Some people spend their lives trying to figure out who they are. There's so much pressure to get it right, to figure out who the one, special you is. But how can you achieve such an contradicting goal? Does the act of self-realization not transform us into something new? Can we learn who we are without being changed by the idea? And how do we measure self-ness anyway?
If you measure it by lack of change or comfort – certainty, or confidence – then I found myself in the 7th grade, by my account. Saying "Fuck Jesus" (as loud as I could get away with) in the auditorium with my dearest friend, who had said it first. We sat there writhing in our dissent for being forced to listen to our High School's Gospel Choir chant on and on about their savior and his supernatural power. I was sick of it.
That's not to say I haven't changed, at least in a superficial sense. I've developed ideas, and changed my mind. Gotten taller, learned more. Brought on new perspectives. I've even discovered a passion. But I did all that in the structures I developed at that age. With MY logic and MY methods. I've been extremely lucky to experience all of my experiences and to meet the people I've met. And I wouldn't be the same without them. But same-ness certainly does not measure self-ness.
One way or another I feel very similar to how I remember myself from then. The idea is maybe a bit self-serving, but I think still unusual regardless. I was so burdened at that age, trying to figure it all out. So willing to accept the promises of my elders. I knew I was just another dumb kid, ready to make stupid mistakes and learn things the hard way. I was certain I'd look back saying they were right. But I never really got to that point. I'm still so confident in the way that I acted throughout middle school and high school. And though I now know who I hurt and who could have been closer, I still feel as though I made the best choices I could have made. With the best people I could have made them with.
I know that I'm an unusual case. And that the advice I give is probably only suited for me. I don't want to believe that some of us don't know right from wrong. But even ignoring crime, our simple and feeble romantic relationships don't imply the greatest self-management. We argue about abortion and marriage when children are falling behind. Then we force those same children to finish their meals when our obesity is the largest part of our reputation (pun intended). And we use those of us that are starving as the excuse. As though we had a fucking clue what the problem was or how to solve it.
As though any of us have a clue who we are or what we were.
As a child of wonderfully flawed parents that encouraged me and helped me along and let me get up on my own, I MADE MYSELF WHO I AM. They told me something was there and I said hell yes there is. It's not you, or you, but it's there and I don't need to find it. I don't need to search, or discover, or make mistakes. It's already there. As me as "me" can be. Whatever I want "me" to be.