There is a question that I have tried to strategically avoid. Whenever it comes up I get unexplainably nervous and undeniably irritated because I never truly have an answer. But here it is once again. After being triggered it flickers like a lightbulb in a dark room, waiting for a response: Who am I?
It’s a seemingly simple question, and when I am grounded it does not appear to be daunting. But when I am resistant to change or when I am very deep in replaying old narratives, these three roads become an incredible burden with an answer that I struggle to articulate.
Sometimes—most times—I feel like I am that teenager or twenty-something year old who wanted so desperately to belong but felt so abandoned and unable to fit in. Other times, I feel like the “I’m fine” I say when people ask me how I’m doing. Though in reality, I’m far from feeling anything close to fine. Other times I feel like I am the masquerade I must put on to perform and get through the day or I am the person that is always able to build others up except when it comes to myself. A lot of times, I don’t feel like I am anything.
Who am I? That depends on the day. I may be everything or I may be nothing at all. But I am always, always searching for something—a person, an award, a group, a circle—that will help me answer that question or validate the voids that I feel (because doesn’t everyone feel this way?!).
My make up (i.e. how I have always operated) tells me that I will never belong and that I will always be misunderstood. My reality (i.e. the evidence of my current experience) shows me that I am very much seen and heard to the point that my behaviors and attitude greatly impact the communities I am part of. Still, the destructive narratives of my past are deeply embedded in my mind, so much so that I unconsciously create self-fulfilling prophecies that lead to my own disempowerment and isolation. It’s a repeated cycle that is proving challenging to break, but I am learning how to differentiate between my old Self seeking to shrink for my own protection and survivaland vs. my current Self seeking to expand.
Who am I? I am learning not to be afraid of the question. I am a woman challenging her beliefs. I am a divine being finding her home in the indigenous spiritual systems of my ancestors. I am learning to honor my former Self rather than being in battle with her. I am learning to look into the mirror and love what I see. I am learning to honor myself and my boundaries. I am learning to love every stage of myself at every stage in my journey, even the most uncomfortable parts. I am learning mental and emotional maturity. I am learning not to take life so seriously. I am discovering that not having everything figured out doesn’t mean that I am any less of who I should be.
Descendant of Strength, Perseverance, and Love.
Healer of myself and my lineage.
Creator and Created.
I am a Child of God.
I am Chosen.