|What's The Haps
||[Sep. 25th, 2008|03:28 am]
Kelly J. Cooper
I'm going to my 20-year high school reunion.
It's kind of freaking me out.
In news that is both RELATED and UNRELATED, for the past few years I've been hearing a voice asking me "Who are you?"
It's not the-neighbor-dog-is-Satan kind of a voice, just the back of my brain nudging me. Sometimes it sounds like the caterpillar...
The Caterpillar and Alice looked at each other for some time in silence: at last the Caterpillar took the hookah out of its mouth, and addressed her in a languid, sleepy voice.Sometimes it's a drill sergeant, loud and demanding. Sometimes it's a quiet, but persistent pressure.
`Who are YOU?' said the Caterpillar.
I was sitting in my car, I think, stuck in traffic when I realized (as documented here) that the question isn't "Who are you?" The question is, "Who do you believe yourself to be?"
The question to me, that is. The question to consider.
Because I am me, of course. That's self-evident. But there are large areas where my self-definition is pretty fuzzy, especially since the lay-off. In my life, I have been the Daughter, the Granddaughter, the Niece, an Outcast, the Weird Kid, an Ugly Girl, the Babysitter, a Sandwich Maker, a Cheese Mixer, a Rugged Individualist, the Waif, the Fire hose, the Temperance tarot card, a Student, the Artist (and the Artiste), an Office Worker, a Writer, the Security Expert, the Adviser to the National Security Council on all things Internet, a Rogue, an Editor, the Neuron in Chief of the Ranch of the Apocalypse, a Poet, a Nerd, the Fat Girl, Speaker to Mundanes, that Bitch, the Girlfriend, the Friend, the Best Friend, the Slob, a Failure, a Debtor, the Mail Order Maven, a Depressed Person, the Temp Worker, a Comic Store Clerk, an IT Contractor, a Whiner, the Sleeper.
This is not a question that I would put to YOU. It's for me to wrestle. Who do I believe myself to be? Who the hell am I?
Many things resonate, but I keep coming back to that oft-quoted Marianne Williamson piece, "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure." I'd like to believe that. But instead, I find myself believing that all the things I've tried, whether I've succeeded, failed, learned, or just scared the crap out of myself, all those things that encompass my life... they don't add up to very much.
But I'm still working on it. I believe myself to be a friend, a good person, a creative person with some talent, a smart-ass. I don't always succeed in being any of those things (I recently failed to maintain a friendship because I couldn't take it anymore; and some friends from High School appear to be ignoring my attempts to reach out). I'm still trying, though.
[Heh. Side-note: one of my early (read: Bad) therapy experiences, my therapist told me to completely cut the word "try" out of my vocabulary. Like Yoda, she advised me to either do things or don't, and quit using "try" as a wiggle word to give myself room. This may be good advice, but not for the second session. Needless to say, we didn't make it past four or five sessions.]
Yeah. That's what I'm working on. I might get to a place where a fuzzy self-definition is OK, or I might get things more solidified. I came up with "Writer, Editor, Poet, Nerd" once, a couple years ago when asked by an artist what I did. That sounds really good, but doesn't quite cover all that I want to be or consider myself to be.