So a couple of days ago I talked to my students about identity and how we have more than one of them at any given time, even though we are just one person, one soul, one carbon-based organism (1Malaysia? No. Bad joke. Down boy).
I told them that everyone has multiple identities. For example, at that moment, they were a student in the class. At the same time, they were also a friend to their classmates. And a child of their parents. And a brother/sister to their siblings. And an et to their cetera.
And I guess I talked to them about identity because I was (am) having a hard time with it as well. Some of you might know that I am currently talking on two podcast on the regular. For those who don't, one is the Buah Mulut podcast which I usually host with my wife, and the other is the Mentol Pecah podcast in which I regularly get on to talk to the real host, Muzakir Xynll aka Mozek.
And in one of the episodes, Mozek talked about persona and how a comedian or a rapper has a persona and uses them to their advantage. It got me thinking about my persona and what my identity was as a person, but mostly as a performer. Like, Eminem has a persona that's a nasty person who doesn't give two effs about anything. Kendrick Lamar has this Compton good kid trying to find his way in life kinda thing going on. Louis CK is a divorcee with two kids that says a lot of disturbing and taboo things.
It made me ask "what am I?" And to be frank, I don't have an answer to that. I just don't know.
When I write songs, I'm desperate in finding things I want to sing or rap about. When I write articles, I'm desperate in finding what I want to write about and how I want to write about it. When I think about doing comedy, I think about what would I want to joke about and how I would joke about them. After typing all that out, I come to one main question: what about me is interesting?
Because a persona is a way of being, it's an identity. And, as I've said before, I have many identities. I'm a son, I'm a brother, I'm a husband, I'm a dude, I'm a teacher, I'm a writer, I'm a music fan, I'm a movie fan, I'm an et cetera.
What about these identities of mine is interesting? How may I look at the world through my existing identities and present my point of view to people in an engaging manner?
And the answer is still: I don't know. Thing is, I don't find myself to be a very interesting person. I'm pretty vanilla in every way that I can think of. I'm not particularly well-read about anything at all (even in the thing that I have a degree in, I only have cursory knowledge of). I'm a dilettante. A pretender. And a half-assed, uninteresting one at that.
I understand that the struggle is in finding out. I can't just say "pfff, aidono" and leave it like that. I need to find ways to look at myself, possibly look into myself and find a thing about me that I don't hate. And I have a feeling that that's going to be super tough. But once I find that thing, I can latch onto it and find a brief sense of fulfilment. Here's to hoping that I find the thing.