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Who are you out of context?

October 15, 2014

When you travel, do you think you become more or less who you truly are?

Or is this a false question? Are you the same person at home, at work, and beyond the confines of your daily environment and routine?

– 5secondrule

I’ve wanted to think over this for awhile now. Since I have an evening free (finally), I shall. Although, before I do, maybe the question is, what is context? A quick look online shows “context” – ˈkɒntɛkst/ – (noun) –  as

  1. the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood.

‘the circumstances that form the setting for x‘ – I like that. Who am I, removed from the circumstances the form the setting for me, Rachel? Or is this another false question for a different reason, namely, that we are our contexts the way a cake is its batter?

Does my identity change with new conditions; do I lean towards certain behaviours following shifts in situations? Out of the context of home and now in Perth, have I changed, and how? And ‘… in terms of which x can be fully understood’ – do I and others understand myself less, now that I’m in a different place? hmmmm. So many question marks. My old tutor would have a fit.

I think context’s boundaries can be fluid. I speak for myself. If I have changed in any country I’ve been, it would have been from experience and not context. I would say I’ve carried my context within me for a long time now. I would recite them to anyone who asks.

It hasn’t always been like this; only increasingly as I’ve come into my own. Furthermore, I doubt Perthians (Martians?) would understand me more if they went back to my homeland, heard the sounds I grew up with, smelt the humidity, sampled the food I love. If they understood me, it wouldn’t be because they get my geographical setting – it’d be because they have gotten me.

I carry my context within me, the story of sorrow and redemption, faith and hope. It forms my identity as batter makes the cake. We go together, in all times.

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