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I am what I choose


By Jill Harper-JuddPublished 5 months ago 3 min read

I Am What I Choose (Identity) Jill Harper-Judd

I’ve been turning this idea of identity over in my head for a few weeks now. Initially I thought “Oh, I have plenty I can say about that!” And I do. But at the same time, writing about those specific times in my life or reflecting on choices I’ve made feels a bit self-serving – very much a “look at me and how good I am” …and that isn’t in any way my goal. I don’t know that I’m all that good. I’m human. I’m imperfect. I’ve made plenty of mistakes…although I do try to learn from them. As we’ve all heard many times…good judgment comes from prior bad judgment.

Back to identity. There is of course identity in the form of how an individual presents to the world – the simple facts of who I am: I’m a middle-aged female. I have two adult children. I’ve been married three times. I have an advanced degree and I spent nearly twenty years teaching college and high school. I love animals.

And then there is the deeper, more internal sense of identity…I was honestly surprised at how difficult this was to capture, because there is more nuance here. But I’m comfortable with this: I’m a nice person. I like to help others. I’m a “nurturer” by nature. I love to learn. Those things are “safe” concepts to discuss and explore, because I’ve discussed and explored them before and there is nothing controversial about them. Digging deeper, though, I began to encounter the aspects of my identity where (as predicted) I started to feel distinctly uncomfortable. Part of that was because at least some of what we deem “self” is carefully guarded in most people. These are those areas we protect because that is where we are most vulnerable (or can be most deeply wounded). But, as we all know, when you truly want to know a person or understand a person, that is where the “good stuff” lives.

So…as far as core values and the deepest aspects of personal identity: I am on the one hand a very liberal person. I am very much on the side of “no judgment/you do you”. On the other hand, I have a strong sense of moral right and wrong - strong enough that over the years I have chosen not to participate, have left gatherings and communities, and have quit JOBS where activities were taking place that I could neither condone nor ignore. I’m not talking about toxic work environments, although I’ve unfortunately encountered those as well, but rather, situations and environments where behaviors and policies were being carried out (or at least tolerated) that were unethical and/or unacceptable to my view of the person I choose to be. Do I want to talk about the details? Definitely not. I’m not seeking to cast blame or pass judgment…but in some of those situations, I gave up a lot in order to remain true to myself and those (emotional) wounds are still tender. Do I regret it, though? Absolutely not.

I believe in the teachings of Christ and I strive to follow those teachings, even when doing so is unpopular or appears foolish to others. And that means that at its core, my personal (deepest) identity consists of – in fact, demands - the following:

That I strive to aid, defend and protect others who are disadvantaged or have no voice.

That I choose to accept and value people as they are, even when different from me.

That I choose to give others a “chance”, even when evidence suggests it is a bad idea.

That my actions reflect what I see as the moral and ethical right, even if it is not the popular decision.

That I choose love. Always.


About the Creator

Jill Harper-Judd

I've been writing poetry and short stories since childhood....but my life has often been chaotic so (mental) space to write can be hard to find. I am a lover of words and the worlds we can create with them. I seek beauty in all things.

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