So the most unfortunate event occurred to me three months ago at the BMV. With my quarter of a century celebration also came the responsibility of renewing my license. First off, I am the least photogenic person you could ever imagine. I am always the girl with the stink eye or looking in the wrong direction so I was not super jazzed about the photo on the brink. All morning I got ready and perfected my look, I even spent a good twenty minutes working on my smile so that I could get it just right. When I arrived at the BMV I knew things were on a downward spiral when the rude and hirsute woman said, they were implementing new policy; no glasses, no hats, no headscarves, and no smiling. In horror, I sat and waited learning that all of this was to protect me from identity theft. As I was called up to the picture, I will never forget the way the man sighed in disgust as he told me my hair was way to big. I wanted to ask the guy what he wanted me to do about it? But instead he blew my face up the size of a basketball and cropped out all my hair so I look like the fat girl with leukemia. I mean really is he protecting my identity or just creating a new identity for me?
This caused me to have all these questions about identity swirling in my head. Who am I really?Is it merely just the distance between my facial features that define me? I think not. As I walked out of the BMV mortified by my new license, I began to look deeply into the many ways we define ourselves. Some believe their identity is made up by the DNA that populates their cells. Yet, many find identity in the family they grew up in, the color of their skin, or their family origin, while others are defined by profession, possessions, and hobbies. Life has a shocking way sometimes of just showing you who is boss. This year I learned some of the most life altering and shocking information I could have ever imagined. It changed the way that I look at identity forever. Identity is so much more than the DNA that created our inner being. Yes, as a future physician it would be hypocritical for me not to believe that genetics plays a role in development and disease. But, I definitely believe that we are creatures of our environment, shaped and molded by the people around us. Where did you get your smile? your personality? Your passion? For me I learned at the age of 25 that one of my parents is not my biological parents. Shocking, yes, but in no way did it change the way I feel about both of them. If anything I stand in awe at the depth of their love. The fact that I was brought up in a house where I had two parents that loved me and supported me, I feel truly blessed. A product of in vitro, I have thus been stripped in some way of the identity I once had. There are so many unknowns and variables I have been left to ponder.
Yet, I ask myself does it even matter? I have convinced myself that it does not. If anything it is another life experience to chalk up. I have learned over the last couple of years the most important parts of my identity are things that others will never be able to take away. I am a daughter, a friend, compassionate, driven, and vivacious. I want to be defined for the person I am not the profession I will lead, the car I will drive, or the shoes I might wear. Our identity is ever changing constantly evolving to better describe the person we are today. So perhaps one day I will be a wife, a mother, or a Bostonian, but for now I am just Jen a single white female, blue eyes, brown hair, organ donor, any other questions?