Who Am I?
What is my purpose? Where does the I in me exist? When will I cease to exist? Why do I even matter?
“I am lucky to be what I am!
Thank goodness I’m not just a clam or ham or a dirty jar of sour gooseberry jam!
I am what I am.
That’s a great thing to be.”
― Dr. Seuss
I am unimportant and insignificant, and I am one of the millions of beings on this planet.
At the same time, I am special and unique, and there will only ever be one of me. I have a voice, although that voice may hardly ever be heard amongst all the other voices.
Why do I matter?
Why does it even matter to figure out WHO I am?
I am full of doubt.
My role. My purpose. My future. My past. My decisions.
Who am I?
I am a mother. I raised four children. I left their father. I did so for my good reasons. I have accepted, live with those reasons and are at peace with them. I did the best I could to raise my children. I gave my all even when I had enough energy barely in me to look after myself. I still gave all I had and then some. I did my best. I am a mother.
I am a nana. I have one grandson who was born recently. I am new to the role. I still am feeling my way and defining what it means for me, for him, and my daughter. I am filled with pleasure when I think of him. He brings me joy. I love being a nana.
I look forward to all this role will bring me. Being a nana is a massive part of my future. It brings me hope and reason for living and gives meaning to my life.
I look forward to future grandchildren and discovering who they might become, and how I may have a role in supporting them and their parents, in whatever way I can. If I never had grandchildren, I would still be me. I am a nana.
I am a survivor. I survived sexual abuse by my grandfather, a stranger in a tennis court when I was 9 years old, and an elder in a church during my teen years. I do not hang my head in shame. I survived it. I lived. I was molded and shaped by my past. But I am NOT my past. I am me. These assaults on the core of ‘who I am’ at times when I was still forming ‘who I am’ shaped me. But they do not define me. They are part of who I am. But they are not wholly ME.
Being a survivor of sexual abuse has given me empathy and drive to speak up and be a voice for change, not only for myself, but for others who have not yet found their voice, who are still afraid, and who do not believe they even deserve to speak. I am an abuse survivor.
I am an ex Jehovah’s Witnesses. I survived nearly 35 years being indoctrinated in that religion. I did not choose it. I was indoctrinated as a child and believed and accepted it with my whole heart for half of my life. Having followed what many believe is a cult-like religion and then left I have unique insights into the role of fear, brainwashing and the damage that following an authoritarian and paternalistic religion can do to a person. I am not permanently damaged by it.
I was changed by it. It is “part” of who I am. It shaped me. But its influence on the beginning of my life and my early adulthood is not forever stamped on me. It is only a part of my story. Of who I am. I am not an ex-anything forever. I left. End of story and the beginning of another. I am not against “it” now I am out. But, I am now “for” freedom from fear and making decisions out of love instead of blind obedience and following rules of man. I stand for humanity. I am an ex Jehovah’s Witness.
I am a wife. It is a large part of who I am, how I identify and what gives meaning to my life. But if I was no longer “a wife” I would still be me. I am the person inside, who is “the wife” who can be intimate, who chooses to give and receive love, and who loves being a life partner to another and share all that entails. Being a wife brings untold joy and happiness to my life. This role of mine. I chose it. It is part of me. But it is not all who I AM. I am a wife.
I am a friend. I can count on one hand those who truly “know” me. Those whom I have allowed to really know me. Whom I have shared the core of me, what is important to me, what I am scared of and what I love. I value my friendships. They are like pearls in my life. They add so much. I love being a friend, showing appreciation, doing acts of kindness, acknowledging people and doing things just “because” with no expectation of repayment or anything in return. I love my friends, but being a friend to them is only part of who I am. I have been without friends at times in my life. And I am still me. I am a friend.
I am creative, an artist. I only recently discovered painting, but I have written all my life. In my early years, it was in secret, and I would write down my thoughts and write down stories as a child, then tear them up and throw them away so no one could “see” what I was thinking and feeling. I did not like feeling exposed. Hiding and being unnoticed was important to me. Writing things down was a way for me as a child to feel real. To know there was a “real me” hiding inside that even though nobody else saw, meant I existed. Painting and writing are ways for me to express myself emotionally and to connect through my work and words with others even if I am unaware we have connected. There have been times in my life where I have not written and have not painted but I am still “me”. Being a writer is a huge part of who I am and how I identify myself. It is one of the things in life that I truly LOVE and that motivates me, brings meaning and purpose to my existence and contributes to my sense of self. It nurtures my sense of self. I am a writer. I am an artist.
I am full of contradictions.
- I am a believer and I doubt. I seek and ask more questions, I accept and then reject answers. I feel sure of some things in life, then I am wracked with insecurity.
- I long to believe in a God that exists somewhere “out there” who loves me and accepts me for who I am, and who won’t hurt me if I don’t figure it all out. I reject the notion of a loving personalized God as a construct of culture and man. I embrace science and evolution.
- I enjoy reading about natural therapies and medicines and ancient cultures and traditions and find myself drawn to their stories and simpler although difficult ways of life, I also love all the luxuries of modern day life.
- I love the freedom that no longer being bound by the rules of a man-made religion but at the same time I miss the “surety” of absolute belief and having answers to everything.
- I have forgiven myself for not being able to be everything I wanted to be as a mother to my children, for not being self-compassionate towards myself, for past mistakes that I regret. Forgiving myself doesn’t happen just once, it keeps coming up, and it is something I need to keep doing. But I also keep grappling with guilt, and I keep seeking absolution from within and without.
I am the “me” that watches and tries to monitor and manage the inner critic in my brain who starts on me most days. I watch her. I allow her a seat in the car. But I try and get her to exist as a “mumble” in the background. She is not allowed in the driver’s seat. I watch this critic. I DO. I am the “me” that watches this part of my brain berating me.
“What a liberation to realize that the ‘voice in my head’ is not who I am. ‘Who am I, then?’ The one who sees that” ~ Eckhart Tolle
I can feel myself in there.
Inside of me.
Watching. Listening. Seeing the contradictions, and my struggle over the paradoxes and my attempts to understand the whys, wherefores, whats, hows, and whens of life.
I am that ME.
That part of me that is internal.
Am I energy? Am I my body? Am I my mind? (but, I cannot be, as I observe the contradictions of my mind?) If my body sleeps am I still me? Yes. Even when I dream? Yes.
Do I have to be conscious to still be me? No. People unconscious in a hospital before they wake up are still them. They do not cease to be who they are. They exist in the unconscious and dream realms before they become conscious.
So I am Me.
The silent watcher.
“As the waves are part of the sea,
And the sea is all of the waves,
So I am part of God
And God is all of me (and everything else)”