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Who am I, Today?

My thoughts about identity

By Dana CrandellPublished 3 months ago Updated 3 months ago 3 min read
OMG, where's my hat? Photo ©Lori D. Maciel Crandell

I've thought about the Identity Challenge for a while now, and it stands out for me in two ways:

1) It's definitely a challenge for me. The concept of “identity” can be interpreted in different ways, and I have some thoughts about the current social norm.

2) It's timely. The prompt asks you to “Explore a moment in your life where you grappled with your concept of identity.” For me, that time is right now.

I'll start with that first part, since it's part of what truly defines “me.” I'm probably going to offend some readers at the outset, but I hope you'll read the entire explanation. Here goes:

We live in interesting times. You can be pretty much anything you want to be today, simply by saying, “I identify as...” What's more, it's become a habit to lead with that information.

“My preferred pronouns are...”

“I'm a proud [insert color, sexual orientation, etc.] [writer, etc]...”

THIS DOES NOT OFFEND ME. Let me make that clear. It does sadden me to think that our history of singling out and often persecuting so many groups of humans for being “different,” has led to a point that being recognized as part of the whole means shouting from the platform of those differences.

If you think about that, it's self-defeating. Nevertheless, it's where we are. And I get it. The struggle is real and it's far from behind us. I only hope that we can find common ground before we lose sight of the one thing we have in common: our humanity.

And that, my friends, is the basis of what I “identify as.” Borrowing very lightly from Dr. Tyson again, I am a sackful of stardust, trying to learn to be a good human being.

Now, that doesn't mean I don't have both inborn and learned traits, just like any of you that generously spend time reading this. I do, and they are important, as are yours. But which of those traits matter most? Because, it's not those traits in the first set of brackets up there that matter to me when I interact with you. Especially since many – if not all of them, were given, rather than chosen.

Okay. Now, for those of you I haven't chased off with the first part of this, I'll move on to the second. I've had good reason to examine who I “am” recently and it's something I've touched on in a couple of stories.

Pam and I have decided to leave Texas and return to Wyoming next year. I'm excited about it, to say the least. As much as I'm looking forward to it, there's a part of me that's already hurting because of those I'll be leaving behind, not knowing when or if I will see them again. That part of me is brother, uncle and friend.

Many of you have already read about that and offered words of encouragement, which did and will continue to help. In the long run, I will be fine. But this is about why my identity weighed heavily on that decision, and the answer is, simply:

I am a husband.

I've been a husband a couple of times before, and learned some important lessons regarding what that means. And today, it means realizing that my wife, the most important person on the planet to me, has stayed by my side all these years, enduring the separation from her own loved ones, while we've been close to mine. And today, her children and grandchildren are in Wyoming. It's time she had more time with them.

So, this collection of stardust and the one who shares his existence will head home. The rest remains to be seen. Just as it should be.


marriagelovefriendshipfamilyCONTENT WARNING

About the Creator

Dana Crandell

Dad, Stedpad, Grandpa, Husband, lover of Nature and dogs.

Poet, Writer, Editor, Photographer, Artist and Tech/Internet nerd. Content writer by trade. Vocal Creator by choice.

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  • Grz Colm2 months ago

    I enjoyed your thoughtful reflections in this piece. Just stumbled upon it as missed it a few weeks back. I hope the shift went well. Best! Ps Sick jumper!! Earthy colours all the way!

  • Far from being put off by this, I find it completely heart-warming. I love that you are laying claim to your identity as "husband". Claiming our identity, even if only for the moment, is vital to who we are & want to be. Our struggle with "identity relationships" comes not so much from the one who is claiming it as from those of us who are receiving it & the degree to which we are willing to do so. That's where either our shared humanity or inhumanity seem to come to the fore.

  • Celia in Underland3 months ago

    So poignant and heartfelt -You are a whole sky of star dust and I so looking forward to readig about you sparkly adventures in Wyoming!

  • Kristen Balyeat3 months ago

    Hey you awesome sack of stardust! I LOVE everything you said here. I didn't see one thing in this piece that would be offensive in the least bit. You share with such grace. I'm so excited about your move, yet I know the pain of leaving loved ones. Change is always so bittersweet. What an awesome hubs you are to Pam, understanding her heart's desires and flowing with them. From all you've said about her, you are just as lucky:) No doubt some amazing things await you in your next big adventure!

