues most at the front of my mind following class discussions, examinations, and syntheses.
I am ____________________________.
I am not ____________________________.
After the multiple hundreds of identities possessed by any given individual, ho nerve-wracking a simple task like this is, boiling down one’s essence to a single word. The verb “to be” is alone a powerful little devil. Discouraged by brigades of English and writing teachers, the use of this over-used verb is actually paramount and influential. The act of nailing down a true comprehension and appreciation of the word’s implications is in itself illusive.
How do we, then, boil our very essences, our very selves, down to one word, one word identity? The obvious strategy for a student, particularly one on a time crunch or one aware of his or her own lack of complete self-realization and enlightenment (which in truth is the state of every man, for we can never truly know everything about ourselves – every detail, influence, or unconscious motivation), is to resort to humor or physical, unquestionable characteristics (e.g. gender).
What am I? Many identities run through my mind, and each one I grab and follow to its source, like bees, all traced back to their hive. This process of constant backtracking – Where did this come from? – led me further and further into myself. None of the first caught ideas of myself were substantial, and all were fluid, characterized by exceptions and situations in which they did not always hold. Characteristics, traits, talents, interests – out. I can never know everything about myself, and my testimony about myself is invalid, both on grounds of bias and the formerly mentioned lack of total knowledge. And the rest of the list, like discussed previously, is too fluid and dynamic, always evolving and changing and adjusting.
At the core of who I am, what I do, how I do everything that I do and process everything that I process, which is an operation necessary to any sort of brain function, I am a Christian. I cannot look at anything in my life without looking through this filter, if you will. I may attempt to exclude this dimension of my perspective for the odd academic venture, but I cannot ignore it, and it is always in mind, even if not on paper.
Freedom is in this identity – freedom from all expectations and conceptions (or misconceptions) of those both with me and not. What and how I see simply is, regardless of others’ arguments, ideas, conjectures, contradictions, or suggestions. Christianity is not something that I do; Christian is what I am.
What am I not? Many things. Above all, I am not lost.
I am loved. I am not unsecured.
I am assured. I am not forgotten.
I am blessed. I am not cursed.
I am Rebecca.
I am a daughter.