One’s identity is a major point of discussion within the modern world. Internet access and social media create a nearly unified desire to have one’s own “brand” an identity crisis. Success is measured in influence and followers in the entertainment industry. The more someone understands their brand and plays to it, the more followers within their market they gain, the more opportunities they have the ability to monetize that influence. This system allows for a seemingly more accessible path to success than ever before. But this is not the only way that people are searching for their identity. LGBTQA+ rights are at the forefront of most political discussions and exploring one’s sexual and gendered identity has become a more welcomed concept (though it’s clearly still not welcomed as much as it should be). This is Identity Crisis.
Searching for one’s identity can be a frustrating journey, as I’ve learned throughout my experience in the wrestling world. Last time I summarized my experience searching for my wrestling identity. From NextGen to Catford to Purple Wizard to Poet Laureate, I’ve had quite a journey of self-discovery. But I believe that is a valuable part of growing and learning, even in regular everyday life. I am certainly not the person today that I was when I was in high school or in college or even a couple of years ago and I believe that the definition of a “toxic personality” is one that is unwilling to change or has no desire to improve.
Hank Green, a popular YouTuber, and author of the novel “An Absolutely Remarkable Thing”, once said something that really resonated with me. When giving advice about how to “make it” as a personality, Hank stated that the best way to ensure success is to “diversify your identity.” This means to not put all your eggs in one basket because if that one thing doesn’t work out, then you will be left with no pleasure in your life.
This is also an important tactic to help ease one’s mental health, as you can find validation in other aspects of your life if one isn’t quite working out. This really resonated with me because I will regularly go through bouts of feeling unsatisfied by, or like I don’t belong in, the thing that I care about; wrestling. It’s an aggressively hard thing to cope with, and a problem that I’m sure resonates with not only wrestlers but artists in general.
I was inspired to explore other avenues of creativity and different ways to better myself and I began writing the Cook Bros poetry that eventually led me to write this blog, I went back to school to work on getting my Master’s in Criminal Justice, I explored career options within the Criminal Justice field, I even recently adopted an adorable two-month-old kitten named Poutine. I diversified my identity, which not only helped with my sense of self-worth but also improved my mental health in general. Being busy with wrestling, school, writing, cat dad duties, and a career hardly gives me time to feel the anxiety that I had been struggling with for years. It kept me focused on the things that I wanted to achieve and didn’t allow me much time to dwell on doubts I may have about my chosen roles.
But taking on many different roles can also become a detriment. I’ve also experienced the anxiety and burnout that can come with overburdening yourself. This often comes near the end of a school term, when big papers or projects come due, and always seems to coincide with a big weekend in wrestling for some reason. The feeling of being overwhelmed that comes during these times will usually make me just want to do nothing and not worry about all the daunting tasks that loom over me.
I wish I could say that I have some sort of technique to get through these times. Some secret method that gives me renewed energy that allows me to push through the hard part. Unfortunately, I don’t have any tips for getting past that part except to say that it can be hard. Allowing yourself to admit that things are hard and you may not be able to get them done to the best of your ability helps a lot. For example, I am writing this blog mere hours before it is due because I am currently surviving through the last week of classes and I was just trying to vomit out words onto my presentation that is due Sunday when I remembered that I hadn’t finished my blog yet. See no identity crisis.
So here we are, another responsibility is taken care of and another task checked off the list. Sorry if this one wasn’t as good as the first one. I’ll be done with final projects by the time the next one rolls around, so the quality should pick up again. Plus, I’ll have some wrestling shows (and a cat) to talk about by then until that time this was an identity crisis.
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- Hank & John Green’s YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/vlogbrothers