  • Paul Stewart3 months ago

    I love when you get deep, my friend. You are always so articulate and I think you handled the rather minefield-area in the first half of your piece about gender identity etc...wonderfully and with a real sense of sensitivity. It's funny, this challenge more than any I've struggled with. There are various avenues I was thinking of going down...not related to gender, but yeah. Anyway...sidetracked there. You are a wonderful collection of stardust and you both look so good in that photo. I mean, even without the hat, it's alright. lol. Anyway. Well done on this and maybe you will get another placing - I hope so - really enjoyed this one. I shall stop muttering and just again, or if it's the first time, say, hope it all goes well in Wyoming, but I know you will make it good! :)

  • Novel Allen3 months ago

    The gender situation confuses me. Young people today must be wanting to tear down walls that we have imposed upon them. They are rebelling against the 'norm' in their own way. We should let them. The world needs a makeover. Change is hard, good luck on your next journey.

  • Teresa Renton3 months ago

    Aw, how lovely. I’m sure it will work out just fine because you always seem to have such a positive approach to life. Can’t see anything offensive in your story; maybe I’m just being dim? 🤷‍♀️

  • Naveed 3 months ago

    Dana your reflections are incredibly heartfelt and thought-provoking. The idea of identity, especially in today's social landscape, can be a complex and evolving concept.

  • I read the whole thing but I didn't come across anything offensive. Also, awww, the second part was soooo sweet!

  • Shirley Belk3 months ago

    Hi Dana, The first part of your story needed to be said and to be understood. You made some very valid points. Thank you for having the courage to do so. And being a husband is a wonderful identity...especially in today's world. Thank you for setting a good example of that with your actions. Best of luck with your move. I said goodbye to Texas 3 years ago.

  • Lana V Lynx3 months ago

    I think it’s a very formidable move, Dana. I’ve always admired men who don’t think that following their women is unmanly.

  • JBaz3 months ago

    Dana, I applaud you on this. It is one challenge I cannot do, or choose not to take part in. As far a Identifying now a days, Honestly as the saying goes. "You can call me anything you like, just don't call me late for dinner."

  • Hannah Moore3 months ago

    I often wonder, had I been born today, if I would identify my gender more fluidly than I do. But I didn't. I therefore continue to use the pronoun she, without giving a flying fig which one anyone else wants to use for me because, yes, my gender is just not that important a part of my concept of self. I must be aware of it, just as I try to be aware of how my other characteristics interact with the context I love in, but I have no need to point it all out. For me, that's fine, and I recognise for others, they may feel very differently, that standing your ground means claiming your ground. This, also, has value. Because people have value. All of them.

  • Real Poetic3 months ago

    Best of luck in Wyoming Dana! Your honesty in this challenge is so lovely. Thanks for sharing.

  • Babs Iverson3 months ago

    Awesome answer to the question and fabulous story for the challenge!!! 💕❤️❤️ Perhaps, my identity was crushed being a military dependent. That was a long long long time ago. Won't be writing about it!

  • L.C. Schäfer3 months ago

    I can't imagine why anybody would be offended 😁 Thank you for sharing 😁

  • Cathy holmes3 months ago

    Beautifully written story, my friend. I'm sure Pam realizes what a wonderful collection of stardust you. And I know how you feel about the separation from family. I live near smack dab in the middle of this vast country. I have family on the east coast and family on the west coast, and I'm roughly 2000 miles from each.

  • Ruth Stewart3 months ago

    When we moved to Scotland, I knew it would be good for Paul, it's his home. I knew it would be good for Robert. He was 4 and a gentle wee boy, not suited for the rough part of Leeds. Luke was being cooked, but would be born here. But as for me, I didn't know how it would go. As it turned out, it's the best thing that happened to me. I have made huge progress in nearly every aspect of my life. So, never forget life can give you more than you ever expected! Also, that picture of you both is beautiful. Give that gorgeous wife a hug from me. 👍😊💙✨🤗

  • Alexander McEvoy3 months ago

    This was very powerful and thought provoking. We always must reexamine ourselves and our conceptions of ourselves. Especially as the year comes to a close

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