"But who are you?" asked the Caterpillar
"Why, I hardly know, sir", replied Alice.
"I've changed so much since this morning, you see... "
"No I don't C, explain yourself", he demanded.
"I'm afraid I can't explain myself, you see, because I'm not myself, you know."
Have you ever caught yourself in that awkward situation where people, usually your elders, parents, job officials, potential employers ask you.. "so tell me about yourself child".. "uhm...uhm... well...when I grow up... I will (insert highly ambitious goals)" Impress the person. The storm has passed. phew! However, it is not that simple. Our entire lives, we have been trained to keep defining and redefining ourselves. We are in constant negotiations with ourselves, our surroundings, our peers and how we present ourselves on social media. Our self-definition is both the product of our environment on us and us on the environment, I really do not have the credentials to tell you which came first. For example, when you meet someone they seem to be on a quest to narrow down who you are.. you are thrown questions like "what school did you go to?".."what area did you live in?".. "were you family friends with the XY family?" ... "AHA!" "I know who you are.." And that's it! the quest is over, no one wants to know what you do on Sunday afternoons, they aren't bothered with how you color code your closet, and they don't care about why you twiddle with your hair when you're nervous - the unique details of your life are left undisclosed and unbothered, only for you to guard them close to your heart and regard them as as your own special qualities.
We often hide the things that seem weird to ourselves. Personally, I love dipping my McDonald's French Fry in my vanilla ice cream, but for the longest time, that was my secret because everyone around me thought it was "weird." Here, why don't I use an example from the field of photography, I think I may have a stronger grip of explaining this using photos and social media. The same way you never put that one picture that makes your nose look big, your little bit of fat showing over your jeans and how you crop random people in the background to make yourself the center of the photograph. We've all done that, so don't shy away! Anyways, I'm going to stop rambling on and on trying to explain myself, I'm sure you get the point. I guess my frustration is the act of trying to force yourself unto this cookie cutter that isn't necessarily customized for you. You aren't in any "type" or "category", the only category you are in is in Kingdom:Animalia, Class: Mammalia and Genus: Homo - we're all only human!
So be that human that you are and err. Err as much as you can since they will help you evolve and grow as a person.
Don't try to constantly define yourself, wear certain things to fit in a certain class, drink a certain coffee to blend in a certain culture and never do anything that makes you uncomfortable only for the sake of maintaining social appearances. I do not know who I am, you do not know you are and that is completely o k a y. We are ever evolving beings that are in daily struggles with life's curveballs. You aren't yourself, you are an agglomeration of all the people you've met in your life, the members you grew up with, the songs you've listened to, the foods you've devoured and the habits that have engrained themselves into you. So relax, take a step back and appreciate the contingency of being "you."
Mina is a multimedia journalist currently based in London, U.K.
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