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Teenworthy: Finding My Identity

I thought I lost myself while battling cancer. But then I remembered who I had been.

Published on: July 03, 2014

The weeks of school were winding down, and my class and I had one English assignment to go. We were waiting in anticipation for it to be assigned, crossing our fingers that it would not be a formal essay. Upon being told that instead of an essay we would give a speech, the whole class was relieved. However, when told that the speech needed to be on “our identity as a person,” the whole class was confused. We did not know what our identities were and if we found them, would we want to share them with the class?

Sitting down and attempting to put together your identity is hard. There are some parts that are easy, aspects that are on the surface of your identity. For me the easy parts I identified were: being a horseback rider, a sister, a daughter and a writer. The deeper parts of your identity are the ones you have to think more about, these are harder to classify. My challenge was that I felt like I had lost my identity while battling cancer.

As I heard my classmates’ speeches, I realized the difficulties they faced in finding their identities were the same ones that I faced as well. Many of my classmates talked about hidden identities or identities that didn’t show on the surface. Everyone has parts of their identity that they may not want other people to see. They may be ashamed of them, or they are just things they want to keep private. I learned that everyone’s identity is bound to change over time. Some of the experiences we have in life changes parts of our identity, molding us into new people or bringing us back to who we were before

It took me a while to write my speech to the class, but I finally decided to talk about how I gained back my identity after my experience with cancer.

How I Gained Back My Identity, Through Horses

After going through chemotherapy, I felt like I had lost my identity. I had lost my faith in the world and I didn’t remember who I was before. My identity had completely changed, but I knew that I wasn’t being my true self. The girl who I was then was not the girl I was deep down inside. However, I did not know how to find my true self; It was lost.

It was after I began riding my horse that I remembered who I had been. Through riding, I earned back my confidence and was able to remember how confident I had been before. I was reconnected with some of my friends as we rode together; they showed me who I had been before. Riding, which I had done before, gave me a portal back to my old life and the person I was then. I began to remember who I had been formally. I once again became a good big sister and a role model for those around me. I became the happy person I had been before cancer and had newly gained optimism. Slowly I felt myself start to become the writer and artist I had been before. I was able to continue journaling about my life. My experience has changed me and changed parts of my identity that will always be a part of me. However, horses helped shape my new identity, incorporating who I had been before. Without my horse, I don’t know where I would have been today, but because of my horse I know that today I am the true me.

It took me a while to figure out what my identity was. To find it I had to dig deep and go below the surface. I came face to face with parts of my identity I didn’t know I had since I do not show them on a daily basis. It feels good to know who you are. So, go ahead and give it a try.

What is your identity? Who are you?

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