I SWEAR this edition of the Not Alone Series is so late because of external factors and not because of the topic. Honest. Check out Morgan, Jen, and the other ladies for more perspectives on identity.
When I saw this topic on who I am outside of anyone else but me, myself, and I, it was the first time I was truly glad we had a full week to reflect and compose our thoughts. I didn’t have anything clever or witty come to mind almost instantaneously. I sometimes feel that I can be too introspective, to the point that contemplating my identity on top of everything else would be introspection overload. And then I got on a packing kick this weekend and last night, after moving-detail-headaches, set up a fan vortex around my bed and watched 6 episodes of Doctor Who.
So, who am I, really?
This kind of existential question really highlights the occasional inadequacies of the English language. In Spanish, there are two verbs for “to know”: saber–to know a fact and conocer–to know a person. I kind of apply this to my answer to such a question. I saber that I am a daughter of God, of my parents; sister to Jesus, to my siblings; woman of worth, all body and soul together; writer; book publishing person; friend; Catholic; dreamer, and the like. But do I really conocer each of these women–especially the first two?
My simple answer: I am a work in progress. I know I criticized Would You Date You in a review for a similar point (review here), but that was about personhood. I am fully a person with full dignity. But am I living out that persona that God has designed for me?
The simple answer: I certainly hope so!
When it comes to it, I like to consider myself a heterogeneous mixture (Oh look, more academics. Lemme throw in some calculus at the end so you can get high school credit!). Heterogeneous mixtures are ones in which you can pick out the disparate elements: like pico de gallo. All of them come together to make the mixture what it is. Homogeneous mixtures are ones in which you can’t pick apart the elements, it’s just the one entity in which y0u can’t see what makes up the whole: like hummus. Sometimes I get self-conscious that I’m the former–that it makes me complicated because there’s so many pieces of me to have to accept and love and that other women seem so homogenous they’re not even a mixture but a single element like vanilla or strawberry; always kind or always sweet.
I am strong when I maybe don’t need to be, but act vulnerable when I’m lazy. I am a preacher of the healing virtues of the faith who is just as easily able to show just how broken she is on a Saturday night. I perceive myself as kind-hearted and generous and then have had an ex-boyfriend say I was “showing my T-face” (determined to a fault to get on and to my seat). I think and think and think and write and write and write and feel I’m too introspective, and then the next day realize I’ve monopolized a conversation for 20 minutes. All of those facets are a part of me but do not define me. I don’t think any one thing could. In other words, I am me, with some work to do to grow in virtue.
The Holy Trinity is a mystery that we mere mortals try and try again to comprehend and then teach to children, often with analogies. I’ve heard from a couple theologians that many of the classics (pizza slices; shamrock–sorry, St. Patrick) are quite faulty. Rather, the closest (and it’s still about 50 yards away) anyone came was to consider was woman (or man): Woman is Mother, Woman is Daughter, Woman is Sister–three distinct persons within the same woman. In a way, I feel my identity is that kind of mystery, too. But it sure is fun figuring out!