The IDENTITY BUBBLE - Expanding What It Means to be YOU


"You Can't Touch Me" (lyric video) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2aUv_ukJik


Several years ago, I wrote and recorded a dark folk song called “You Can’t Touch Me”, in which part of the chorus states: “This face you see is not my own, this body not my real home.” Etc etc then it gets kinda depressing. The point of those two lines, though, was to illustrate the idea that a person’s real identity is not what you see. Or hear. The surface is only a snippet of the whole truth.

It’s impossible for anyone to reveal their identity in totality. The complete human is way too complex for that to ever happen. Plus none of us even know OURSELVES 100%.

That’s all fine. Part of the joy and pain of living is the constant self-discovery, along with the parts of ourselves we choose to let others discover, intentionally or not.

The only thing we DON’T want to happen is for some other person or entity to tell us what we can and can’t share, or who we can and can’t be. It should be up to US ALONE to decide all of that. Hell, it’s already hard enough to figure out without the external constraints.

Sure, fear can hold us back. But that’s part of who we are too, if we choose to go that way. In essence, while full self-discovery is wonderful (if as ephemeral as true perfection), anything we are by birth or choice - including our flaws and fears - is and should be 100% fine.

Which means when we come across someone who has made a conscious choice to actively flesh out as much of their identity as possible, we’re deeply affected. Impressed. Scared. Titillated. Weirded out. Blown away. The feelings are strong in all directions. Think of David Bowie. Prince. Madonna. Lady Gaga. The never-ending search for THEM wasn’t so much about discovering other facets of their identity as it was expanding the bubble of who they could be. Of bringing in more and more to what it means to be them, regardless of convention or social or media or industry or even FAN pressure.

Society has taught us to define who we are early and often, and stick to that until we die. And again, if it’s your choice to comply, that’s cool. But EVEN THEN, parts of all of us bristle when we hit that membrane that supposedly separates us from not-us.

Here’s the truth: It doesn’t exist. Or if it does it’s because WE PUT IT THERE. We decide every day what’s in our identity bubble and what isn’t. What external definitions we want to fight against and disprove, and which ones we accept. Who we are - whether as people or artists or you name it - is as boundless as we want to make it. It’s not defined by roles or relationships or appearances or labels or genres, except for those which we choose to say yes to, consciously or not.

As a musician, a creator, and as a human, I work endlessly to expand my bubble. To define and redefine purely at will. I make music now that couldn’t and wouldn’t have even ten years ago. And ten years ago I made music I couldn’t and wouldn’t have ten years before that.

Yes there’s a core consistency in who I am. My lifeline that snakes through everything I am and do. It’s so far inside that I have no idea how to put it into words. It guides me by vibrating every time I choose well, every time I choose connection over division. We all have that lifeline. And the bigger our identity bubbles get, the closer to infinite our lifelines become.

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© 2018 by Nick DeMatteo

New York, NY