Who I am

who-am-iI tend to make old mistakes, again and again. Sometimes I think it’s because they are less scary than making new ones. One of them is trying to find out ‘who I am’.

I try to blend in with the culture I blame for my twisted thoughts, my presumptions, my obsessions. Like a chameleon I change my dress sense every time I change environment; nonchalant, hippie, sexy, feminine, outdoorsy, there is no end. And none of them are me, yet all of them are. Who am I? How do I dress/behave/feel to express my original self? Who even cares besides me?

I have my coffees in cafes that allow my laptop as a canvas for my futile attempts to poetry and thought trains that go in circles. No one really needs to read my verbal excretions, but god I do need to get it out of my system. But when I try to be a writer, a poet I fail. ‘what would I have to do, what should the quality be for me to BE this thing?’ When can I honestly say to people ‘yes, I write’. The question itself castrates me, and everything I’m trying to verbalise freezes into other people’s words and writing styles. I get stuck in writing the thing I think you might want to read. I get stuck in trying to portray myself as smart, clever, sympathetic, strong, optimistic, all-knowing.

I’ve had many jobs and job-titles, have moved around in different cities, different countries and never found myself in any of them. I think I wanted to be something/someone but could never find the right setting to become that person. I looked for other settings, without really knowing what it was that I wanted to be. ‘If If find the right setting, will I then automatically and finally become ‘me’?’

So there is the old questions: ‘Who am I, who do I want to be?’. And I’m growing to dislike this question because the answer is always going to be crap. I don’t want to be a manager or an employee of the month,  not a lady or a rebel, not a servant or a mistress, not promiscuous or a saint. And at the same time I want to be all of these things every now and then. But why should I aspire to be things I can define myself by with just one word?

If I NEED to define myself as something, in order for me to know how I am supposed to behave, what does this mean if I become sick, or poor or depressed. If this means that I can only be one or two things at a time (and include the appropriate behaviour) it could then mean that my whole being could be defined as sick, poor or depressed. I think this would not be helpful in any way.  I think a better alternative to this would be to perceive myself as a (complex, ever-developing, emotional) person and maybe suffer from these things every now and then.

If I feel like I need to behave a certain way because I decided that this definition is ‘me’, I am restricting myself and my creativity starves. It means I can never write a thought unless it makes for good reading. It means I cannot behave in a way that is going to provoke change. Defining myself as something pacifies me and makes me feel that I have no choice but to behave as expected.

Maybe I’m already who I want to be, who I wanted to grow up as. I’m not a manager, or employee of the month, not a lady, a rebel, a servant or mistress, promiscuous or a saint. I’m not even a writer. Maybe I am merely capable of being these things with different amounts of success and satisfaction when I choose to be. Maybe I should stop searching for who or what I am and explore the things I’m capable of and enjoy being capable of. The things that are helpful, satisfying, and make me feel happy with what I’m doing. The most important thing about the outcome of my actions should be that it is helpful for me and my place in the world (incl. relationships, health etc) and not about whether I fit the definition I was trying to become.

My dad died 4 years ago today. I think he was searching his entire life for who he was or what he was supposed to be, and consequently became a person who did not enjoy his life, family and job. I think he only found the non-importance of this question, and started searching for the things that made him feel proud of his capabilities after we stopped speaking to each other almost 7 years ago. I think this year is the first time I can admit that I am glad that he did realise this eventually.

And I am sad that I missed it.

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Happiness…


If the last post was about depression, this one can be about happiness. I’ve started to think that for me happiness is not a permanent state of mind, but an emotion, like anger, sadness or annoyance. It’s passing, and that’s fine, I can actively try to get myself a bit of happiness by climbing a hill, cuddle or go for a wild swim. I won’t feel happy every time I do it but the chances are definitely a lot bigger than when I go to Tesco’s, sit in a doctor’s office or stand in line at a Starbucks (not so much because of the line, but because it’s Starbucks and I actually like coffee).

And sometimes they hit me by surprise, when seeing a little girl playing with a puppy, getting caught in an epic downpour, or sitting on the veranda at 7 in the morning with a particularly well made coffee.

I had a chat with Joe once about 2 years ago, outside the front porch of a small hostel on the Isle of Skye. We talked a bit about happiness and I wondered at the time if it was just contentment with what you have at that very moment. I had felt euphoria when on the top of a mountain or when swimming in the Scottish sea but never did I feel completely like that for an entire week, or day even, and very rarely for an entire hour. I’ve thought about it since, a lot. It’s the ultimate goal in life isn’t it? Happiness… but what the hell does it mean? How would you describe happiness?

So building on that old idea, maybe contentment or satisfaction with who you are, who you are with and what you are doing and where is sometimes described as happy. Lines like “I’m happy with my husband” “I’m happy living in this town” or “I’m happy to stay at home watching tv” come to mind. Maybe it means something like “I wouldn’t want to change anything”. Which is fine, it’s good. I think it might be the best you could hope for. I’m wondering though if that should be described as happiness.

In the old fairytales they would end with ‘and they lived happily ever after’. That sounds rather boring I think… Maybe, if I go back to wondering whether happiness is ‘just’ an emotion, the best I can hope for is to feel this emotion often and purely. I feel pretty happy waking up in a cuddle, or when walking on an epic Australian beach, but it does pass, and other emotions come up, and that’s totally okay. It doesn’t mean I wasn’t happy that day, it just means that I wasn’t entirely completely happy for the entire complete day. There wouldn’t be room for other emotions if I had been and enough stuff happens that calls for other emotions in the span of a day. And that’s fine.

When in love you get heaps of feelings of happiness, when being kissed, being looked at, being touched, but (at least after the first few weeks of euphoria) these emotions pass until you are kissed again or even just think about the other person. If someone makes me happy it doesn’t mean that I won’t feel any other emotions or won’t have any days of feeling like utter gloomy crap.

For me it means that he very often gives me little moments of happiness. It means these moments are very pure and he hardly ever fails at making me feel them. And I also think it means that I wouldn’t trade him for anyone in the world. I don’t know what you would call this feeling, but it makes me feel comfortable, at ease, excited, loved and happy. I guess the closest thing that comes to mind is not necessarily the word happiness though, but simply the word ‘home’.

 

Jude