Who Are You?
This blog was written by Adults Sexually Abused by Priests (ASAP)
Last week, most people said they still practice all of the rituals of the Catholic Church.
So, who are you really? When I was a child, I remember one night being in bed asking myself where I existed. What made me, “me”?
You’re brought up to identify yourself as others label you. You are told your name, your age, your sex, your religion, your culture, and your race. You learn boundaries by what other people find acceptable. Someone may ask you what is your favorite color or your favorite toy, but the colors and the toys are limited to what you are given.
You may look in the mirror and compare yourself to others. I am short because others are taller than me. My hair is not as nice as someone else’s. My eyes aren’t really brown but I call them brown because they don’t fit into any other category. People tell me I look like my father. Nobody ever tells me that I’m beautiful or smart so I guess I’m just okay.
I find out who I am by comparing myself to others and by who I like as my friends. I find out who I am by how other people react to me and if they like me or not. As I grow, I begin to form opinions.
As an adult, I know myself for what I do. I am a wife. I am a mother. I work in an office. Every day, I do the things that I need to do in order to do the things I am called successfully. I am so busy and I just do and please and take care of and that is what I am. For years, I live in a box that has no doors or windows. Asking any questions could thrown everything off.
But then something changes outside of me. My husband leaves. My kids grow up and leave home. I retire. My parents pass away. Suddenly, I don’t know who I am without a task to perform or someone to please.
Who am I? I know what I like to eat. I know what tv shows I like to watch. I know that most of the news in the world upsets me. I know that at times, I feel sad and scared and tired. And vulnerable. And I wonder at times how it is that sweet innocent babies can grow up and become monsters. How does that happen if we all start out so good?
But the question still remains…..who am I? If you take away the input of others or my physical characteristics or my experiences in life…..if I go back to the beginning and start fresh….if I had no idea who or what I was other than what I was inside….who would that be?
I’ve always felt that your surroundings are a reflection of who you are. Someone who may want to delve deeper into that might say that if you are surrounded by riches, it is because you tapped into your best self or you felt you were worthy of such things and therefore such things materialized. And if you are living in squalor, the same would apply….you don’t feel you deserve and therefore do not have.
Could be true. When I walked into my friend’s house two week’s ago, I saw two things….the first was perfection. Her house looked like it could be in Home and Garden. Collections held in a lighted breakfront with not a speck of dust to be seen. A room just for her artwork. The second thing I saw was her creativity everywhere…from her pictures on her walls to her homemade curtains. When you walked into her house, you got a good feeling.
My house…my house is always a work in progress, as I like to call it. But actually, it is just cluttered. And I hate clutter. But I also hate to throw things out. And I find that I spend so much time working on the clutter that I never seem to get to the things that I’d really like to be doing.
So I did some reading….research…into the subject of getting to know one’s self and what I found was that the more we think we know ourselves, the less likely we really do.
So that was pretty discouraging.
But don’t let that stop you. The more you know about yourself, the better your life will be. The less likely you will just follow along with someone else’s plans just to please them and the more self-respect you may earn for yourself.
I understand that many thoughts and feelings have been implanted through your life. And then as a young adult, if you enter the world with a head full of faulty thoughts about yourself, the world is only too happy to reflect anything negative back to you.
So take a little time to ask yourself some questions and do so without criticism.
What are the things you value? Family? Art? History?
What kinds of things make you want to learn more about something? Ancestry? Old coins? Photography?
What kinds of things tend to get you angry or upset quickly? Perhaps it’s when someone doesn’t respect your space or when you read an article about animal abuse?
What are your talents? Don’t have any? Have you tried everything there is to try in the world? Are you limiting your view of talent because you feel that what you can do doesn’t count if it is not as good as someone else?
No comparing. None.
What kind of things did you dream about doing when you were a child? Did you want to be a movie star? C’mon it’s just us here….you can tell me. Too late, huh? Well, they are filming a TV show in my town right now and they were looking for extras. Who says you can’t do something like that? Nobody, that’s who. So what if your part is unnamed person on park bench feeding the pigeons? Do not belittle your dreams.
Do you have a hero? It could be someone known only in your family. Doesn’t have to be a really famous person. What do you admire about that person? Or it could be you admire a little something about everyone you meet. Could happen. I admire my friend’s creativity. I could be more creative. I have to allow myself the time for that. Creativity was not high on my family’s to-do list….although my father could build a porch on the back of the house. Or build a room in the basement. Not seen as creativity, but it was.
This world would be such a better place if people took an hour out of their workdays to have an art period. Let everything else go. Get your box of crayons. Nothing else exists but you and your drawing paper and your crayons. Can you smell them even now? That new box of crayon smell?
And speaking of crayons….what is your favorite color? My favorite crayon was magenta. I liked the name. What is your least favorite color? I don’t know if I have one. What colors surround you in your life? What color is your living room? The shirt you are wearing? The towels in your bathroom? If you chose them, they are things that you like.
What kind of things don’t you like around you? Very bright lights? The smell of cigarette smoke on someone? Perhaps something that triggers a bad memory?
Perhaps you like liver and onions. Or peanut butter and banana sandwiches. Fried.
Maybe you enjoy thrill rides like roller coasters and skydiving. Or maybe you prefer a game of chess near a fireplace with a glass of cognac.
These things all make up who you are. And that is okay. You are going to disagree with people on things because you are alike and are different from other people. Because you are you. Celebrate that.
But why do you like certain things when perhaps your brother does not? I don’t know. I can say that there are theories about past lives and parallel universes, but that may be more than we can handle if we are just trying to declutter things and get through the day.
It is what it is. But I do feel that we are spiritual beings inside of physical bodies. Call it a soul if you will, inside all of us. I’ve read that we only bring 1/3 of our soul with us when we are born and the rest of us “stays home”…..a place we can visit in our dreams.
But aside from all of that, my message this week is to get to know yourself outside of what you have been told you are. You have likes and dislikes and dreams and things that intrigue you. You are not just what has happened to you. Get to know yourself a bit without judgement or criticism.
Have a wonderful week, and take this week’s poll if you’d like.
Read more and take the poll at Adults Abused By Priests.