Before my time

We’re sitting in your car listening to old school rap and it’s so upbeat you could call it Camp. For  a second you switch channels to make your point; hip hop today is grimy, droning, dirty. I’m imagining the scene as you describe it: middle school kids sweating until dawn. Everyone’s gone out to buy new shoes for the occasion but it’s so dark they can’t be seen. That’s not the point. It’s all about the music. The groove.

Remember the times when we grew up in community? I wish I did.

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The million dollar question

What is it that makes us who we are? I was inspired by a blog post by suzjones and began to think… is the primal part of myself more me than the part of me that wants to suppress it? Am I my desires and impulses or is the ‘real me’ who I am when I try to regulate them? Or is the real me who I try to be; who I want to be? I’ve read about the ‘authentic self’ being the self whose behaviour stems from within- from what you were created to be, and I think that includes whatever improvement you think you need to be happy with yourself.

I’ve departed from my younger, loud, bossy, and sometimes over-confident self. I behaved naturally, the way most children do, against social etiquette, choosing to be blunt and honest over being polite. I tended to sing too loudly (in an attempt to drown out my cousin’s voices), and I’d take the first chance to grab a mic if there was one (this happened at someone else’s birthday party too). How annoying. I don’t think I was born to perpetuate my child-like behaviour, acting as if I was the only person that mattered on the planet. The truth is, I live in a world full of people that I need to consider, so I have to find a way to accommodate others. This means changing the egocentric-ism that comes so naturally to me, and being able to move forward from this means maturity. It does not detract from my being ‘real’- it just means I’m learning and striving towards who I want to be. It is only when change occurs in a direction I don’t want to travel in that we have a problem.

Yes, we take on a series of roles daily and we adapt to different situations and personality types. We need to keep some of our dimensions to ourselves- that is, the part of ourselves that wants to talk back to a professor or a boss, for example. There is a professional self, and then the self that you share with your close friends. And then there’s you when you’re alone. Every situation calls for behavioural adjustment, and I don’t think that these dimensions make a person any less ‘authentic’, for every side of you and every role you assume fits together to create this whole person.

From a religious perspective, finding my authentic self is about denouncing my ‘old’ self. As a Christian, I aim to be more and more Christ-like. I am to put to death the sinner within me and be renewed, choosing to live the way I was called to live, no matter how difficult that is in a world where God is replaced and displaced by everything else.  There is an element of consistency in being me as I want to act according to the values and principles that are important to me.  So as long as I am looking to be the best me that I can be (and that is an on-going process of change), I am the real me.

Classification

I’m not very good at dealing with ‘About Me’ sections. One-liners. Describe yourself in three words. Social networking snapshots in less than 50 characters.

I’m never satisfied (how can one ever be?), because it requires condensing and distilling to the simplest essence of character. It requires the ability to distinguish between self and other, the persipacity to realize what is most significant and striking about yourself. Nobody puts down “human” because that’s obvious enough, and nobody puts down the ordinary, like “I go to school on most days”, unless the ordinary is made exceptional. It’s about what makes you you.

I love reading what people come up with. I love it when people are self-aware and are opinionated, weird and confident. “I’m obsessed with cats and fishfingers”. “I have a penchant for grainy, black and white movies. And a thing for aristocracy (like Lorde).” I love it when people are like “I say what I want and do what I want” or when people are like “I care too much about people”. I love it when people have favourite quotes, movies, books and music. I don’t even have to agree with them- but it means that they’re not passive people. They are impacted by things, they feel things with depth and by consequence know what they like and don’t like.

I am envious of them, because I on the other hand, am so indecisive. I’m not certain about many things when it comes to describing myself. I dislike not knowing how I feel, or worse, feeling indifferent. Usually, I make references to food because that’s what I’m most comfortable with, for instance, my twitter one-liner goes: ‘fro-yo gives me dopamine surges’, which aptly describes my feelings towards froyo (it makes me abnormally happy) whilst very subtley hinting at my interest in neuropsychology (dopamine and pleasure and all that). It’s neither too serious nor completely useless. I’m always munching on something but I cannot go as far as to say that I’m a foodie. I like cooking but not that much. I love food but I don’t know that much about it. I don’t have an all-consuming passion, like being really into health and running and sports (even though I do like running), I don’t wake up every day excited to write a song and spend hours of my day researching top hits, releases and music history (even though I do love music and songwriting- albeit not very often these days), and I don’t throw myself into the blogging sphere by blogging many posts a day (it only happens sometimes) and staying up until 3am each night reblogging things on tumblr (not anymore). It’s so hard to characterize myself as a kind of person in particular. So ‘about me’ sections make me anxious.

I am a self-proclaimed romantic. That is one thing I can say for certain. I like to romanticize things and I like people who do that too. Glossing over the good bits, glorifying the ordinary. I forget the guys’ name but there was an artist that focused much of his work on sidewalk weeds and I found that a very captivating concept. Elevating and showing the beauty of the overlooked. Otherwise, the only thing I can be sure of is the fact that 1) I’m not good at ball games and 2) I’m not good at maths.

But why am I even concerned with trying to fit myself into some category? It’s just this annoying thing we have ingrained in us isn’t it? The need to classify and clarify? On one hand it can help us identify who we are, how to behave, and be more comfortable with our place in the world, on the other hand, we’re limiting and restricting ourselves. By saying for years “I’m not a maths sort of person”, I’ve internalized it. And that is what I think of myself. I’m alluding to the labeling theory here (yay psychology lol).

So… I don’t know what sort of conclusion I’m coming to. I don’t know. I’m a confused individual.