Suhana Simran

Identity crisis

Erik Erikson wrote about identity crisis. In adolescence.
So I assumed it would burst like a bubble when
I hit my twenties.
But guess what? It didn't.

At 13, I laboured to find the right adjectives,
To sum up my identity in 50 words.
I am still looking.

Lazy or hardworking?
Introvert or extrovert?
Realist or romantic?
Smart or dumb? Book-smart or street smart?

But what if,

What if I am the grey area?
What if I cross over from one side to the next
Like the swinging pendulum in the physics lab?
What if I don't know
Who I am?

(And while I was looking for adjectives
The pronouns lay ignored,
Taken for granted.)

(And while I was looking for adjectives,
I realised that so many had been shoved down my throat like bitter medicine-
Plastered on my head with indelible ink-
My race, religion, culture, gender
All clipping my wings one feather at a time.

So many adjectives
Yet puberty had me believe that
I needed a few more.)

I have hit my twenties.
And my identity crisis hasn't been resolved,
The way Erikson would have wanted.

Yet in some strange way he was right.
An identity crisis is not a crisis when you have made peace with it.
Especially when identity crisis itself,
Is your identity.


Suhana Simran (she/her) is an undergraduate student of English literature at Miranda House, Delhi University. While juggling between parliamentary debates and academics, she scribbles poetry at the back of her notebook. She regularly contributes to online pages, blogs and magazines. And sometimes she hops into creative writing competitions that challenge her to write on unique prompts. Insta handle: @suhana_simran