Narrowing Down Identity

By Arialexya Pijuan

Like most writers, I am better at some things more than others. For me, it’s imagery. I get so lost in the colors and the abstractions that the words just keep running. The one thing I can’t seem to implement well in my writing is the identity of the speaker, the emotions behind their actions. The tone of the piece is fine, but, because of my difficulty in expressing the emotions of the speaker—the heart and soul of writing—the piece lacks strength.

A few months ago I was given an assignment from a professor to pinpoint a topic that speaks to me as a writer and as a person. I immediately thought about my weaknesses in writing: emotions, balancing the abstract with the concrete, and strength. In all of this, I realized what I needed to focus on was identity, specifically synthetic identity. Boiled down, synthetic identity is taking a scenario, a character, or theme and putting it into one word.

Like “hate.”

For me, hate was a tender friend. I would find the most mundane qualities or attributes about myself and twist it so much that all I saw was the color black and it followed me around. It built and ate at me, but, at the same time, it was a security blanket among a few other words. Underneath all this hate for myself were the experiences I chose to dwell on to the point that life, in general, was a continuous cycle of lack of faith in myself and others, lack or trust, lack of self-worth and a lack of wanting to live. This hate followed me until I found a safe place after the spiral of drinking, partying and heading down the road of destruction. In this safe place I was able to ask myself the pressing questions, the questions I didn’t want to face head on: Why? Why was I feeling these things? Why couldn’t I see the good? Who was I?

Although “hate” isn’t a word everyone word use to describe themselves, we all struggle with our own roadblocks. This roadblock can be defined by a single word. Identity. Most times when you try to define yourself, it’s through actions. But, by taking an abstraction or something non-concrete, you’re simplifying your existence. You begin to allow yourself to open up to a whole other world of conversation by creating a starting point for it; a pinpoint.

Making yourself into an abstraction might be weird, but at the end of the day, you might find it quite therapeutic. You might find the answer you were looking for, even if it isn’t even a part of your identity. This exercise is a way to set aside the insecurities and place yourself i a comfortable atmosphere where the subconscious is the forefront.

Hate’s Unfortunate Hands

I wither in your arms. Aching for the hidden honor
of your promises– stitches placed
upon my loneliness. Only then do hardships spatter
carelessness as passion.

In carrying sweet somethings, your hardened
fingers fail to complete the kindling.
I lie here in overused linens, covering sweat
lined skin, wondering what fills me.

Forced into stagnation as flesh frees,
our somber order, you find a home for a moment.
My mind is blank. We shift, move.
I find the answer with sunken Hallelujahs.

I bask in our torched, mundane voices. We are past
sighs saved and scattered. Stop. Catch a breath.
Blinking into your stare, there I find a fragile second–
gems harsh and delicate. Then finished.

A punishment hammered with incessant tasks,
words. Once a star stored in your garden,
I am now your Lady Night.

You gaze as rolled up socks and a un-zipped dress
fall to the floor. It’s late. Same room. Same transgression.
Same body. Hone the beggar in me, handle our fuses,
you who have intertwined us justly.

We are ripped people; everything between us
is disjointed. I leave the room.
Your finished touches
of your promised cure have altered me.
I can’t tame your hold.