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My Eyedentity



It was the second week of my junior year and my English teacher had assigned us to define our identity. I like to think I have everything figured out, but wrapping my big personality into a legible sentence was daunting. My name is Moya Joyce Hudson and I’m a white 15-year-old girl from eastern Texas. Both of my parents work their 9 to 5 jobs while I pursue a successful high school career in a comfortable lifestyle. I come back to school with plenty of summer vacation tales from extravagant places every year and have plenty of clothes. That’s what people see, at least. Not that this idea of me is incorrect, but it surely wasn't my identity. According to Webster.com, the meaning of “identity” is the “distinguishing character or personality of an individual: individuality.”


At this, I turned to my classmate. “What do you see when you think of me?” We were close; I trusted her view of me.

You’re a pretty deep and interesting person, Moya. You have values so different from people who look the way you do” she stated.

How do you mean?” I uttered, but she didn’t answer.


We both knew what she meant. In my short-lived life, I have been prided by my differences, and have known that I identify with the traveler (my socio-economic status), the confident woman (my gender), and the Buddhist (my religion). To the naked eye, you can observe that my phone is the latest edition and I own a collection of valuable things. You would see my pale complexion and my nice clothes and you, too, would believe my story was complete.


You can trust my word when I say I don’t act my part. From an early age, my parents were straight with me about the world I lived in. My mother and father have given me an abundance of great qualities. They both are the foundation of who I am now and set the standards for who I want to grow to be. The trait that is the most important to me and my mom that I possess, is

confidence. Ingrained into my head is the sound of my mom passionately articulating confidence in me from an early age: “be bold.” I am never afraid to ask questions or challenge others. I speak up for myself and others and never shy away from confrontment. My confidence goes

deeper than making friends and asking for help; it fights for equal treatment. The confidence that

is so ingrained in me tells me to dive into situations that women are told to shy away from. It

allows me to stand my ground when I’m told I’m working beyond my abilities or that I am not

where I belong. My female confidence defines me day after day, as I press boundaries and carve new roads for what I am capable of as an upcoming woman.

 

Buddhism plays a huge role in my life and how I live it. I believe not to be good for the sake of entering a heavenly afterlife, but to do good for the wellbeing of those around me and myself. I was raised to never hate those for who they are or what they do. In this, you could say that my values are truly and fundamentally purer than the stereotypical person of my complexion and

economic status. The stereotype for someone like me suggests that I should be materialistic, bratty, and unwise; and in a society like ours, where those who are wealthy and in the majority have opportunities to possess more and think less, that stereotype may be well-deserved. But my friend had seen and acknowledged my true nature; my identification with living life through Buddhist methods and values. I choose enlightenment, joy, and adventure over financial success any day. It is this urge that makes me, me.


Following the conversation my classmate and I shared, my brain began to wander. How else did perception falsify my identity? There are conversations from which I was excluded, simply because my family has beaten the system. When it came to my thoughts on the economic status of the world or the fundamental elements of other cultures, my vote was considered biased. I was on the opposite side of the line and, because of that, there was no way I could understand the other side. But the truth is that little is foreign to me. My experience and level of understanding are more profound than most people in America. My extravagant vacations are less about vacation and more about opportunity. My parents value showing me the world to expose me to how others live, what others value, and how to prosper among people of different backgrounds. I’ve befriended women from the Philippines and have heard childhood stories from Jamaica residents and been mistaken as local in Scotland and each time it was astounding to me. Seeing the world, not as a tourist, but as an open-minded adventurer, is what defines my values. Traveling is my past; it is what I value now most in the present and it is what I plan to do with my future. The moments I get to connect worlds and take the time to understand what makes us different are the moments I learned the most. My parents have given me opportunities to see the world in ways I couldn't learn about from Google Photos or a newspaper column and they have granted me the wisdom to respect more around me and think profoundly about ways I can help make this world a better place. A traveler is who I am, and it gives me the perceptiveness to be active in my community and considerate to more situations.


I think often back to the time my classmate ignited my keen thoughts on how perception impacts my identity. If I could return to this moment, I might ask my classmate whether or not she thinks most people define others by what they see with their naked eye. Contrary to stereotypes I’ve received from my perceived image, I am found to be a thoughtful and solicitous individual who is attentive to how I make others feel and how I affect the world. Through my Buddhist practices, I view others with compassion, find deep value in meaningful connections, and give attention to the livelihood of me and all those around me. I value happiness and chase new experiences with an open mindset. Various travels and various places have allowed me to create unique perspectives. They allow me to think indifferently and be familiar with things that would otherwise be foreign. I have been given the strength to be outspoken in my female skin and have been defined by my parent’s love every day. My identity is clear to me, even if others cannot see past my complexion and socioeconomic status. By staying true to myself and my values, I have built an identity relying on my life’s values, my security with my femininity, and my esoteric experiences as a traveler, which is heavenly guided by my socioeconomic status.

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