To be, Not to be & Everything In Between
I’m writing a book that discusses the idea of self-image.
Self-image is what you call an abstract idea in psychology.
For as long as I can remember, I have simultaneously “known who I am” and have been “searching for myself”. That doesn’t seem to make much sense, but in reality, human beings are relentlessly contradictory. Our brains tend to think of things as this or that, instead of in a sense of fluidity.
But when you take away your preconceived notions that “this” or “that” is mutually exclusive, you’re left with the unfaltering contradiction of fluidity that lies within our humanity. This is why I can be sure of who I am and also question who I am every day. I know that I know who I am because authenticity has always been the highest virtue in my eyes. What I’m searching for isn’t myself, but the words to convey who I am, to myself and to the world.
As a writer, I feel like I’m always feverously searching for words. All day, every day. Even as they buzz around my head likes bees trapped in a hive with no way out, I’m still searching. When people ask me, “who are you?” or “what do you do?” my brain goes into a panic as the bees start searching for the most honest description of who I am and what I do, in that moment.
I’m writing a book to cure the frantic bee frenzy.
My dream of writing a book goes way back to childhood. As an avid reader, I always knew my greatest satisfaction would come from being able to hold a book in my hands and know that the words inside belonged to me. It doesn’t have to be on the best-sellers list. It just has to be me, it has to be authentic. But, a few years ago, a friend of mine looked at me and said, “You should write a book about self-image.” And that stuck with me. Just like that, I knew that would be my first venture into authorship.
Because, even though I stress and struggle to describe myself to others, or god forbid have to write a bio for myself to be displayed on a website or along with some of my published work, it’s clear to those around me that I do in fact KNOW who I am, even if I can’t always put it into words. I’ve written dozens of bios for others. It’s my job to come up with content on any given subject. But titling that content — SO STRESSFUL! (Please forgive any and all of my titles.) It’s not that I can’t find words. It’s that I can’t find the right words.
Some people might say I’m a perfectionist (which I’m not necessarily arguing against) but I see my inability to define myself as a fear of being untruthful and ingenuine, or worst of all, not entirely understood. (Okay, yes, very clear signs of a perfectionist.) I can list an army of labels that would honestly describe me.
But those labels don’t really show you who I am. Nor do your labels define who you are. Labels put us into boxes. So, how do you view yourself outside of those boxes? That’s what I’m trying to figure out. Because I need this book more than anyone and that’s precisely why I’m writing it. It’s about time I knew how to describe the “me” that I’ve known my whole life.
I’m not diving into the inner psychology of self-image so that I can adequately explain to others who I am when they ask. Let’s be real, the majority of the time someone asks you a question they don’t even listen to the answer. I’m jumping down the rabbit hole because, regardless of what words or labels I actually use to define myself in those conversations, I don’t like the swarm of uncertainty that stings me in those moments.
Your relationship with yourself is purely human and it’s ever-evolving.
You’re welcome to explore this with me as I will be posting about my progress and my findings. I also look forward to hearing about your personal experiences and views on self-image.
Originally published at Giuliana Grossi.