Who I am

||Author: Cameron|

I am having a typical, I-don’t-know-what-to-write-right-now experience. Although there have been three other iterations of this, this time stems from having too many too big half-formed thoughts; actually upon reflection, I’m not sure that that this time is any different.

Here is a taste of what I am thinking about: —-What is the meaning of everything? I tried really hard not to go down this rabbit hole of asking endless questions again, but at this point, my inability to write anything else is kind of comical. I am feeling, being more than halfway through the program, that I may have set myself up poorly. I think that I am probably just going to leave with more questions than answers. Though I’m cognizant that everyone seems to say that this is a good thing, for me answers are never the true purpose. I am hoping that at some point, I might figure out something about anything. In the meantime though, would someone mind just helping me to figure out what to do with all of these questions?? And potentially, help me to figure out who I am and what to do with my future? (yeah, that one’s not an easy ask).

Okay, sorry, here I go again.

I have been thinking a lot about what Renee said in class a couple of days ago about how being somewhere that we are not comfortable, being in a new culture, we learn more about who we are than we ever will at home. This fall, potentially because of the imminent threat of graduation, and a future that I still have no immediate plan for, I had a lot of conversations about how to figure out who I am. Although I have acknowledged that the basis for this comes from a lack of self-assuredness in me and my future successes, I don’t inherently think that this is a bad thing.

The major questions fueling this inquiry are: How do I ever figure out who I am and have control over who I want to be, when everything in my environment, the people I am around, and every experience I have ever had, influences who I am today and will, in turn, shape me in the future? How am I reflected in how I interact with other people, as well as who I am when I am alone or around people for whom I am anonymous? As I’ve been told, questions are good right?? But at the same time, it will never be possible for me to know fully how all of these variables are interacting or the role that my subconscious is playing.

I have realized that despite these questions and lack of answers on self, the way Renee’s statement rings true for me is not in trying to come up with concrete identity markers (as I have tried and failed to do), but in beginning to recognize the patterns of who I am and the ways in which they continue to drive my identity when in old, new or unfamiliar situations. Her statement makes me think more about how to be assured in the values behind my actions and interactions rather than the varied outcomes and uncontrollable factors that impact them.

So, as I have begun to appreciate the presence of these patterns this past week, I ask: Who am I?

Who I am can be found in how I question the norms of thought and work at figuring out the ways in which I perpetuate them and might further be able to question that within myself.

Who I am is my gravitation towards the inquisitive, reflective conversation that makes me feel connected with people and which rejuvenates my soul.

It is in my desire to throw a moonlight dance party and then finding the most joy in stepping back to watch everyone smile and laugh among friends.

It is how at peace I feel when I am in the ocean or walking on the beach, and how much respect I have for her power and the support she is able to create for such diversity of life.

Who I am is in how, in a ten week program, as a Pari-pal, I am growing as a group member, and figuring out where I fit and how to play the most productive role I can.

Who I am is in worrying about my future and feeling selfish for wanting my passion for helping people to make me feel fulfilled.

It is in worrying that asking these questions uses up mental space that I could use striving towards other goals, more tangible goals.

And I think that who I am is in valuing connections I am making with people throughout the world, what I am learning from shared experiences, and the ways in which I work to create community in new places.

I am not sure how long I will hold all of these statements to be truths about myself. However, in this moment, these statements are providing me with the confidence required to be successful through these next weeks and the ability to know that what I am learning and how I am growing with this experience are pieces I will have and that will inform at least a part of who I am, for the rest of my life. And hopefully, with this process, I can use these discoveries to help guide me towards confidence in my ability to succeed.

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