Who Am I?

Friday Five time again, and this week Rob asks:

one for the navel gazers. five times you’ve looked in the mirror and thought ‘who the bloody hell are you?’

Oh, my , oh my.

  1. It happens after every haircut, but the biggest one was when I got my shoulder-length hair cut the summer I graduated from high school. I really didn’t recognize myself.
  2. Once, when I was sort of involved with a woman who was much younger than me, and just too young. Literary trope though it might be, I actually did look in the mirror and ask who I was, and the answer I got was, I’ll admit, a slightly sly grin and a mumbled, “Not this guy.” Broke it off soon after.
  3. There was a time in my life when I was thinking of seriously pursuing the profession of “technical writer”. As you can see from my current life, I got a similar answer to the previous point above.
  4. I’m divorced. The kind of crisis of identity that follows a traumatic experience like separation from a spouse, regardless of the problems in the relationship or the rightness of the termination of that relationship, involves a lot of “Who am I?” I can testify that going through a divorce is almost as painful as losing one’s religion. With time, though, I happily gained the ability to see who I really was, and to be happy with a great deal of that which in fact I am.
  5. My fondest “who am I?” experience came when I moved from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. In Prince Albert there had been a whole diffcult legacy of peoples’ ideas about me, based on memories of who I’d been when I’d struggled through middle school and even late elementary school. Going into the 10th grade had been a new start for me, and no longer the pencil-sketching badly dressed nerd, I was the sax-toting, outspoken band geek. This may not seem like a major step up, but I had found a niche and the voice to defend it against jocks, at least better than before. I literally looked in the mirror and tried to decide who I would be: “who am I?” was less a question then, and more of a freedom, an invitation to a decision and to possibility of freely shaping my identity as I saw fit. It’s an experience I’ve undergone several more times since then, never as drastic but also never quite as necessary. It was therapeutic, wonderful, and absolutely what I needed.

If you would like to see other responses to this question, please feel free to check the links in the Friday Five link list in the right sidebar.

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