The Concept of Identity

The false-self is a mosaic of reflections of social expectations, met and unmet, manifested and embodied like body-theiving spirits, like stereotype and research bias.

We affirm our imagination with magic wands and pixie dust, belief systems that conform to meet our social needs. Group think is psychological democracy, and I am still the minority.

This is not an argument against the validity of demographic identity.

Whomever you are, however you identify, you are valid. Your identity is valid.

This is less about identity and more about True Self, the nature of the soul.

Who am I?

“Sacred Journey” by Michael Reeder

I’ve spent my whole life shape-shifting into the ever-changing illusions and shadows of the person standing in front of me. It was once a survival skill, to shrink my truth and behave exactly as expected, to run and hide from the pyre of too-much-otherness.

I’d been fragmenting myself,  creating energetic templates, modeled after the safe standard, like prosthetic dicks and theatre masks, handy in my apron pocket. I’ve collected quite a few.

Not to mention my own projections, mistaking me for you.

But they only lasted as long as my fuse, short or long-suffered, ego death is inevitable.

The social constructs of identity: gender, race, political affiliation, class, religion, nationality, etc. They may signal silhouettes, but cannot define the soul, which live eternally outside these tiny but amusing, jack-in-the-boxes.

The problem with psychological democracy is that people are generally stupid. Most would rather follow the crowd than accept the responsibility required to lead oneself.

To think, all is Mind.

If we unravel the webs of the outdated roles we cast for ourselves and others, and recalibrate our sense of identity, what would we choose as our foundation?

To begin, the roots of our soul’s past, our ancestor’s stories, they are mythologies’ secret guides, mapped out over the night sky.

It’s true that we don’t know where we are going unless we know where we’ve been.

I remember where I’ve been.

I’d been beckoned to the dark side.

They told me I needed to see the things that happened in the shadow realm, to watch the night goblins feed.

Abuela, she insisted I bear witness.

I was disturbed, yet lucid.

The Demon, she said, “Never forget what you witnessed here.”

While the Angel, she said,

“Remember your Truth.”

It took years to realize that they gave the same advice.

To hold opposing polarities. To balance and harmonize. To walk in both worlds.

Okay, okay, I get it. I’ve seen a few monsters. You’re saying my identity is a vampire slayer? Demon killer?

You’re still thinking of identity in terms of vocation. Why are you in a rush to summarize?

It’s late. I’m exhausted.

Alright then. I’ll just say it.

If your identity is tied to a career, social construct, or role that allows others to recognize “who you are,” then your identity is subject to the expectations placed on you by that society, as you will repress the parts that do not meet those standards. Everyone does this to an extent. It’s the nature of social creatures.

But if your identity is based on the embodiment of your highest values and the acceptance of your flaws, you won’t carry the weight of social expectations. You are free to be who you are, to express your otherness, and to learn from your mistakes.

Okay. My identity is based on growth, integrity, and freedom.

Hold that in your heart.

I will.

And your flaws?

I’m working on patience, stillness, and receptivity, as I accept where I am today.

Buenas, Mijo. Now go to sleep.

My Story Revised: Part 1.

Hi, my name is Ikaika Torres….

I come from a long line of island people. My mother’s ancestors are from the Illocos region of the Philippine Islands, and my father’s family is from the Caribbean island of Boriken.

I’m proud of my biological heritage, and I do my best to honor my ancestors and learn about those island chains. However, I am 4th generation Kama’aina, born and raised on Oahu. I identify as “mixed.”

I grew up along the West Lochs of Pearl Harbor, making bottle-cap spinners and slingshots, when I wasn’t stealing kalo from the kalo patch next door.

I spent 3 days a week in church where I learned how to pray the Christian way. This was both a safe and very dangerous place.

Being Christian also meant that I couldn’t do the same things cisgender boys could. Like wear pants every day. Or play baseball. Or watch Nickelodeon.

I prayed a lot. I got good at that.

I spent my formative years terrified of the real monsters that lurked around every corner, feeling like a ghost that people could see, but not touch. I was afraid of adults, but also afraid of my peers. I rarely spoke unless spoken to. Such is the effects of early childhood trauma.

My parents had 5 kids before they turned 25. None had high school diplomas until my dad went to night school. He still brags about how they gave him a diploma instead of a GED because we was “so smart.” To be fair, my dad is a fairly intelligent man. It’s too bad he never had the opportunity to further his education.

Such are the sacrifices of parenthood.

After 40 something years of marriage, my parents are still together. There were many things they couldn’t give me, but the example of a successful marriage proved itself the most value gift they had to offer.

Unfortunately, my mom became disabled during her pregnancy with me. My family received food stamps and we always had free lunch. I remember the time we received a box of food from the thanksgiving drive.

Being poor didn’t bother me much.

No, that was a lie. Of course it did. I was ashamed of the clothes on my body. I felt unworthy of the food I ate. I dreaded the birthdays I knew would be forgotten. Yet, I earned some pearls here.

