Literacy Narrative

Jimmy Nguyen

Professor Perry



I’ve always brushed off the idea of identity. Whenever identity would be discussed, I never took it seriously. “Identity is what makes you who you are”, was the simple answer I would rely on. It just took me a really long time to even comprehend how important that sentence I kept on repeating was. I find it hard to write about identity when your identity is always changing and evolving. Identity is such a fragile and timely topic. Some people still don’t know their identity and have been alive longer than me. As an 18 year old Asian American, I feel like I’ve only started to discover my identity.  However, I’ve always embraced the effects of literacy whether it was good or bad. 

Ever since I was a child, I was always by myself because I’ve always been quiet and I used to be really shy. I knew that I had the ability to converse with others but I always chose not to unless it was necessary. But if I did, I could talk about whatever you want, but as soon as it came to feelings, I was as silent as a mouse. With all the time I spent alone, I feel self-taught on life. I was never alone, I just preferred being alone. By being with myself for so long, I feel as if I matured quicker than some of my peers. With the use of my language and observations and the people around me, I learned many life lessons and have gone through experiences which have helped me discover my identity. 

An important extension of identity are your passions. It’s important to have passions because it gives you another reason to be happy and another reason to live for. I was always passionate about video games. Video games will always hold a special place in my heart because it took me out of my shell and opened me up to speaking to others. I couldn’t wait to come home everyday after school to get on the game and homework was never a thought in my head. Playing video games and talking about them helped me jumpstart my use of literacy and language. It gave me enough courage to speak to others and how to speak to others. In more recent years, I have found my love for shoes. Once, I start talking about shoes, you won’t hear the end of it. However, my passion for shoes helped me propel in society. Buying and selling shoes taught me how to talk to people in the real world, not just kids from my school and neighborhood. I’ve met other people in the sneaker community who have taught me things I still recite to today in regards to both shoes and life. I’ve seen people fight over shoes, argue over who was on line first, and even get robbed over shoes. I learned body language, facial expressions, how different people express different emotions, simply through my passion for shoes. Speaking with retail associates, clientele that want to purchase and random people while waiting in line made me confident in my word and language. Through my love for shoes, I discovered parts of my identity. It showed me how to protect myself, how to protect the people around me, and how to make financial goals for myself. But most importantly, it gave me the ability to comfortably communicate with others. 

Even with my ability to converse with others, I’ve always kept my circle small. I learned very early that your friends reflect who you are. Since then, I know who my friends and acquaintances are. With my friends, I was always able to be myself around them. I knew I could rely on them because I knew them for so long. Despite knowing my closest friends for so long, I still found it difficult to express myself to my friends. Some things were just too difficult to say or I just felt like it could be kept private. I didn’t appreciate the time I had with my friends, until that time with them was gone. We all got busy with school and work and our schedules never align. I reflected on how much we grew together and the things we’ve learned. The different people we’ve interacted with and the literacy of other people that we’ve come across while expanding our identity and language. They taught me how to open up more and try new experiences. I learned the importance of loyalty and how to be comfortable with my identity. Eventually, I became eager to tell them how much appreciation and love I have for them.

My preference of always being alone and private always raised a question in mind. I wondered if I was weird for being that way. People would call me nonchalant and think that I don’t care about anything for how I act. I used to accept the negative energy of the judgment of other people. After having deep conversations with my closest friends, I discovered that it was part of my identity. I have and always will prefer to be a private person and I gained the maturity to understand that it isn’t weird. I do care and love about the people closest to me. I just need to muster up the words to say how much I do, which is something I’m still trying to master. However, I’m no longer hesitant to say how I feel. I try to spread positivity and good energy because that is part of my identity. Through my literacy, I’ve learned that I love to help people and that I’m more comfortable code switching from private and social. 

Simply, I am a little bit of everyone I have ever met. From the sneakerheads to my family and friends and from myself, I am the living part of my “literacy”. What you think about daily, what you’re passionate about, the people that you talk to, the way you speak to yourself and to others, it all matters. Doing things alone and learning to be by myself with the help of my language and literacy made me acknowledge the importance of identity. “Identity is what makes you who you are.”