I felt as though I was always in this tug-of-war with myself to find which identity I really belong with. I had always felt that I should choose a side. That it wasn't fair for me to move between identities and groups, choosing which one was more convenient for me given the time and situation. I wanted to resolve myself to one main identity and let the others fall where they may.
Needless to say, that didn't work too well for me. I just couldn't deny part of who I am at the drop of a hat. I can't toggle back and forth between my identity like I do with TV channels. So, I was always frustrated. Never feeling totally out of place anywhere but also never feeling totally *in* place either.
But then, I realized something that so many people have been trying to get me to understand for the longest time. I DON'T HAVE TO CHOOSE. I can be me as me. I don't have to be me as a black man or as a gay man or as a Greek man. Who I am is a convergence of all those identities. Even if some of them don't usually mix with each other, it doesn't mean that I should feel uncomfortable in those situations. I look at myself as some weird mix of all of those that somehow works. I'm your living, breathing Chimera. Different parts put together that create a whole. One part is no more important than the other. All must work together in order to create balance.
That is what I must do. I have to accept that I am different because of my identities and that it's ok. There will rarely ever be a time where my identity completely matches up with everyone else in the room. And that's what makes me stronger than before. I can use my different identities and experiences to paint a picture of the life that others may not understand. My different identities are not a source of weakness, are not a mosaic of my life, are not the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. My identities come together to form this great work of art that is not separated into background, middle ground, and foreground. I am one big picture.
I don't have to fit into one category. I should consider myself lucky for being able to "pass" as different identities. I can go back and forth between different worlds, learning from all of them, teaching all of them about my experiences. Instead of viewing my identities as a barrier from one world, I can draw strength from all of them.