Navigating My Identity and Impact in Society - A Personal Reflection

My name is Cecilia van den Berg, biologically I am classified as female and I also identify as a female within my gender roles. I am currently studying my bachelors of Law (LLB), and employed as a legal receptionist at a law firm to gain experience in the law field while I am studying. My role in society, is a citizen with a liberal point of view and also, a post-modern feminist, that in essence, means that I fight for equality of all genders and races. In my family I am the daughter of my biological father and biological mother who are still married. My mothers background is of English ancestry and my father of Afrikaans ancestry. Thus, it can be derived that I am of European ethnicity. This is my role in society essay in which I will discussed, who I am in relation to the concepts of society and self.

Through the years my self-esteem and body image were not that of the highest quality. During puberty I was the victim of bullying both in emotional and physical form. The effects there of impacted my self-esteem and body image to this day, but there has not been an absence of growth after that period. I am proud to say that in recent years, I started caring about my appearance and I started admiring myself for my achievement’s and personality.

Humans are complex organisms who are frequently changing, within that change I feel that the constant of the following has to be determined each time. What PERSON are you? In this case, PERSON can be understood as an acronym, that represents the following terms: Personality, Eclectic, Reasoning, Strengths, Objectives, Negatives. I will thus explore who I am as a PERSON.

Personality, in my view it is a combination of attributes that make the character of a person unique. Some of my characteristics include: dependability, consistency, selflessness, kindness, commitment, responsibility and consistency.

The term Eclectic means certain styles and tastes a person has. Eclectic is also a person’s interests. My Interests are; Gaming, Volunteer Work, Music, photography, gardening, cooking, foreign languages and traveling. My style can be seen as a modern Ethic style. This style is defined as wearing clothes from all around the world like: Japanese Kimonos and Afghan coats. My taste is influenced by Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, French, German and British food or architecture.

Reasoning, can be defined as the way you make decisions for example; I am more of a detail orientated person. I identify as an introvert, meaning I recharge my social battery alone. Knowing my reasoning for situations gave me the ability to identify in what situations I would be comfortable in and witch situations I still need to grow personally to become comfortable.

Interpersonal skills, Communication skills, Task prioritization, Trustworthiness, Discipline, Determination, Dedication and Versatility are some of the examples I can describe about myself in consideration with the concept of Strengths thus, strengths are things you can do well and preform better than other people.

I believe that Objectives are direct efforts to obtain a goal. My objectives include, to obtain my bachelors of Law (LLB) qualification, move up in the company that I am currently employed in.

Your personal Negative attributes expose areas where you can better yourself, characteristics that are negative that I identify with is: Domineering, Possessive, Perfectionist, Paranoid, Impatient, Stingy and Stubborn.

With my PERSON, identified I reflect on the literal Persons that reinforced me in my self-discovery journey, because to grow as a person you need other people in your life. Those people build you up when you are lost and motivate you to become better every day.

The first part is of my belief system, I am a devoted Christian, I tried living a life without God, I tried being my own god. But I realised that I cannot survive without the Grace of Jesus. My faith provides me with the support and energy to be a better and to learn out of my mistakes. But most of all to forgive myself for the mistakes I made in my life. There is a Christian saying: when you walk the path of life with God, you will never walk alone. If you look back and only see one pair of tracks it is not because God has forsaken you, it is because He carried you when you weren’t strong enough to walk on your own.

The other people who have shaped me into the person that I am today are my Parents, my parent’s roles in my life is not, always to take the roles of parental figures, my Parents are my friends, my support structure and my comfort. My parents never wanted me to conform to the socially acceptable version of what a lady should and should not be. If I wanted to explore something, they tried to make it possible as far as their capabilities could allow. I know when the whole world is against me, my parents will always be by my side. My parent’s Christian faith and beliefs was the motivating factor that made me believe in God. I owe my life to my parents because I know without their support, I would not be alive today.

To say your parents, have an influence on you means that your forefathers also has an influence on you. My dads father died when I was grade 1 and that was the first experience I had with death. My Grandfather like my parents, always accepted me for who I was. For example: he had a vegetable garden. In that garden, he would put pieces of glass on the ground so snails could not get to his vegetables. I thought that the glass was diamonds and picked it up and thought we were rich. My grandfather was not mad but he encouraged me to be who I am. The effect my grandfather had on my life is still affecting me today nearly seventeen years later. As an adult having a role model who did not discourage you, a person who was always just there, meant a lot to me. Looking back at that relationship other than my parents, it was the only good ancestral relationship I had. My two other grandmothers do not care much for me, but my mother’s father made it known that he did not love me nor accept me for who I was.

Parents set the tone for their children’s childhood and I am glad that my parents decided to raise me differently then what they were. My Parents went out of their way to make my childhood better and to shield me from all life’s sadness, hardness and failures as best as they could. Part of the difference they made was to impart a love of language to me. My mother and I could read and explore books for hours on end.

We read Afrikaans books and English books, my mom made a point of it to take me to our local library and find the same book in Afrikaans and English for me. But I understood and connected more with the English version of the story. Thus, English dominated my life from a very young age. At school my favourite subjects were: Business studies and English. My heart grew so much fonder of English when I learnt the literature of English. That sparked the internal influence of language in my life

The languages I learnt through the years helped me with obtaining the tools to better identify people in means of who they are, where they come from and their cultural orientation. Through the years I have expanded the amount of languages I can speak including Zulu, French and Chinese. I have learned so much and connected more with people just by understanding their language, it is my opinion that this is the external influence languages in my life.

Because I am fully bilingual, it helped me to easily walk into the business world and help, accommodate and serve many different cultures. Breaking the language barrier has improved my work ethic and personal ethics in the best possible way. Learning different languages was never a struggle for me but a privilege, to study a different cultures language is not just the study of words but the study of culture. So, it has always been an interest of me to explore as many cultures as possible.

Seeing as in my past I did not have a relationship with God, I made mistakes. Mistakes that I since have rectified, so it is clear that my past did have an influence on who I am today because every day I move further away from the person that I was. My Negative attributes I work on everyday to be better and grow from those mistakes. As well as the negative influences that I encountered in my life. My past can be compared to a cocoon and today I’m breaking out of that shell and I am flourishing as a butterfly.

This is who I am some parts bad but mostly good and I feel that, that is the lesson that I can take from my story, is this. Life, culture and expectations are not parts of your life that are written in stone, to be happy it is up to you to go against the status quo to be who you are and to be proud of that. With that said, if I look in the mirror what do I see?

I see a strong female who has made mistakes in her life, who trusted the wrong people, who has been broken down. But I stood up and proclaimed to the world who I am, a happy induvial. I will keep fighting for who I am everyday till I die. I see a kind-hearted lady who can be stubborn and work herself to the bone for that what she wants in life. I see a funny and energy filled woman.

Thus, in this essay I discussed, who I am in relation to the concepts of society. Further I discussed the events and people who contributed to the moulding of the person that I am today and the dominion of language in my life and how it influenced me from an internal and external perspective. 

10 October 2022
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