Graphic by Nate Barton
As a senior, I am somehow still introducing myself to people. Even with our small class, as strange as it can be to think about, not every person knows where your sister goes to school or how you take your coffee. When introductions happen, names, grades and abroad programs are exchanged. But once pleasantries are pushed aside, people want to know more. People want to know who I am in the simplest of terms. And I have a list of answers seemingly ready to roll off my tongue:
I’m an English major, a writer, a Cancer. I’m a dancer, editor, Hufflepuff. I’m a sister, daughter, Catholic and student.
These are all true, but do they really express who I am? It’s difficult to think about, but we often define ourselves as what we do rather than who we are.
Labels are easily assigned because it is simple to place others, or even ourselves, inside a set box of parameters rather than allowing for a personality that is well-rounded and full of depth to be expressed.
To allow oneself to fully ruminate on the depth of the question “who are you?” can be absolutely terrifying. I get it. I’m still trying to figure it out. And that’s perfectly OK.
As much as it might seem expected of you to have everything “figured out,” that’s not really the case. Here’s a little spoiler for you: No one actually knows everything.
Go ahead and take a moment. It’s shocking, I know. Your mom, grandfather, professors, President Obama—one of them have it all figured out. They might have it 98 percent figured out, but no one knows 100 percent what to do, or say or how to act all the time. And most importantly, no one is ever done growing and learning about themselves.
Living and the everyday act of accomplishing (or just getting through) life gives each person the opportunity to continue to grow. Our lives are learning labs for being, understanding and loving.
So let yourself out of the box and maybe next time you are asked “who are you?” answer truthfully: “I don’t know yet, but I can’t wait to find out.”
Follow Lauren Davila on Twitter: @laurengilmore03