Who am I?
I have been asking myself this question for a long time. Over this past semester, I have been examining myself on a level that I have either ignored my entire life, or recently discovered existed- I haven’t figured out which yet. This has been, understandably, a very long and hard process. The weirdest part is that I didn’t even know I was doing it until now.
You would think that with having been working on this for so long, I would have some idea of who I am. Some modicum of what makes me the way I am. The truth? I am farther from knowing myself than I have ever been before.
My best friend once told me that self evaluation is extremely important. I never really understood why. I knew who I was. I’m Thomas. Except at school, that is, where everyone calls me Tom. I mainly have two personas- Thomas and Tom. I act different at home than I do at school. One isn’t better or worse than the other; they’re just different. But who am I?
I was having a conversation with someone close to me. I was talking about how I was feeling that depression was what had come to define me. Ever since I opened up in a very public way, I feel that the only thing people ever see is my depression. I have come to hate the word. I am beginning to think this is due to the fact that I have given them a reason to see this. I told this person that I am so tired of being defined by my problems- my pain. That I wanted people to see me as ME, not as that depressed guy who may or may not be off his meds.
But then I thought about it. What am I without it? Who am I? It’s easy enough to say, “Oh, I’m a child of the One True King! I can find my definition in Christ!” While that’s true, and I am very thankful for the grace and love of my Savior, I still find it difficult to comprehend who I am. Without the labels.
There are just so many labels- Son, Friend, Brother, Christian, Theology Student, College Student, Preaching Ambassador, Depressed 20 year old, Star Wars fan (I mean, seriously, The Force Awakens. SO GOOD.), and so many more. I’m not saying labels are bad. In fact, I rather prefer them. It’s nice to know where I stand and where others stand with me. They aren’t the issue- except when I am trying to figure out who I am. I know my identity lies in every one of these aspects- especially Christian. But who am I really?
I have started to make 2 lists. One is entitled “Struggles/Concerns.” The other is entitled “Things I am Passionate About.”Unfortunately, the latter is quite a bit shorter. The current score is 23-2. I am not going to write arbitrary items. I’m not going to lie to myself. I am only putting on the lists what I have come to realize deserves to be on the lists. I hope that, at some point, my struggles can leave that list and be put on the passions list. Maybe it’s good to have a short passion list. Otherwise, would I spread myself too thin?
I have struggled for so long with this. I have endured a lot of pain- and I think it was because I was ignoring this. Have I had an epiphany? A Eureka moment? I don’t know. As soon as I think I’m coming close to an answer, 500 more questions surface.
I need definitions.