Who am I?
Which part of your body is your identity?
If you would like to know who you are,
let us start from the first cells you had at birth.
Are those cells still the same?
Within this journey in our body, we have been changing almost every day; our entire body is regularly losing cells and replacing them with others.
At this level of constant change, do cells keep a memory of the other cells? Do they have knowledge about the body they live in?
There are many questions we must ask ourselves before we can say: I am!
Probably no part of our body keeps our identity. You might tell me the brain does, but even the brain is developing through this journey in our body.
When we were born, we had no identity. Then knowledge, which we gain through language, starts to form, and these results are made through the atmosphere that surround us, through our experiences.
We gain our memories from our senses. It’s quite complicated that our senses are the mediator of the atmosphere and yet are also variable. We lose our memories to our needs and intellectual development and age.
So which part of our body is our identity? None of them. Do you agree with me?
It is a pity that we live all our lives believing in something, and then someone or something comes to prove the contrary. You will feel that you were deceived for such a long time, that it is your fault.
Yet somehow no, because you have been getting this information from your education, and others are responsible for this situation. However, you think, it is your fault that you have decided to accept their expertise.
Nothing in this life is completely true, and nothing is wrong, you think.
But what about the education for the children? In this case, would they be responsible for other’s mistakes? Surely not! That is why we must be careful about the most important element in life, which is education. The most important thing to teach the new generation is that because nothing is true or wrong, they must use their mind. Our mind is tricked by our senses. Like any muscle, the mind needs to practice.
If I was born in a part of our land and learned a specific language and habits for that area but then was forced to live elsewhere and learn another language, other habits, would I still have my identity? Would I still have my identity although the place where I used to live has forgotten about me, and I have also forgotten almost everything?
In this case, does my identity exist? Is it my personality?
When you get used to seeing your face in front of your mirror for a long time and then return to your homeland and see your face in your old mirror, which you used long ago, you will be surprised by all the changes. However, even then you will recognize yourself.
Let’s do it in another way: if you are used to seeing your face in your mirror, then you go to another country and see your face through a new mirror, what face will you recognize then?
You will see a different face. Even though you still believe that it is your body and your face, you will see things that you did not see before.
I believe that we are human beings who belong in our environments, and the others in our environment will give us our shape. In each step of our lives we will absolutely lose something, but we will replace it by other things.
We will take and give.
We cannot live alone without partners; our identity is in our groups, to which we belong. So, wherever you are, open your mind to accept others and to let the others accept you. In this life, our journey is for all of us.
The other is your identity as you are yourself.
The other will carry your memory even though you forgot.
*Art image credit: Annie Kurkdjian
Kholoud Charaf is a Syrian poet, art critic and current ICORN resident in Krakow, Poland. She won 2018 “Ibn Battuta ” prize.