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Identity: Defined by the Hidden Truth

Joined: 9/30/2014
Posts: 1
In 2005, the iconic Steve Jobs boldly stated at his Stanford Commencement speech, “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice." This instrumental adage greatly applied to the quest in which my own identity was found; but before this self can be defined, one must take into account my background. Moreover, I was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania of the United States of America to Muslim, African born, first generation immigrants of Indian decent.

The beginning 15 years of my life have been an enigma, characterized by the assertions of other people. “You say your parents are African, but you’re not even black,” “you’re not Indian, you’re Muslim,” “I bet you are searched at the airport every time you go there.” Despite the ignorance within these statements that I just recently discovered, for only an interim, they truly did play a part in forming my identity. It is hard to ascertain an identity when the people around you indirectly and powerfully create one for you, comprising opposing and demeaning features; I can recall that after years of abashment over my religion, when people would ask me what religion I was, I would reply with “I don’t know,” or “I’m a terrorist.” Looking back, I feel greatly ashamed of myself; instead of feeling pride in the culture that defines some of my most humanitarian morals, I chose to dismiss its role in portraying me. This period however, has ended, and I can audaciously say that my identity is not what others assert about me; its not strictly my geographic origin; it is not only my culture or religion; but it is the degree of self acceptance, pride, education, and a will to search for the eccentric that truly define my identity.

What is your identity? And as Steve Jobs would ask, what is your inner voice? By dismissing the years of constant toleration of the external gravities to define me, I have concluded that although my origins and culture define me to an extent, the pinnacle of my identity rests in education and the desire to seek for the unknown. Furthermore, it can simply be said that my passions create my inner voice; as I constantly read about Amoebas, the quantum theory, interstellar space, atomic transmutation, Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, Mahatma Gandhi, the Communist Manifesto, and about many other inspiring phenomena, people, and archaic transcripts, I realized that I too am at heart, trying to find meaning in the universe, one microscopic organism, one galaxy, one philosophy, and one outspoken movement at a time. Fredrick Douglass once said, “once you learn to read, you will be forever free,” but once I learned to read with meaning, I was not only liberated by the false identity I passively accepted, but also was encouraged and still am to journey for the mysterious, through books, experience, or by sheer imagination, ultimately defining me as an explorer.

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