Natural Born Identity
Written by: Karena Osborne; Circle the Child
Is your self-portrait a photo of who you are, or who you think you should be, as defined by social media?
Let’s look at that together this week.
Hi! I’m Karena, and I’m a Witch! A full-time, hat never comes off, Witch. I am living my childhood dream job.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
The answer seldom changed, “a Witch”.
This would often warrant a “cute”, with a pat on the head. Or, a dismissal. “Witches aren’t real.”
This is one area where I learned that parts of my identity weren’t safe to share. And so, most years at Halloween when it was safe to do so, I’d wear my identity for all to see. No FIlters! No shame, no guilt, no worry, just pure happiness – and being. Looking back, it was the time of year where I felt real, whole.
Children are like magic. Their imagination is a playground of witches, warriors, mystical creatures, and made up fantasy lands. Each year on Halloween, children have a chance to act out their imagination in real life.
Now, though, we have access to social media and filters. We can be whoever we want, whenever we want – in real time. If you want to be a dog with a rainbow tongue, there’s a filter for that.
But who are you really? Who ARE you? What do you think kids are asking themselves when they connect the potential to try on different filters. Is it coming from inside, or are they choosing the filters their friends think are cool?
As I said, I’m a Witch, which probably means something completely different to you, and that’s ok. Other perceptions of me could change what my identity means to me if I let it. My journey has allowed me to claim the word Witch as my own, with no need for outside influence. However, every day on social media children come face to face with identity-based on likes, comments, and filters. Every day is like Halloween for them.
How do we teach children that their identity is more than the attention they receive on social media?
Your challenge this week – as you watch Hallowe’en unfold this week and you see the positive potential of masks and costumes – is to take a few selfies. Do what kids do. Do what kids think is normal and fun!
Or… experience what could be limiting and damaging to your identity. Post a few here. How does it feel? How would you like it to feel?
What are you actually trying or wanting to express?
This is spooky stuff! Let’s look at it together:
Is it trick, or treat?