OK, so let’s clear this up. I am *not* having a crisis of identity or anything like that. I’m aware of who I am! However, I was looking back on some old bits and pieces that I’ve kept from years ago – letters and scraps of paper that people have written to/for me probably about 10 years ago now and I found it really interesting. As an adult, you tend not to get as many of these kinds of things – I’m talking short letters or written words on the person you’re becoming, or the type of friend you are. I think when we get older and become an adult we are less worried about defining ourselves by who we are, but we let society define us by our circumstances. Who I am depends entirely on where you know me from, and so opinions can be formed of us based on a number of factual things about us:
Our education – Did we finish school? Did we go to college/university? What degree did we get? What did we do with that education?
Our job – Is it ‘highly regarded’? What level are we at? Do we aspire to go further? Do we enjoy it?
Our living arrangements – Our own home? Rented? Location – expensive/inexpensive?
Our marital status – Married? Single? Divorced?
Our family circumstances – Parents? Siblings? What our relationship like with them?
Our beliefs – Religious? Political?
If I completed all that factual information about myself above, I can guarentee that an opinion would be formed about me, even if you didn’t mean to. Life is one big judgement, and sometimes those judgements can work in our favour and sometimes they can’t, depending on what peoples perceptions are of other peoples circumstances. If you’ve been to university and got yourself a degree, do you find you instantly think more highly of those that have done the same? What if in your job you worked through a ‘degree route’ to get that job, but someone else in the company, who does the same job as you, went through an ‘apprenticeship’ style route? Subconsciously don’t you wonder if that makes them better/worse than you? Afterall, you spent 3 years working hard at uni, and battled on doing your dissertation, stressing out and wearing yourself down. And, what, they just trained on the job? Worked their way through as part of a 9-5 job. But you stayed up all night every night for 8 weeks…?! You must have worked harder.
I am actually going quite far off topic here, but I think most people would agree that although we don’t mean to – we judge people based on factual circumstances in their lives.
Yesterday, I actively tried to remember everything that I was described as during the day. Now, I haven’t recalled much because my memory is awful, and a lot of the time I found I wasn’t even paying attention to what people were calling me – just what was actually being said. However, here’s a list of a few things that either followed “you are” or what I was referred to during the course of the day. These are direct quotes.
Not in the way
Going to be the reason people like me starve
So well organised
I have included all that I could recall. So, now what your opinion of me? Based on that list of items from yesterday I would say that you have a very different opinion of me based on your interaction with me that day. I do feel I should justify the starvation one in saying that I work in food retail and I’m not responsible (I hope!) for the starvation of anyone. Nonetheless, it was a genuine, albeit rather harsh, comment about me from yesterday so I included it.
I have rambled on a bit here, so I’ll call it a day for today. But, I’m hoping this week to be a focus on ‘who am I?’. By the end of the week, am I going to have a list of traits and descriptions of me that are a true reflection of who I think I am? Have other people got me right? Or am I not living out who I think I am?
Oh, and incase you were hopeful of some Les Miserables – here you go: