Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Identity

I have a new piece that I have not posted a picture of as of yet (it is still drying). But seeing as time will be limited tomorrow with three little boys running around (and time is always limited). I'm going to mention a few words about it now. This pen & ink that I plan to post (note the word "plan") is of a tortoise. Although, I find myself (and others) frequently calling it turtle. Which has brought me back to a fourth of July party I was once at in Savannah,Ga.. We spent the better part of a sultry Savannah evening with a fascinating couple and their neighbors. The man of the house mentioned his pet tortoise earlier in the day and I expressed my interest in seeing his turtle. "Tortoise" he corrected me.
 So, as I have been drawing this tortoise it got me thinking about a few things relating to identity. The turtle and the tortoise are different creatures due to different characteristics that are out of their control. They are who they are. I'm not going to list those differences here to save you the details. But, if you are interested...look it up. Anyway, it got me thinking about who I am, who we are, what one calls oneself. Think of the labels and names all of us use....Vegetarian, A-Type, Locavore, Artist, Liberal, Conservative, Christian, Atheist, Non-conformist, Jewish, Irish, Italian, Southern, etc..etc...
We want an identity. Labels make us feel good. And we want a name for ourselves. When God spoke to Abram in Genesis He tells him "I will make your name great". That was good news to Abram and we're not much different. So what's your label?
Getting back to the tortoise....he's (or she's) a tortoise because of specific characteristics. The tortoise never stood up at some reptile sub-committee meeting announcing the new name to differentiatete from the turtle. It is what it is. Are we what we are?  Are we what we call ourselves? And if we are not what we say we are....do we need to do something to change that? Sometimes I look at myself and think...yeah...maybe I can be better here or there...and sometimes I don't even notice....

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