What blend of family, place, culture, blood, bones, innate spark, exploration, stardust, and self-determination makes us who we are? It’s a good question. It’s a BIG question. And it’s one we’re diving into with our very first themed issue of Invoke.
The topic of identity is both intensely personal and inextricably intertwined with our larger culture and system, with all its beauty and shadows. It can serve to unite—offering a sense of belonging, pride, rooting, and connection—but it can also divide and even become dangerous in a world where black men get shot by cops for the color of their skin.
Ultimately we chose to dive into the theme of identity because we yearn to see a fuller range of women’s identities celebrated, honored, and heard. We want to honor differences, not pit ourselves against one another or tear each other down, but to say “I see you.” I see you, in all your unique you-ness, and I celebrate you.
In the process, we also wanted to know: Can identity be something that holds us, that supports us, rather than something that holds us back? We’ve personally found ourselves resisting some of the external benchmarks of identity—the shoulds of womanhood, for instance—and yearning for identity that’s more about internal essence than external image. A sense of identity that welcomes the fullness of the soul and the deeper layers that long to be integrated and celebrated. We wanted to create space and support to unfold and reveal, to welcome ourselves—and each other—home as women in this world.
We’re also aware that our personal perspectives on identity are shaped by our place of privilege in this world as two white women. So we asked nine of our writers to share their identity stories, their own Heroine’s Journey into embracing ever more deeply who they are. Not just who the outside world tells them they should be, but that most authentic, intuitive, alive version of themselves in the world. We’re excited to hear what you think, and we hope it inspires you, dear reader, to honor your own unique identity, whatever that may be.
With love and gratitude,
Emily & Anna
Co-founders of Invoke Magazine