In a world ravaged by greed, and disillusioned by the power of money, the absence of it allowed us to reap the more valuable things in life, stuff that cannot be bought. Like family values, laughter, and love.

In high school, my stoney friends and I would cut class and disappear in the sugar cane fields, smoking $5 joints. I remember the stinging fiber glass, like tiny needles all over my arms and legs.

Breaking the rules brought some kind of relief, like when you’re famished but instead of getting a meal you get a slushee from 7-11.

I played sports because it felt healthy, and I wrote for the paper because my English teacher insisted.

I was a troubled teen. Switching from Masculine to Feminine every year, not knowing which was my true gender. They had their own personalities, their own perspectives, ideas, and mannerisms. I felt like two different people.

I also struggled with depression, low self-esteem, and anti-social behavior.

Did I mention my dad was addicted to meth? And both my older sisters became teen mothers?

Family life was stressful, but it felt good to be needed by the rug rats of the new generation. Perhaps they were my saving grace.

I know this sounds heavy, but bear with me. I actually survived all this shit!

At 16, I struggled with my faith. When my first love turned out to be a lesbian relationship, I had to choose between “God” and “Love?”

Hmm. Okay?

This mystery would would take another ten years to unravel.

I joined the Air Force right out of high school. I thought I’d retire at 37 and get some fancy uni degree to show the world how important I was. Instead, I had a mental breakdown while I was stationed at McChord AFB.

The Pacific Northwest has a tendency to cause downward spirals for the pathologically impaired.

At 19, I suffered my second major depressive episode and was honorably discharged from the military. They diagnosed me with Borderline Personality Disorder. A year later, a civie doctor changed it to General Anxiety Disorder. Later it became Bipolar Schizoaffective Disorder, then finally Complex PTSD.

From 19 — 31, my entire young adulthood, I was in and out of the psych wards, doped up on psychiatric medicine, seeking God in religion, drugs, achievements, whatever.

The biggest issue I had was not knowing how to safely connect to others. The more I expressed myself, the less relatable I seemed.

The smallest issue was my gender.

The Feminine wanted drugs and dangerous sex, ultimately to self-destruct, while the Masculine was inclined toward education and spirituality. She carried the burdens of rage, pain, grief, and torment. While the Masculine was free of this, he could (kinda) think clearly.

I remember the day I was in Vipassana meditation, around Day 7 of silence and celibacy. The Feminine was listening as the Masculine broke down, saying things I had never heard before. He revealed information that was completely new to my conscious mind.

“I wish I was born a man. If I was born a man, things would be different. People would see who I am.”

If I had ever denied feeling this way, it couldn’t be denied anymore.

The Feminine’s heart was moved by his grief, and she felt gratitude for his sacrifices. For the way he gave his entire being to protect her, how he suffered so much in her body without complaining (until that moment), and without so much as a thank you.

The Feminine grew from a little girl to a teen on that day. She chose to end a bitter 30-year war with the Masculine. She decided to trust him.

The Feminine then gave her heart and body over to me, that I may create a temple that serves the both of us.

Thus, I am transgender. I am Two Spirit (Taino). I am Kama’aina Mahu Kane.

In this Masculine body, she feels safe. The Feminine is more present and expressive than she’s ever been before.

I want to write more but it seems my time is limited tonight.

Shall I continue?

I guess we will see….

The JOKER: How to Collapse the Wave Function

This image belongs to DC.

When the fear of death subsided, the tension in my body melted.

The multiverse spun around me, as if I was in the center of some cosmic clock.

I saw pieces of me in parallel worlds.

The Joker’s disfigured face twisted into a scarred smile.

His pain was potential violence at rest, a merciless volcano awaiting release.

A rot wilier howled with great fear.

The old ladies didn’t know what to do.

The Archetype lived in a parallel world, yet also in here, my fragmented spirits.

If I am to become the most optimal version of myself, the superposition must collapse.

To collapse the wave function, the shadows must be reintegrated.

As within, so without.

The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram.

I touched the Joker’s disfigured face. Only I could see the depth of his pain.

“I know why you take innocent life,” I said. “I understand you.”

Lava erupted from his white eyes, kinetic violence in action, but he could not touch me.

For I was an invisible spirit, his higher self.

Then he collapsed on the floor, his body contorting. He was foaming at the mouth.

He telepathed images of the darkside, disturbing hence silent.

As he writhed in my arms, choking on his own tongue.

“I know, Brother.” I said. “I know.

“Thank you for holding my pain, you beautiful soul.

“It’s time to come home.”

Then the blinding white light came from all around.

As Angels appeared to harmonize his song.

The demons fled his body as it dissolved into white ash.

Oh, and the ladies called the police.

No, the ambulance.

The howling turned to whining as I whispered, “it’s okay to die.”

And in a moment it was done.

The ashes gone, a new body appeared.

It was mine.

The world will celebrate the Joker’s death.

Who am I

becoming?