As a child I was raised to never – never – identify myself.
This may sound weird, so let me clarify.
You didn’t own yourself. When you introduced yourself to anyone, you could tell them your name (which your parents gave you) and maybe what you did (though as I was a child, what I did was ‘be a child’), and that was pretty much it. The lesson that was ground into me, deep and hard during my schooling, through numerous morality tales, was that any person who declared about themselves was being selfish.
This makes it pretty strange now to realise that identity drives most of my friends’ lives. I think I took the lessons of my childhood too far, and now there are worn grooves inside me, where my fear of sin creates an abnegation that can probably be harmful.
I don’t really have anything more to say on this. But it means that the identity driven I-life of my friends sometimes sits at odds with what I was raised to think of myself, and of how people work and are. I find myself feeling uncomfortable in a room full of people who care deeply about the labels they attach to themselves, and how other people related to them don’t have or deserve their labels. I feel like it’s wrong to put labels on yourself, you need to act in a way that other people will see, and label that way.
Now imagine how most self-declared ‘Ally’ folk look to me.
Especially since now, the act of declaring yourself an Ally is often the only act I get to see of a person.