“Who am I?” – The ultimate question?

Hello dear World 🙂

Maybe it’s something about my age, maybe it’s about this age we’re living in, but it seems that the single most important question to answer is the deceptively simple question of “Who am I?”. On the surface it’s an easy question to answer: I am my parents’ daughter, my sisters’ sister, my friends’ friend. This is the most literal answer to give, but implicitly we know that the question really means “What makes me me?” Here there are also layers to the question, and the more obvious, surface level is easier to answer: I am a student, a linguistics major, I am a cellist, I am a geek. But still that answer isn’t satisfactory. So we delve even deeper into the self-analysis and come up with more answers and often they have to do with our hopes and dreams and – the dreaded word – our passions.

For a long time I was almost afraid of answering the question “Who am I?” I think in part because my oldest sister had a phase of very vocally advocating against generalisations and putting people into boxes, and in turn being put into boxes. This somehow led me to believe that all definition of oneself is and must be bad. Then I realised, that what is bad about it is not the boxes, but the stereotypes that come with them: ‘If you’re a gay man you must be very effeminate’, ‘If you’re a christian you have to be a goody-goody’, ‘if you’re an introvert you’re antisocial’ etc. etc. Stereotypes are bad, and I in no way approve of stereotyping people, judging them based on one facet of their identity (or even judging them at all, but that’s another matter). What isn’t a bad thing is using these boxes for yourself, putting yourself in a box so to speak. I only recently found out that putting yourself in a box can be an exceptionally freeing experience. You can finally answer that ultimate question and say who you are. I struggled for a long time with my sexual identity because I didn’t know what box I fit. About a year ago I discovered this box labelled ‘Asexual’ and at the moment that’s where I feel most at home. Maybe I’m not 100% asexual, or I’m somewhere on a spectrum, but right now being able to label myself feels good.

It seems silly that such a non-defining part of your personality can stress you that much, but knowing who you are is apparently an important factor in feeling good about yourself. And that’s kind of the point: why is answering that question so important that it takes up so much time of my life? Are there not more important questions to answer? The answers to those questions, are quite honestly, ‘I don’t know’ and ‘very probably’. Maybe we need to know ourselves in order to get to know others on a deep level? Maybe we just feel that everybody has got their shit together and so we’d better do the same. Maybe being able to say something with confidence is just so much better than an uncertain ‘I don’t know’, even if we change our minds as often as we like. Maybe we think that if we know who we are we can better decide what to do with our lives?

I honestly don’t know the answer, and I probably never will, to any extent, so maybe I had better content myself with simply answering the question and not trying to figure out what the question means. I guess that is also who I am: a lazy girl who won’t put effort into something that really doesn’t matter all that much 😛

See you soon 😉

flissyolivia

 

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