Lost and found
Humans are weird creatures. Just because they can think beyond the dimensions of food, sex and sleep, they have decided that they should try to form theories about all the quite obvious phenomena in the world and twist them into something very…alien. So, if you look up the term “identity crisis” on the internet, you're bound to get a psycho[logical] definition worthy of being in a freaking law book. That's an identity crisis right there.
Basically, what we are talking about is a situation where someone is confused about who they really are. And boy, are we a confused bunch! We have managed to create so many barriers and walls, the moment we get out of one garden into another, we get the heebie-jeebies.
Whenever we think identity crisis, we think expatriates. People living abroad certainly face the brunt of the problem, specially the second generation expatriates. The clash of cultures can be quite a burden. Expatriates are generally more patriotic and more religious, because they keep thinking, “this is not my garden” and dream of the garden they have left behind. While the parents stick to people from the same regions [physically and mentally], the children come into contact with a different world than that their parents knew when they were young. And sometimes, just sometimes, the pressure of being caught in the middle of two cultures becomes too much and they choose one extreme or the other.
Then there are some situations that are waaay too jumbled up. Take my friend Yeshentha for example. Her family is originally from India, who had settled in South Africa and moved to England after she was born. She says it's pretty easy to deal with her shared heritages and she is proud of being part of three continents.
But that's not all there is to identity crisis. Identity isn't just your nationality, region or religion. Think back to your first conversations. When you met a new uncle or aunt, what did they ask you? First came of course, “what is your name”, which is logical, since names are a big part of one's identity. But that question was generally followed by, “kishe poro? [where do you read?]” Every time we fill out a registration form, we tick on “student” as profession, without thinking twice about it. Our professions play a huge role in our identity. So when a teacher becomes a TV star, life gets an overhaul. What happens when a science student starts studying BBA and just doesn't get the hang of accounting? They ask the same questions as the TV star: “Did I make the right decision?”
What to do in these situations? According to David Straker, who wrote a book titled Changing Minds, “rather than seeing only a negative side, you can take the opportunity to make new choices that redirect and reinvigorate. You can be happy being who you are, no matter the circumstances.”
In other words, stop worrying and listen to “Welcome to wherever you are” by Bon Jovi.
By Kazim Ibn Sadique
That piece of paper
It was funny, what you could get away with, just by using a piece of laminated paper. Without it, you would get held up outside the library, the bua stretching out her hands infinitely like an inescapable boundary. The ones without the ID cards were gathered outside, trying to persuade the bua to let them in. But not him- oh no, he was too clever for that. He always kept his previous year's ID card in his pocket, since he had recently lost this year's ID. Actually, lost would not be the best word- it was taken away because he wore the wrong shoes to school. The bua, of course, checked only the photo, matched the face in the photo with the one standing before her, and lowered her hands just enough to let him inside the library.
It was cool, what you could do, with just an ID card. You could access doors open only to a specific circle of people, of which you were a part- and that, of course never ceased to make you feel special. You could get your food if you showed it at the counter, you could access the athletic facilities, you could get free bus rides across the campus, which took you to the center of the town. The best part was that look of absolute awe this little piece of paper inspired when you showed it to people outside the elite university.
It was awesome, how this one thing was who you were in your country, and in fact what you were to your country in every other place. Voting, one of your national rights as a citizen, was dependant solely on this. You needed it to open bank accounts. You needed it to show you belonged.
The sometimes-changing sometimes- unchanging ID cards represented their situations more aptly than they could explain themselves. Sometimes phases in your life change and you evolve and your various identities mesh together one after another and your ID cards tell your story, changing every year with a new signature, a newer photograph and a different identity. And then the identities stop barging into your life unnoticed and solidify into one solid mass of you, and that's when you become your ID card.
3 people, from different walks of life, defined by their ID cards.
By Anika Tabassum
Mysterious Neglected Middle Born:
It is the curse of fates if you are born as the middle child. Apparently, nothing is worse than the torture of having both an older and a younger sibling. See, supposing you are the middle child, the older sibling goes through it all before you and the younger sibling is the last in the family to go through it all, thus the hoopla when its them and the boredom when its you. This means that your older brother graduates first, big deal and then your younger sibling is the last to graduate and so it's a bigger deal. Now, the middle born's graduation is sandwiched between these two most important events in the history of the family, so for the middle born everyone's like 'who cares?' Importantly the reclusive nature of the middle born is held responsible for all this. However, it is important to know that it is the birth order, which results in the characteristic and the possible future career of the mysterious middle born.
Middle Born Who?
Middle born children are also usually referred to as the 'mysterious middle child' since middle borns may possess any one of two sets of characteristics and even these two sets have not been clearly defined. The eldest or youngest child is seemingly more predictable, whereas the middle child can be either friendly, patient and laid back or a loner, impatient and uptight. A middle child can also have a combination of these two sets.
Middle borns however are peacemakers who hate confrontations, like their independence, are imaginative, competitive and also a little rebellious. Middle borns can also rise to the top despite what you believe. Look at Donald Trump's example.
Neither The Black Sheep Nor The Shining Star
Dalton Conley, author of the pecking order says that 'middle borns are 25 percent less likely to be sent to private school and five times more likely to be held back a grade.' This is largely because people have less faith in middle borns and the burden of expectations may become too much for them. They not only have to be compared with their elders but also have to set an example for their younger siblings. That's a hard job.
Thus middle borns become rebellious and hate to live by the book. Therefore, they choose careers that allow them to be creative such as art, sales, advertising or careers, which deal with management, where their creativity and level headedness is useful. Creativity usually leads to innovations, which lead to great success, and middle borns can be famous too as illustrated by the achievements of Bill Gates and Julia Roberts. It's possible that you may not even know the name of your middle born child so its best to learn it now or you may live to regret it.
Better Second Than Never
By Osama Rahman
| Issues | The Daily Star Home|
© 2009 The Daily Star