Identity & Purpose

One Asian American’s Search For Identity

Brandon C Ricks

May 06, 2021 | 3 minute read

The recent violence and attacks on Asian Americans across the United States during the COVID pandemic have shocked and saddened people of varying ethnicities and backgrounds. It’s hard to fathom the desire to discriminate against and physically assault a person based on their ethnicity or physical appearance. It’s heartbreaking to watch people drowning in pain, pouring it out on others. This cycle of victimizing one another has to end. The difficult question is, how can each one of us make an impact?

One way for us to affect change is to listen to and understand people from different backgrounds than ourselves. If we take the time to hear someone else’s story, we gain a better understanding of their beliefs and the life experiences that helped shape their identity. We may even realize that we have a lot more in common with each other than we think. Jason Lee’s story is a perfect example of how a person’s self-image can determine their decision making, thought processes, and emotional well being. Everyone has an image of their ideal self and we take actions big and small to inch forward (and backwards) toward the person we think we should be. But what happens when we reach the place we thought we wanted to be and we’re still not happy?

“I was happy but at the same time I was empty... Something is wrong. It shouldn’t be this way” - Jason Lee

Jason did everything he possibly could to reach the heights of success in whatever he pursued but after acquiring the very things he thought would bring him happiness, he found himself empty. In his White Chair Film he states, “My performance was never good enough”. I can personally relate to this feeling. I’ve had many times in my life where I was hell-bent on achieving a desired goal and after scratching, scraping, and grinding my way to the finish line I found the outcome was far less glorious than what I had envisioned.  Have you ever had that experience?

Oftentimes in life our pursuit of happiness and fulfillment lead us to what seem like endless roadblocks and dead ends. We set ambitious goals for ourselves based on our perception of what we believe “success” should be, and we strive earnestly to hit each milestone and check off as many success boxes as we possibly can. Our identities become shrouded in a fog of hollow accomplishments. But we are more than the things we do, the jobs we hold, or the success we achieve. 

A part of the journey of finding our true identity is taking the time to discover who we are aside from the image we create for ourselves. We have to look outside ourselves to find ourselves. People choose to do this in a variety of different ways but what I have found is that the best answers come from the God who created us and formed us into being. He has an uncanny insight into who we are and how we’re wired. Jason Lee found this to be true as well. In his greatest time of confusion he cried out saying, “God is this how you see me? Are you proud of me?” Such a heartfelt question to ask God isn’t it? “Are you proud of me?” I think deep down we all want to feel like someone is proud of us. We want to feel appreciated and accepted. In fact, we shape our identities around the people and communities where we feel the greatest sense of camaraderie. But in the end we won’t be able to find our true self apart from the God who made us. He knows us more intimately than we could ever know ourselves, and he has the answers to the questions we seek.

Jason’s story reveals what we all go through. The common struggle each of us face everyday no matter our race, nationality or gender. We are all searching for a sense of significance and belonging in this confusing and frantic world. It would do us good to be more appreciative of our similarities and humble enough to respect our differences. As we look to God, let us also look to each other for fellowship and points of relation. One thing we all have in common is the need for a strong and intimate relationship with God. If we choose to seek him, we’ll learn more about ourselves and we’ll begin to understand each other a whole lot better.

Brandon C Ricks

Brandon C Ricks

Brandon is an Executive Producer and Creative Strategist living in Dallas, TX. He has spent his career developing effective strategies for creative and entertainment based projects. Brandon specializes in leading creative concept development, strategic planning, and project execution. He has a knack for melding creative ideas with strategic processes in order to bring creative ideas into fruition. He has been responsible for creating marketing activations at various music festivals and concerts, leading production in music and video projects, creating marketing strategies for film releases, and assisting creative startups with project execution.

Search for what you’d like to read about