The fact that I am in counseling likely won't come as a shock to many of you. I mean most nut cases and psychopaths do tend to need some sort of mental evaluation every now and then. Right? However, what might shock you is that I began counseling completely voluntarily. That's right, despite the stigma counseling and any sort of mental health treatment seems to carry with it, I bite the bullet several months ago, and decided that I needed to tone down my psycho a little.
Today, like any other Friday I walked into my counselors office, and began to give her the same story I do every week. "Oh, everything is fine, I'm okay", but this morning something stopped me short, and I decided to be a bit more honest. So I open my mouth and before I can catch myself verbal vomit begins to flow. Somewhere in all that vomit came the audible, "I'm just blah." Of course that one teeny tiny little statement prompted one question, which led to another, and another. Then the ultimate question... Who are you? Seems like a pretty simple question right? Unfortunately that could not be any less true. This one tiny three word question is more difficult to answer then any other question I have ever been asked. Sure, I could say "I'm a mother." I could say "I'm a daughter." The list of descriptive words could go on and on, friend, neighbor, employee, sister, etc. Here's the catch, none of those answers will satisfy the question presented to me. Not only is the question difficult to answer, it is a little loaded as well. As I sat there pondering the many ways the question could be answered she asks again. "Who are you? More importantly who are you without allowing any of the people in your life to define you?" Wow, I was speechless. How I am supposed to answer this question? How am I supposed to know who I am if I am not a mom, daughter, wife, or friend?
Thankfully I didn't have to answer right away. I was told rather to think about it. To imagine I had a magic wand and once I waved it I would be happy. What would I be? Still my mind is boggled with the possibilities. It is so easy to categorize ourselves. I am my kids mother. I am my mother's daughter. I am a wife. Does any of that truly describe who I am deep within myself? Not really. Telling you I am a mother, does not tell you that I love horror movies, or that I could escape for hours into a good book. Telling you I am a daughter, does not explain to you my weird inability to eat orange m&m's. The problem is, how do we know which parts of us are really us, and which parts have come from categories set by society? How do you reflect upon who you are when so much of your life has been dedicated to being whatever someone else has needed or wanted you to be?
Is there ever a point where you can honestly and whole heartedly answer the question, "Who are you?" and there not be even the slightest hint of influence from the people who are in your life? Does describing yourself as someone's wife, friends, daughter, mother, etc. mean that you lack self individuality, or struggle with self identity? What if your self exploration leads to you a place where you are comforted by using words like mother to describe who you are and what makes you happy?
The act of simply asking someone, "Who are you?" should not be so incredibly thought provoking, or should it? Perhaps our quest of self discovery is meant to never end. Perhaps that is why this question is so hard to answer. Perhaps there is never a truly solid answer. Who you are today, may not be who you are tomorrow, and I believe that is okay. I think perhaps that if we ever truly know without a doubt exactly who we are that it may mean we have stopped growing, morphing, changing. That to me would be much sadder than potentially never answering the question of who I am.
For now, I am not sure who I am, but I know that I am on a journey. An exploration into the possibilities of life that maybe weren't possibilities before today. I am growing, changing, discovering, and I hope that never ends. So, maybe just maybe I don't ever want to know who I am. What about you? Do you want to know who you are, or do you already?