I was recently asked by my AP English Language teacher, who I adore, to write a personal narrative essay for my class. This has been probably the most stressful and overwhelming English assignment I’ve been asked to complete.
I knew that I wouldn’t have to write anything new for this assignment. I’ve been writing personal narratives for years, through writing for my book and blog. How was I supposed to pick a single chapter, a single aspect or moment of my life, to convey to my teacher for this assignment? I’ve been trying to fit it all into a book, for God’s sake.
To narrow it down and reflect on what’s been asked of me, I decided to take a look at my identity. There are so many things I associate and identify myself with. Yet, I needed to hone in on one for this assignment. So, I took to writing words – entrepreneur, yogi, student, intern, friend, calligrapher, STEP student, mock trial-er, creator, blogger, writer, penguin (school mascot), teacher, consultant, YEA student – the words just kept flowing. I took a step back and evaluated this list I created. That’s a lot of things for one person, I thought. At that point, i felt a bit all over the place. With so many experiences and identity associations, I didn’t know where to begin. I put my pen and paper aside, and carried on with my day, still unsure.
My endeavor with my identity continued later that week. I love watching inspiring YouTube channels in my free time, and (admittedly) I was in the shower watching one in particular by Erin Henry, a successful entrepreneur who really emphasizes the “girl boss” lifestyle. Her video titled The Truth About my Business was incredibly eye-opening. She discussed the life of an influencer. I realized that this is a big part of who I am, I just haven’t had a name for it. So, it went undefined for a long time.
influencer [in-floo-uh n-ser] n
With this new identity, I found a new zeal for producing content and inspiring others. Last week, I spoke at an Education Luncheon, and I’m extremely excited to have this be a renewed aspect of my life. Producing content and inspiring others has been a big goal of mine, but I’ve been too focused on the entrepreneur aspect lately to embrace that. Erin showed me that it is possible to do both, and I can’t wait to expand into that newfound possibility.
While I did achieve some clarity through this, it didn’t bring me much closer to figuring out my assignment topic. I had to turn in a rough draft, so I adapted my blog post, Facing Fears, to get the credit. But, I knew that although it was a good piece, it was cliche.
Right now, there’s a fundamental shift occurring in my life. I will share more about this later, but I’m finally moving into a good apartment after years of being, in a sense, homeless. Alicia’s Life Tips is thriving and new opportunities are constantly presenting themselves.
With this shift comes a shift in identity. I no longer identify as homeless, I’m increasingly identifying as an entrepreneur and influencer. It’s a lot of changes in every area of my life at once. To be completely honest, it’s overwhelming. But, I also recognize it’s an exciting and transformative time that I’m glad it’s happening.
While now may be a bit more than most constantly changing and shifting. How we identify – whether it be a culture, title, statistic, stereotype, or your own invention – it’s a fundamental part who we are and how we go about living.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What words do I associate myself with?
- What people, organizations, or groups do I identify with?
- What words to others associate with me? Don’t be afraid to ask your friends!
- What would my ideal identity be in x amount of time?
Tell me what you discover!