I can’t stop reading about this issue—about reverse passing, or passing, or identity and self-identity or . . . it’s hard to put my finger on what makes this case so intriguing.
It boils down to: Who am I? Am I the sum of my parents, a product of my community, or the evolutionary offspring of my DNA? Is it in the genes or in the brain—who we are?
These questions often come up when looking at false memoirs—something this blog talks about a lot. I’ve always been fascinated by people who whip up whole stories, whole novels, whole worlds about their past. Some might disagree and say they are just stretching the truth, but in every stretching the act of lying not only affects the person telling the lie but the ones deceived or pulled into the untruth. Telling the truth about ourselves is important on so many different levels.
Nevertheless, it is a complex question of one’s identity. One not so easy to parse.
There have been times when I’ve identified more with a specific group than with my actual family. Just because we share the same gene pool, the same parents and grandparents doesn’t mean that much if we can’t find common ground. What is the cord that binds us together? Throughout life we are drawn and then fall away from friends depending on our current worldview. Education and experience, life milestones such as getting married, having kids, getting a divorce, or simply enrolling your kid in soccer moves us into and out of circles we might not have anticipated. Identity is somewhat fluid depending upon where we are physically and in the journey of life.