• Elise Brianne Todd

Identity

I started this blog as a way to give myself a voice for things I care about. Whenever I'm with another person, I usually listen. That's just my role. I accept that. God gave me a gift for truly listening to people when they speak to me, and I thank Him that I can do what so many others struggle to do on a daily basis.


However, I have a problem with not speaking my mind. Listening has provided me with countless perspectives and information that I rarely share, because I assume it's too level-headed to interest people. People usually only want to hear a) something they already agree with or b) a "hot take" that feeds their emotions. My thoughts are usually neither.


With that being said, I have been thinking about some things recently and I think I want to share them. I hope it doesn't sound too much like a diary entry, but if it does, que será, será. There's really no other reason I do so other than that I simply want to get them off my chest, but I think that's okay. I always hope that my words provide comfort or knowledge or something good to you, but in this case, it's a good enough reason to simply share them for my own well-being. Please, take no offence. Simply listen.


I'm frustrated right now. I love musical theatre. Even this past week, I've seen my classmates do exceptionally well in class and my love for them and what I do feels like it's bursting out of my chest. There are days when I want to spend hours and hours singing in a practice room. Those days are wonderful. Then there are days like today, when I'm searching for new material to sing and I am overwhelmed by the lack of repertoire for someone like me: a tall but young girl. Does that surprise you? I think it does most. What you don't realize is that I don't fit many roles for girls my age because I'm a Mezzo-Soprano. I don't fit roles that have my voice range because I'm not 40 years old. I doubt I'll ever play a Disney princess because I'm taller than 5'6". I doubt I'll ever play a role for a tall, hip, modern, girl because I don't belt very high (and let's be honest, would you ever describe me as "modern"?) . You see the problem? It's like my body, my voice, and my personality all don't match up. This is extremely frustrating in an industry that has, for decades, based everything it does on these factors.


Which brings me to my title point: identity. It's a fickle concept, but at the same time, it seems unchangeable. Why are we pegged a certain way in the minds of others? Why does that feel so debilitating? Why does it seem impossible to change? I've always heard people describe me as "the sweet, Christian girl". Sweet. I've started to hate that word. Kindness is a good thing to have, but sweet? I don't want to be sweet. I want to be compassionate, selfless, wise. Why sweet? Sweet feels superficial. Sweet seems like a word you'd give to any girl who smiles at you.


I have even more questions about identity: Why can't I be 5'8" and still feel feminine? Why can't I be strong AND gentle? Why can't I need help and give help at the same time? Why can't I need a man? Why can't he need me? Why does it feel like I need to conform to be like the girls around me? Why does my identity seem lost in this world? If you take away "sweet", "Christian" is the word that remains. My faith is the only part of my identity that doesn't feel forced. It feels natural like nothing else does. But WHY does the rest of me feel fluid?


Wow. So many questions. Big questions. The thing is, I KNOW there are plenty of people out there who feel this way, who have these same questions. I've heard it from them! (Remember, my listening thing? 😉) We all have these questions about our identity, but truthfully, I don't think there's any way to solve or answer them. The concept of identity is sure something to think about. I want to find more hope in it. I want identity to be something we can love about ourselves, something that we can shape ourselves. As of right now, that doesn't seem to be true. But perhaps it is...


Cheers,

Elise


"If we can’t gather ourselves, we can’t recognize other people for who they are. If we are not content to be alone, we turn others into the people we need them to be. If we don’t know how to be alone, we’ll only know how to be lonely.”

~Sherry Turkle

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