Identity

Ramblings on Identity

I have been thinking a lot about identity lately. If you’ve ready my blog posts, you will see that I have moved around a lot. In the last five years, I have lived in three different countries (four if you count the one I come from) and have traveled around the world. I have seen polar opposite cultures, from women fully covered to women practically naked, or from bustling urban cities to empty, wide-open country. Each place is so different.

Moving from culture to culture so fluidly can be jolting and confusing. One moment everyone is speaking a language you understand until a five-hour plane ride later, you’re in a completely different place, with not only a different language, but a different set of rules to how you live life. It’s mind-boggling.

Living in the US you don’t experience this as much. Of course, every state has it’s culture and way of life, but it doesn’t feel that different for an American, especially compared to traveling to a different country. Traveling on a three-to-four-hour flight across the States takes you to another place where English is spoken and the culture relatively the same. On the other side of the world however, a short plane ride can take you to exponentially different places. Places that contain people who see life very differently than you ever thought or imagined. It’s a wild contrast and with globalization and the ease of travel, it allows such a change in just a day.

These days the ease of traveling makes transitioning from place to place more difficult. I have realized now that I need a buffer before I head back to the States. My mind needs some kind of adjustment period where I exit the culture I’m living in and enter my home culture. This transition gets easier every time I do it, but it still is a challenge. It takes a bit to remember where I am and how I relate to people.

Why is it that culture affects identity and how we live our lives? I have found pieces of me change as I’ve lived in each place. From how I dress, to how I interact with men, to even how I spend my time has morphed in the last half decade. Culture seems to have a great impact on people more than one would think.

I am unsure where to go with all of these thoughts (and this is just scratching the surface), but I have plans to build a project around these ideas. I plan to introspectively take a look at my life and how I have changed over these last several years and how culture has had an effect on that. Some of the imagery might be self portraits, but I have some other ideas that I want to experiment with. I’d love it if you’d follow me on this journey and I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on identity, culture, and globalization as well.

In the coming days, I plan to map out my ideas and see how I can start fleshing this out photographically. If you want to share your ideas with me, please comment below or shoot me an email. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

I do plan on continuing my project over fatherhood. I still have much interest in the topic and I can’t imagine dropping it as I’ve become quite passionate about it. So keep following me on my Instagram, as that’s where I’ll mostly be posting from that project.

For now though, I leave you a photo from a recent trip to Rome. I had never been there before and I was quite enchanted by the city. It reminded me of other parts of Europe, but the more we explored, the more we realized how different and beautiful it is in its own way.

Have a great weekend!

-Ashley

 
2018.09.20 - Rome 01.jpg
 

Struggles Turned to Growth

When I was younger, I was really insecure. 

People made fun of me for my wild, curly hair that I didn't know how to tame. People teased me for my last name, my forehead, my shyness, and even my clothing. I honestly can't think of one thing I wasn't teased for!

Although those experiences were hurtful and I wouldn't want to go through them again, I'm thankful for the experience. Because of them, I have had to struggle to find out who I am and who God has created me to be. These experiences made me who I am today. 

One piece of who I am that I've uncovered so far, is photography. I've mentioned this on my blog before, but I feel like I glorify God when I use my camera. Photography has been a tool for me to express how I see the world. It has brought a way to express messages that words can't for me. 

Although we all have our struggles and none of us will ever be exempt from the ones to come, I do hope that your struggles or issues don't define who you are. Mine did for 12 years and it restricted me from doing anything valuable. I couldn't imagine myself doing anything with my life that was purposeful. The crazy thing is that I didn't see my self worth (or lack there of) as restrictive, but who I was. Wow, I was so wrong!

It wasn't until 2008 when I began working through them did I find the freedom to see myself in a different light. The same year I began my part-time business, taking photos. This never would have happened if I didn't go back and work through past hurts, habits, and hang ups. My struggles wouldn't have allowed it.

So friend, what are your struggles? Are you willing to work through them, no matter how painful? I'm no psychologist and I don't know your past, but I do know there is freedom available for you. And besides just experiencing freedom (which alone is amazing), this freedom will allow you to do the things you love. 

What experiences have made you who you are today? Feel free to share them below in the comments!

-Ashley