happy monday, loves. i hope your easter weekend was filled with hope and joy, in spite of the everything going on right now.
today i want to write about an idea i’ve been thinking about a lot over the past few months. i think everyone encounters this one question at some point in their lives and i find it interesting how people answer this question so confidently sometimes.
who are you?
i think the most logical response to this question is to say your name. our names seems to carry a lot of weight in choosing our sense of identity. people change their names if they feel as if some other name expresses their identity better. but i feel that one’s name really doesn’t have that much to do with who people truly are.
i was raised in a religious household, so all throughout my childhood i was exposed to this idea that people have no identity outside of god. that god becomes definition once you accept him, and therefore, you can be friends with god because you’re…sorta like him. this is another idea i don’t really want to focus on, although i personally believe it does hold value.
another thing that seems to happen a lot is attaching nouns to ourselves. “i’m a teacher, i’m a writer. i’m an atheist, i’m a christian. i’m a republican, i’m a democrat.” there are pre-conceived ideas that come with each of these statements- ideas that in many cases, are harmful and cause people to be misconstrued.
i don’t believe your existence as a human being can ever be defined in it’s entirety. no matter how many words you use to describe who you are, there is always something wonderful and distinctive and irrepressible that is a part of you and can never described.
so much of identity’s value is placed in trying to find specific things that define you. this is such a twisted idea- that you must find words to capture the miracle of your existence -because the simple fact that you are alive is perfectly indescribable.
you are entirely up to you. don’t put yourself in a box.
you’re not just another file folder in the cabinet that has a limited amount of space for labeling.
this idea that you literally cannot be defined is oddly freeing, because it explains why one might act differently in certain situations, or might change when different things come across their path. when someone says you are something, it’s wonderfully liberating to know that they can’t know who you are.
my belief is that you and i are everything. i think everyone holds pieces of every characteristic, that we are literally pieces of the entire universe. this idea of opposites, that if you’re this, then you can’t be that, is damaging.
expression is everything. you define yourself, and truthfully, no one else can.
one of my favorite quotes expresses this idea really well. in letters to a young poet, rilke writes: “think… of the world you carry within you.”
you literally carry a world inside you. how could your identity ever be expressed with words alone?
none of this is meant to say that you can’t strive to be something. you have the choice to be who you are, and that choice is completely up to you. but trying to fit yourself in a box isn’t possible, and i believe society promotes some dangerous ideas when it comes to finding the essence of who you are.
i hope all of you are staying well, both physically and emotionally. take care of yourselves and have a wonderful week. 💛