How many people can answer this question with ease? I sat staring at my Google Docs for several minutes attempting to answer the question myself. The answer is both simple and complex.
I was born in Riverside, California, on June 5th in 1990. I have lived virtually my whole life in a small rural farming community in North Central Oklahoma. My parents are still together after 27 years of marriage, and I have a younger sibling who I hate and love in equal parts. I married an amazing man on March 13th or 2015, own my own home, and have 2 fish, 2 cats, and a dog.
This isn’t me, though. It is life events- and sure, life events and environment can impact who we become in life, but they are not our most defining features; they are not things that tell us who we are.
I identify with a lot of labels; labels are important to me for many reasons- some of which I spoke about quite a while ago concerning religious identifiers in particular. A few of the labels I identify closely with are Housewife, Feminist, Photographer, Model, Artist, Author, Liberal-Leaning Centrist, Vintage Enthusiast, Diviner, Pansexual, Wife, Polyamorous, Multiracial, and Blogger.
These labels very quickly and concisely convey surface information to others about what I do for a living, what political ideologies I align myself with, and more… But what they don’t do is convey who I am; my strengths and weaknesses, hopes and dreams, or other more complex information about me as a person.
I am actually quite shy and physically unfit, I suffer from mental illnesses and invisible physical illnesses, I have a short fuse and a hot temper thanks largely in part to my mother, I am impatient, and I curse like a sailor at sea… I am also a great cook, am dedicated and loyal, easily make friends, have great work ethic, and am passionate about what I believe in and enjoy. I hope, eventually, to become a rather successful Author, open my own Coffee / Tea and Cake shoppe or own my own small family farm, and settle down somewhere further into the American South with my Husband.
But yet this is still not who I am; it certainly is not the surface information conveyed by the labels that I identify with, but it is still not me. So then who am I?
The complex and yet terribly simple answer is that I am me; I am the total sum of all these parts coming together to create a final work. I am not defined by any one of them individually, and yet if any given one of them were to be removed from the equation I would not be exactly who I am at this moment.
I think a person is made up of a lot of things, and as soon as you start nailing it down you get nowhere. – Marilyn Monroe
So the question is… Who are you?