Thursday, September 18, 2008

What Makes You A "You"?

I am a woman. I am an Indonesian. I am a Javanese. I am single. I am a legal alien in United States. I am a graduate student. I am a blogger. I am a moslem.

How many times in a this day you were requested to identify yourself?
Who you are, and what are all those attributes?
Why would we need that?
What for?
Why we believe in so much to those attributes and always, automatically identify those attributes when we introduce ourself, when we fill in a form, when we start a conversation?
Is it that important to wear all those attributes?

What makes me a "woman"?
Is it merely because I was born with uterus, vagina, and a pair of breasts, feel the chemistry to a man, my opposite sex, or is it because I BELIEVE that I am a woman?

What makes me an Indonesian?
Is it only because I was born in a country, back there at a corner of South-East Asian Region named Indonesia, from an Indonesian mother who was married to an Indonesian man - so that automatically, due to the ius sanguinis rule - the law of the blood, I automatically bear that identity?

What makes me BELIEVE that I am Indonesian?
The culture that is embedded in my mind, that shape my values, did I ask for that?
May I have a deviation?

What makes me a Javanese?
Is it only because of my "kuning langsat" skin tone, the shape of my nose and my face, or is it because of the language that I speak, the place where I was born, or merely, again because of the law of the blood?

The language that was taught as my first language, why it feels so comfortable to use it?
May I use it everywhere I go, because I am a Javanese?

What makes me a single?
Is it just because I haven't spell that sacred oath, or is it because I have none who attach him (or her - who knows?)-self to make me a complete human being? What is the criteria of non-single? It that about "two becomes one" rule, or should it include the existence of love? How about attachment? How about soul-mating?
May I say that I am not a single when I am not yet gifted that knot?

I checked my university registration account this morning. I am embedded with one more attribute there: legal permanent ALIEN.
Will I be alienated with that status? Excluded, defranchised, exiled?

And tonight, in my mail box I received my Social Security Card. I will pay the tax for this country. With that I will be eligible to work and earn money, and access public health facilities.

Who am I? A Non-Alienated Alien with exceptions?

I am a graduate student. My identity is tangible through my student card and my proof of enrolment. Yet when you meet me without those papers, you can't tell, who I am in the education realm.

Ah, GRADUATE student. I feels funny to wear that attribute. I have graduated from my kindergaten, from my elementary school, my junior high, senior high school, my graphic design course, my diploma. And it's only now that I am eligible to mention that I am in "graduate" level?

Who am I? What would I do? What does 'graduate' mean?

I am a blogger.
This is much easier to comprehend. Blog - newly invented vocabulary that was not even in human imagination a hundred years ago, has became both noun and verb. I am a blogger (noun)because I blog (verb) a blog (noun).

Can we live without those identities, attribute, identification, and just be, say, "whatever"?
I feel like a puppet in the box. I can't roam much. I'm clustered, marginalized in a way.

I should bear an attribute to act, to behave, to be accepted. I should have those organs and that look to be a woman. I have to prove that I am Indonesian with some pieces of document called birth cerificate, passport, visa. I should have wedding certificate and a ring to be non-single. I have to prove that I am a legal alien. I must keep my DS-2019 and my I-94 form. I am identified through my ID cards, my immigration document, my blog, all those man-made symbols. Seriously, it doesn't feel so human now to realize it. (but what is "a human" anyway?)

I am a moslem.
I am stunned when I have to identify myself with this attribute. What do I possess to identify myself that I'm that one of the kind?

I believe in Allah and Prophet Muhammad, yet I am not in the stage of praying five times a day. I don't wear a hijab, that made me very often being questioned when I lived in that Shariah town, but my faith is there, at the embrace of my beloved God, in my prayer where I praise His name each and everday.

When it's between myself and the Almighty, would I need an ID card?

When faith is within the invisible state of being, should I wear a man-made symbols to be that "me"?

I don't like living in a box. I don't like to be clustered. I want to mingle, mingle with my faith, with my beliefs, that are not imposed in any way. Not by culture, nor by my parents, nor by the institution called the State.

But then I won't have that place. You all know that what makes the world "a world" is the territory. There is no terra nullius in this planet. There is no, "null" land, without the rules, without borders, without clusters, without blocks.

I want to forget attributes for a while, and imagine, who am I to be an "I am"?

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