AKMA wrote over the weekend about identity and secrets. He ends up mostly focusing on confidentiality, but I want to respond to something he says before he gets to his main point. He writes that we are constrained when we subdivide ourselves into partial identities.
I indeed find in my 40s that putting together the partial identities seems like the task of life. That is partly because our culture encourages so much the compartmentalization of religion, so only by putting together those separate identities can I see God as the center of my life. But it is a tricky process, because more important than putting the parts together is honoring them and listening to them and learning from them. The most important thing I've learned about integration is that it is only when I love the parts of myself enough not to want to lose them is it safe for them not to be so separate.
I've actually not connected this page to my other presences on the web because I want this to be a place where I can put the different parts of myself together. There is a tricky balance between authenticity and imposing on people parts of myself that they don't need. I am afraid of student gossip, but I also think that in most cases my students validly don't want to hear my problems. In those parts of my life where I focus on other people's needs I must be concerned with where the issues I am trying to put together for myself would just confuse them and get in the way of what they need from me.