The other day, I was flummoxed by this suggestion: describe yourself not in relationship to anyone else, or to what you do.
I thought. Hmm.
The first descriptors that came to mind were out: Mother. Daughter. Girlfriend. Sister. Friend. Then the other, obvious one: Writer. That’s what I do, but is it who I am? To some extent, yes, it is. Writing is a filter through which I see the world, through which I observe, and note, and organize the chaos. But if somehow I couldn’t write, I’d still be me, albeit a different me than I am today.
So who am I without what I do and who I am in relationship with?
The problem is a fundamental one, related to the human condition. It is our blessing and our curse, this ability to see ourselves in space and time and consider our place in things. Giraffes just giraffe. Macaws just macaw. But we don’t just exist: we do, we mean, we say. We organize. We intend. We have a rank and a place, a race and a gender. Sure, spider monkeys have genders, but they don’t sit around wondering if they get treated differently because of theirs, or what being a male spider monkey or female monkey means in terms of spider monkey expectations. They run around after each other, mate, eat, live. They lack the curse of self reflection. They don’t wonder if their thighs are too big.
So I am: lover of green things (still a relationship?). Ear to beautiful words, eyes to lovely sights. Dreamer of strange and sometimes dark dreams. Receptacle for endless hopes. Soul easily bruised, if one believes in things like souls, which I use here more for its poetic value than anything else. Determination of steel. Survivor. I’m not sure this captures it all, but it’s a start.
Who are you, outside of who you are in relation to others, and to what you do?