After getting quite the talking-to from my oldest sister last night, I decided to tackle another question. Several posts back I listed some that people felt were too hard to answer, and thought it might be easier to take them one at a time, answer them myself, and see if that primed the pump. Well, everyone’s right. These are hard.
So, can I say who I am, without saying what I do? I’m sure you’re all familiar with my point here. That every time you meet someone new, the first thing they want to know is what you do, as if that defines all that you are.
Okay, following the theme of the bawling out I got (that I am pondering, honestly), I will start by saying I’m probably closer to the thorn than the rose.
I’m someone more at peace around less.
I relate to trees more than to some relations.
It’s obviously tempting here to start listing things I like versus things I don’t. Things that make me happy, or sad, or mad. All of that is part of who I am, but they don’t take the question to a broader scene.
I am residual genetics filtered down through generations of Germans and Scots. I am descended from Montana pioneers. I could go on with history, but it makes me realize that I am trying to say who I am by saying where I came from, and that isn’t right either.
The labels I’ve talked about before start to surface: mom, writer, sister, wife, daughter…but those don’t say who I am. They only say what I am to others, and almost slide into defining self by what I do.
The easy way out right now is to simply write that I am the sum of all these things. That kind of feels like cheating. It also feels like a cliché and all writers hate clichés. Or should.
So whom am I? Someone who is loved. Someone who loves. Someone who also dislikes, and gets pissed, and cusses too much.
Oops. Slipping into defining by listing.
I am part of the earth, I gain balance from the places that feel like bone-deep parts of me: mountains, rivers, forests. I want to return to that earth some day, no coffin, no barriers, just part of the whole.
That sounds wonderful, but is rather dramatic. And there’s that pragmatic side of me that’s laughing at the dramatic side.
So who am I? I really have no idea. Someone who tried sandpaper to get rid of freckles so long ago that the majority of the people who remember that are gone. Someone who just realized those freckles have faded like those people.
Who are you? How do you define yourself? Please show me you would answer this.
‘Inside us there is something that has no name, that something is who we are.’ – Jose Saramago