Who am I?
It seems like an easy question, when in reality it’s anything but.
People from all walks of life, regardless of social status or gender, struggle with reconciling who they are with who they feel they are supposed to be. It is in this discrepancy that many internal conflicts begin.
‘Who am I?’ is not asking ‘who am I supposed to be?’, ‘who am I expected to be?’, or even ‘who do I need to be?’. and that may be at the root of why this simplest of questions can be so frustratingly difficult to answer. Because in order to answer, we have to be still and honest with ourselves, something that doesn’t come easily or naturally to most of us.
Men are raised with the understanding that they should be strong at all costs, but the definition of strong has been so terribly warped by society that we don’t know what it means. Calling someone a ‘pussy’ is intended to imply weakness, and yet the vagina is one of the strongest and most resilient parts of a human body. Saying that someone ‘has balls’ is meant to imply their stamina and virility, when in reality the testes are vulnerable and easily hurt. Young men are taught that to cry or turn the other cheek is a sign of weakness, leaving the pain of pent up emotions to find their way out of the body in more harmful ways.
Women are taught that their purpose is to look, sound, and act in ways that will attract men and not intimidate them. They learn through a never-ending barrage of media images that who they are isn’t ever going to measure up, and that what is important is who they should be.
Who am I? I am a perfectly imperfect mix of the imprints made on my life by centuries of genetics, education, relationships and traumas that resulted in me. I strive to not be controlled by the labels imposed on me by a society that has a vested interest in me fitting a mold. I am a man who cries. I am a man who supported and defended his country and was then punished for being honest about who I am. I am a human existing on this planet, at this time, with these people.
I am exactly who I am supposed to be in this moment. I am the result of my successes and my failures and every attempt in between. I am a human with no desire to be who I was yesterday or to remain who I am tomorrow.
One of the most powerful transformations that can take place in our lives is when we finally understand and love who we are, warts and all. It is then that we forgive ourselves and grant permission to become who we want to be.
Never forget that I love you, and that excludes no one.