I’ve been pondering a lot lately. What does it mean to “be yourself”? We start by identifying things we like. Even as young children we are proud to declare our preferences. “I like cookies!” or “I hate peas!” we shout. From there, our self-definition evolves to include what we do. When we meet new acquaintances, we tell them about our hobbies, mentioning skiing or knitting or the cinema, as if that could tell them who we are. Who am I?
“Who are you?” someone may ask. The simplest and most immediate answer that reaches my tongue is my name. I am Anne. Names are tricky, as immediate and essential as they may seem. I did not choose my name, at least, not at first. I recently chose to change my name. Even though the reason was a cultural standard- marriage -going to Social Security and making this legal move forever changed my answer to the question, “Who are you?”. It’s only been about a year since this switch, but I would have to say that any changes to “who I am” as a result of altering my surname are negligible.
A lot of people talk about their work or their job (these are not always the same thing) and let these things define them. I used to say, “I work in marketing” or “I work part time at Best Buy.” This is not who I am. Now I say, “I’m a writer.” I often go on to give a little detail about my wage-earning occupations because most people seem confused that “I am” something different than what I “do”, but I am a writer. I’m proud to say it.
So far I know: my name is Anne Dewvall, I like eating dessert, figure skating, and being creative. I am a writer.
More on this later, it’s a complicated topic.
Who are you?
Have you ever really thought about it?