Last week I gave the keynote speech at Sidcot School’s Peace Festival. It was a double honour, because it was also the launch of the James O’Connell Peace Field. Named after my Dad, the field is full of wild flowers and several yurts, which are spaces for meditation, reflection, doing a bit of homework, as well as being part of the Peace and Global Studies Centre that Dad inspired.
My brother, Pat O’Connell, said a few words about Dad, and my mum, Rosemary O’Connell, cut the ribbon.
The day was about identity and I talked about how we find our identity as we’re growing up (or even as grown ups!). Identity, I believe, is formed by where you come from, who you love and who loves you, but you can also shape it yourself. Your origins do not have to be your destiny. And as you grow and change, your identity changes too.
My two favourite quotes from the talk are by Coco Channel:
A girl should be two things: who and what she wants.
…and Dr Seuss:
Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.
What do you think forms and shapes your identity?