Friday, September 30, 2016

Identity and Persona

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.

1 comment:

Muhammad Nurhaziq said...

Hey Anwar Hadi.

In my opinion, you already have a persona. What I see from you is you always try to create a better world. You always talk about mature stuff, and you tried to make others come to their sense.

You share your own thought that sometimes it make others to think.

You're not interesting? Well, in my opinion, you don't need to be interesting guy to the whole world. For me, you already an amazing guy. I've been following you since, 2012 I guess? But it's not like I love you in romantic way anyway. It just, everytime you write, I will read it. But I don't have much time to watch your vlogs though.

What I'm just saying is, you're something. At least you made me to write in English in my own *bunyi cengkerik* blog. You inspired me too sometimes with your short stories. Talking about short stories, when will you write again?

For me, perhaps finding own persona is difficult. Only others can see what type of person you are. And I just want you to know, I think you are one amazing person in this world. Sometimes you're funny, sometimes you are hambar, but I still never lose respect towards you.

And to me, you have this persona of a philosopher, a poetry, literature lover, and someone who wants to see the world become better. Not everyone in this world are like you. And having common, not-so-unique persona is not a crime isn't it?

Have more confidence in yourself. Even yeah I know, you already have much confidence in yourself.