“Culture is the widening of the mind and of the spirit.”

~Jawaharlal Nehru

I am Indian. I am a girl. I am a writer. I am smart.

The words “I am” are probably the two strongest words in the English language. I AM holds conviction and tells everyone who you see yourself as. It is important, however, that we use these words positively and shape ourselves in a healthy way.

Sociologically, it is believed that the way we view ourselves is a product of how we imagine others view us. Charles Cooley’s Looking Glass Self Theory identifies our self-evaluation development as a process. His theory describes the process as follows:

  1. We image how to we appear to others: family, friends, strangers.
  2. We imagine how these people judge us: Do they think I’m nice or mean? Smart or dumb? Friendly or aloof? Attractive or ugly?
  3. We use these perceptions of others’ judgements to develop feelings about ourselves: self-confidence, shame, insecurity, etc.

Naturally, it is easy to see how many people may come to find themselves using I AM as a negative. The only thing we have conviction of is the paranoia that gives birth to our unhealthy perception of ourselves.

When I was younger, I used to despise my name for not being “normal”. No one could say it and I struggled to be so different from everyone else with easier-to-pronounce names. As I grew, I learned that those are the names that people remember (once they learn it, that is). I was well immersed in my own culture that I grew to be proud of where my name came from, and thusly, of myself.

American, Indian, Italian, Chinese, Spanish, African, Russian, French, Swedish, Vietnamese, Brazilian, and so on: the world is full of beautiful, rich cultures. Your culture and all that it is made up of will shape you in ways that you may never know if you cannot embrace it. I AM does not refer to simply culture or race, but to gender identity, sexual orientation, etc. and whoever you are, there is only one of you, so why not showcase it in every way you can.

Goal: Be proud of who you are where you came from.


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