Who Am I?

A Reflection of All the People and Places I Love

Photo by Luca J on Unsplash

If you really get to know me, you might find that I am a reflection of all the things and people I love and care about.

Each trait that defines me became a constant part of my personality by repetition. Every thought I think, every friend I get to know and build a stronger relationship with, every family member I have shared most or all of my life with, some now close up and some from a distance…all these things contribute to the composite that is me.

Likewise, those things I know are foreign to my authentic self, things I cannot wrap my mind or my spirit around, are a part of this complex human being.

I must be true to all these things.

I believe life shapes us by the people, places, and events of all the years of our lives. This shaping comes in the form of personality characteristics, habits, and lifestyles that become part of our authentic selves.

Personality Characteristics

Let me say outright that I have a complicated relationship with this complex person I spend every second of my life with…my authentic self. I have come to know her better…but not fully. It is a matter of constant discovery.

I know that she is separate from my ego self, so there are some heated conflicts from time to time.

My ego self worries a lot, while my authentic self meditates about the problems and tries to offer reassurance. It often takes a while for the reassurance to sink in, but it usually does, in time.

Ego-me gets offended at times and might be caught holding a grudge or just feeling uneasy about the future. Later on, I hear my authentic self telling me to relax and let go of the thing that upsets me, because it is not worth trading my peace for!

Through it all, every day of my life so far and everything that has shaped and molded me to this person I am today, I have learned some things about myself I can share with you.


My love of learning began with a seed planted by my Mother (Edith Baucom Wilson) when I was a very young child. Mom had to leave school after her 6th grade year, which took place in the 1930s during the Great Depression.

The picture of my Mom above is from my family’s vintage photo collection.

She continued her education on her own by reading voraciously for the rest of her life. I’m not sure there was a single day that went by without Mom carving out at least a little bit of time to sit down and read a book, either alone or to us children.

So began my love affair with WORDS!

Reading and writing are almost as vital to me as eating and drinking.

Mom had two older siblings and two younger ones. Her Mother died when my Mom was 4 years old, and her Dad was working a lot as a building contractor; so she and the two younger children lived with his parents (their paternal grandparents).

She never got over not being able to finish school and always emphasized to me and my brothers how important it was to learn all we could and make good grades in school.

Her advice found fertile ground in my mind, and to this day, I cannot stop doing research, reading, and contemplating what I learn. I am forever grateful to Mom for encouraging me in my education.


Conflict between me and anyone I love is beyond disturbing to me. With life’s complexities, conflict is sometimes unavoidable.

Throughout the years, I have developed a habit of yielding, compromising, or being compliant in order to keep the peace with someone I care about. Since a compliant, submissive spirit has come naturally to me in my earliest years and has been often cultivated by myself and others, it became almost set in stone.

Finally, I realized that all things must be kept in balance in order to have a healthy life mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. I have worked toward balancing the caring, yielding part of myself with the need, at times, to take a stand for myself and others in certain situations.

Taking a stand is still hard for me. Being diplomatic comes much more naturally. Each time I take a stand, I am letting my authentic self shine through.

I have had friends that could not get along with each other, but I found that I could get along with each of them and maintain a healthy relationship without taking sides, sometimes even smoothing over strained feelings between them.


Anyone who is an empath can confirm that it is not easy being one.

It means having a heightened sense of what another person or group of people deals with and how they feel.

It often means carrying the burdens of others along with your own, which can be overwhelming at times. I wrote a poem entitled, ‘The Color of Empathy’, which is in my Medium Profile for anyone to read.

The happy, flip side of empathy is that an empath can rejoice with a person who is happy and can truly celebrate life’s good times with them.

Overall, it can cause a great deal of fatigue and stress, so sometimes they need to withdraw and refresh their minds to keep going for themselves and those they love. This has been especially true during the past two years as the pandemic has settled over us all like a dark cloud.

My Most Important Job

I am a Mother, Grandmother, Great-Grandmother, Sister, Aunt, Cousin, Niece, and friend.

My children and grands are the crowning glory of my life. They are a part of me that will live on after my time on earth is over. More than anything in the world, I wish love, happiness, good health (physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally), peace of mind, and prosperity for them all.

I love you!

Originally published at https://vocal.media.




Born and raised in Piedmont NC, I learned to love reading and writing early. Now retired, returning to those two passions. Medium has now been added to Vocal.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

How To Deal With the Uncertainty of Life? — Sadhguru

How To Deal With the Uncertainty of Life? — Sadhguru

The most effective method to have more trust in yourself

5 Impactful Proverbs That Will Restore Your Motivation

Do Not Read, But Give This To Your High Schooler To Read

A Glimpse of Me, A Cup of Me

How I begin My 2019

Why Don’t You Love Yourself A Little?

2021 Goals: Reframing a crisis

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Linda Rivenbark

Linda Rivenbark

Born and raised in Piedmont NC, I learned to love reading and writing early. Now retired, returning to those two passions. Medium has now been added to Vocal.

More from Medium

3 Hitomi Mochizuki Videos You Need to Watch

We were given time to stand and stare

A photo of the Welch poet William Henry Davies (1871–1941)

Falling for La Dolce Vita In Verona (Letters Before Bali)

Exploring Beer: A Brief History, and How to Use It in Your Cooking