A&E

The Art of Identity

      Every human being is an artist, because we are all creations and sub creators. One of the ways we, as humans, sub create is the way we shape our identity. How we define ourselves is an art. Every person has their own unique way of displaying themselves. What items you display, what way you present your body and what beliefs you have all shape the art of your identity.

      What you purchase shows what you want to define you. The products we own not only satisfy our needs and wants, but also connect us with an existing group. Anyone can buy and wear a shirt, but only a few people will buy and wear an Eastern University t-shirt. By wearing this campus outfit, someone chose to identify with this campus. This is the same with the video games a person owns, or even if they own a gaming system at all. What genre of game do they own and display. What is said about someone who owns a collection of first person shooters as compared to someone who owns a collection of 3D platformers? This even extends to the food we choose to eat. When you go to the dining commons, do you get the same sandwich you always get from the deli, try something new at the grill or maybe eat something far more health conscious? Everything we possess or use tells something about who we are, and even choosing how we display and use everyday objects is an art.

      Our identity can also be illustrated through how we carry and present ourselves. Are the clothes we wear new and clean or are they old and worn through? While this may or may not indicate who is wealthier, it can show who holds themselves to a higher standard of social appeal. Identity can be shown not only through what clothes we wear but how we wear them. Are the sleeves kept at an even length or is one pulled down more to expose a shoulder? How do you hold your body? Does your chest collapse in at the front, do you stand up straight with a stiff back or perhaps do you lean to either the left or the right side? A collapsed chest can reveal inner inhibitions, a stiff back may show strict upbringing or a lean to either side can show a sense of deep imbalance. Every aspect of our physical body is a piece in our artistic design.

      Another way we can illustrate our identity is through our beliefs. This is not simply to say that because someone wears a shirt with Twenty One Pilots on it that they like the band, or that someone owns an icon therefore they are an Orthodox Christian. Beliefs are far harder to see from the outside, but they are clear to us inside. A person always knows what they believe and what they do not believe;these are the very reasons that get us to wake up in the morning and sleep at night. Do we believe in success and want good grades, do we believe that the world is our pleasure palace and seek only what we believe is good for us, or do we live for some cause or spiritual foundation that is greater than ourselves? If we believe we are loved, then we will act in accordance with this. What we believe will influence our actions, and it will shape our identity.

       Our identity is an art, and like fine art there are many distinct creations. Do we make ourselves out to be a Van Gough, full of fantastical colors and deep sentimentality, a Norman Rockwell, standing for our country and proudly signifying the real world, or are we a Jackson Pollock painting, dashed out onto a canvas with the only intention being that the work will be finished in the most interesting way? No matter what painting we are, we are art and art is beautiful. Do we think of ourselves as beautiful? If we do not, what part of our identity do we not like, and should it be removed or embraced? No matter how you display your identity make no mistake. No matter what your identity, you are art. You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). God’s grace flows through you, and his likeness shines through your creation.

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