Who am I? Or not?

It is not always an existential question. Or about deep philosophical ideas. We grapple with it even when we don't appear to be doing so. It could be our identity vs. other identities or what we are as opposed to what others think we are, or what we are and what we think we are, or what we are and what we wish we could be.

I do not give too much importance to the general discourse about our external selves and what is within. What we wear and how we look are pretty much how our inner selves dictate us to. If we are following trends, then our minds have made that decision.

There will always be a little something lodged inside us that is different from the public persona, something we wish not to reveal for fear of being seen as vulnerable or because of some sort of reaction we do not want.

I have often been told I should not expose myself too much. It was never a choice; it flowed into the terrain as much as my opinions do. Having this pointed out and still sticking to it then became a choice, although I am often not conscious that I am even making a choice until it is out.

So, who am I? Is it the same as "How do you define yourself?" This question is posed in this motivational talk by Lizzie Velasquez:

When I first watched it I was floored. As always, some questions popped up later.

By pointing out the positives of what clearly has not been an easy life, is the audience made to feel better simply because of what they have compared to what she does not? Are we looking at her — described as the "ugliest girl in the world" — with rose-tinted glasses because we have the luxury to do so? When she says her blindness in one eye is an advantage as she puts those who are rude to her on that side and they become invisible it does sound good. But was it not their rudeness that pushed her into believing in herself?

I like the fact that she does not want sympathy and that she was brought up as normal and has never felt different. However, there are instances where being different is a boon, and it is not about how one looks or what nature has denied us. It is the ability to stand apart without feeling victimised, or to think that others are bludgeoning you.

"Who am I?" is not static. We are several things, including occasionally that sinking feeling.

© Farzana Versey

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