Who I am
I am. Two words that in essence are unambiguous. They are a declaration of strength, of faith and self-worth. We don’t often see them like this, on their own. Most of the time we like to add something to them. A name, a profession or a trait. Something that adds meaning to who the “I” is. Sometimes you yourself have chosen the word that follows, sometimes that word is determined by someone else. Either way, are the words real? Or are they an illusion?
It starts at our birth, or even before that, when our parents are anxious to know who we are. It’s the first word that is added to us; you’re a boy or you’re a girl. Very soon it is followed by your first name and subsequently your family name; how are you going to be called from now on and to which family do you belong.
The religion you grow up with, your education level, your environment, the country you live in, which continent you grow up. These are all things that automatically become part of your world and who you are going to be.
People will try to label you with their words. Whether they come from situations they experienced with you or not. Words formed by their perception of the world and their own beliefs.
And then there are the words you collect throughout your life. Formed by what you’ve been through and you’ve convinced yourself that this is what you are. And this is what it is.
Piece by piece you’ve gathered these words and they now make up your world. They make up your reality. And you believe that this is who you should be, clearly marked by boundaries.
Who I am
I’ve been called many things in my life. I am a woman. I am Linda. I am raised in the eastern part of this country. I am a resident of a geographically very small part of this huge globe. I am raised with the saying ‘just be normal, that’s crazy enough’.
Others loved to label me with words like; direct, headstrong, intense and introvert.
Throughout my life I learned that there are other expressions like; honest, independent, intuitive and sensitive.
For a long time I’ve looked at this collection of words as my world, my reality. And within the limitations of these words I ventured out to find my possibilities.
But is this my reality? I keep wondering if it is. Is this what it is?
I find that my world is much bigger than the words I’ve given myself or with which others have labelled me. That there are more words and that the boundaries I say to be a reality, are an illusion. The world is so much bigger and this, is only the beginning.
I noticed this when I met him and he asked me who I was. I repeated the words that I’d known as my reality for so long. He said: “Why do you call yourself that way? You’re a writer, you are a storyteller.” He called me by my true name, and it made all the difference.
Copyright picture: Katherine Center ~ The Body Project