This week I’ve spent some time deliberating over a question I thought I knew the answer to. Who am I?

I know the basic facts – I’m a 30 year-old woman with a husband and two cats. I am a homeowner. I am an atheist. I love classic rock and I hate pretty much all fruit. I am a vegetarian but happy enough to wear leather shoes and take fish oil capsules (needs must).

But isn’t there more to a person than facts? By the time you’re 30 you’ve probably done most of the big, important, adult-type things. You’ve left home, perhaps married and/or had children. Hopefully, you’ve voted. These are things that can surely only be done when you’ve escaped the malestrom of adolescent self-scavation, having uncovered the person you are. And I really thought I had done that.

At around 4, deciding ice cream is definitely a favourite

Evidently, I was wrong. Last week, I asked someone to check something I’d written and give feedback, this someone being someone who knows me (whoever that is) very well. I was pretty happy with what I’d written, which is why I felt comfortable showing it to this person and is why I was taken aback by what they said: that it didn’t SOUND like me. I was confused. I read it, searching for clues…if it didn’t sound like me then who did it sound like?

That was when I realised it did sound different, but because I really did write it in my own voice and this is something people in my life are not accustomed to at all because I spend most of my time around others ‘aping’ other people in an effort to make them like me. When I write I ooze the humour of the female authors I love. When I drink I adopt the filthy humour of Sarah Millican – a technique that has earned, over the years, dozens of comments along the lines of ‘Christ, you’re SO much better when you’re drunk!’. I’ve become a chameleon, redesigning myself each time, pulling on the ‘right me’ when needed.

My tattoo. Done for myself or because they’re ‘cool’ and it would piss off my mother?

Except now I just feel like a confused muddle of all these things, and absolutely none of them feels quite right. Am I funny? Well, not really, unless I’ve downed a cocktail or two. Neither am I particularly intellectual (NEVER expect me to do any kind of maths for you). I’m not spontaneous, nor am I fascinatingly individual. If stripped of my chameleon-like nature – something that is undoubtedly the result of being reminded repeatedly how unlikeable I am while I was at school – my current self might best be described as a disinterested shrug, followed by another chocolate biscuit.

This, I feel, is the major problem in my life. If you don’t know who you are, how can you locate your own voice when you write?How do you differentiate your desires from those of others around you? You see, I am a MASTER (mistress?) of getting people to like me when I want them to. I have learned to read people quickly, to work out what they like and don’t like so that I can artfully relate to them in a way they will find likeable. But it also means I get confused about what I want. If I see someone drinking coffee, I’ll start craving it, even though it makes me feel quite poorly. If I watch too many episodes of Frasier, I decide I was to be a psychiatrist. If a friend gets a motorbike, I think I want a scooter – I’m not brave enough to go all the way. If I watch shows like Mad Men, I think I want to be a Copy Writer. And drink a lot.

Eurovision biking
Sitting on a friend’s bike. And yes, it made me wish I was brave enough for my own!

Simply put, how much of me is really, well, me? And how much is an amalgamation of what I’ve read, what I watch and what I want people to see? Is this a typical issue for our generation, over-exposed in our vulnerable teen years to social media displaying the ‘perfect’ lives of others? Unfortunately, I have no answers, so I’m really sending this out into the inter-ether, hoping that someday, I’ll be able to answer it.

Until next time!


3 thoughts on “WHO AM I? NO, REALLY.

  1. heather090702 says:

    I love that you think you should have it figured out at 30. We are constantly evolving. You will never know yourself entirely. And that is ok. Why do you need to know? Can you not relish in the fact that you are a person with the ability to be that chameleon? And you cannot fake wit and humoUr and being likable. It must exist within you, with or without a few cocktails. And downing on yourself the way you did is not alright. Clearly you suffer self-esteem issues that need to be rectified because you are not seeing your true self. Huh…perhaps that is what this post should have really been about…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s a fair enough comment, Heather, but it’s not just about self-esteem, really. It’s more…the difficulty in discerning myself from the versions I show to other people and wondering how I go about figuring out who I really am underneath the bluster because I’m not always sure. This isn’t a ‘feeling sorry for myself’ thing, but more of a ‘hmm…so even the people closest to me don’t recognise who I am when I’m being myself’ kind of a thing. Relishing who you are IS important…but how can you do that without knowing who you are? Freud thought it was hugely important to know oneself and I agree with that. It’s too easy to lose yourself in the world and people around you if you don’t have knowing who you are to anchor yourself. But I do accept that those versions of myself must have a kernel of my ‘true’ self or it would never have been there at all. Urgh, so confused. Need tequila (now that I KNOW I like!).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. heather090702 says:

      I didn’t mean to imply that it was all a self-esteem issue, just that bit where you go off on the things you believe you are “not.” It has been about two years since I realized who I am at my core and they are just descriptive terms: intelligent, hilarious, kind, generous, honest, trustworthy, modest, impatient, irritable, emotional. I suffer from agoraphobia, yet I can walk into a room full of strangers and make them all laugh (with me, not at me) and carry on meaningful conversations. People tell me they love how I am always so happy and smiling. If they only knew the days where my heart weighed a gazillion pounds and was just far too heavy for me to even lift myself out of bed. But neither of these variations defines me in any way. You don’t need a clear-cut definition of who you are. You are who you are at any given moment in time. Wow, that was deep. Add philosopher to my list.


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