Wednesday, September 2, 2009

My 3 Identities

Women Student Athlete Musician

Although I have grown up in a country where I legally have equal rights to men, there is definitely a certain pride that comes with being a female. Equal rights to men are a relatively new concept so in practice, their are still and probably always be some amount of discrimination. I, for example, am a minority in the sport of sailing. In the United States, there are VERY few female skippers (those who drive the boat). Being one of such a small number always has effects. People often question my legitimacy as a skipper who can hang with the boys. My point being, just like any situation where someone is a minority, I become extra proud of being a female because I have worked hard in the sport and proved many wrong. I have overcome many stereotypes that come with being a female in the sport of sailing and so I am extremely proud of my identity.

Growing up, my parents and I have always put a heavy emphasis on being well-rounded. In high school, my dad was THE jock of the school. My mom, on the other hand, graduated in the top of her class and was very brainy. For me, I like a little bit of both. I understand that good grades are extremely important if I want to be successful in the long run. However, this past year, I have been putting far too much pressure on myself academically and now understand that everything must be in moderation. So, I try to balance my schoolwork and my athletic life. I sail competitively year round and am very passionate about it. But there are definitely times where I have to remember that schoolwork is still very important.

Music is a very important part of my identity because it is something that I have always done for myself. Nobody ever forced me to practice. I took piano lessons for years but hated them. My favorite part of playing piano was just sitting down and doing improvisation. I also play the guitar and after two lessons, I decided to just teach myself instead. Along with these two, I also sing. I have my own mic, mic stand and PR system. For me, music is the one part of my life where I play what I want, when I want. There is no structure. Music is when I relax and unwind and I believe that is a very important, hidden part of who I am.

My personal identity is always changing. I always strive to be well-rounded and encompass a little bit of everything. This is important to understand as I travel abroad because although I want have as easy access to sailing and music, I need to remember that I always need to be doing a bit of everything. I need to find something that can temporarily take the space of those two activities. This is a very good realization because it will force me to be spontaneous and involved in Spanish culture. Hopefully, the Spanish people will be very open to my desires to uphold my well-rounded identity as I try new things and experience different aspects of their culture. In regards to how I think I will view them, I am trying to refrain from that. I'm trying my hardest to not judge/have expectations before I arrive. I want to be completely open to whatever the Spanish may throw in my direction and I don't want that to be hindered by any subconscious judgments that I make before I even get there.

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