In a contemporary world, we constantly find ourselves in situations where we must present some form of identification, usually a name, birthdate, and social security number. However, such inquiries often go further to question our ethnicities, hobbies, and topics of interest. Responses to such questions allow people to “understand” who we are. Needless to say, expressing (or filtering) our responses in informal dialogue is an easy way of establishing oneself to an inquisitive counterpart.
But how do we respond when presented with the absolutely horrific situation of having to define ourselves? Why do we find difficulty in concisely articulating our very own unbiased assessments of ourselves?
As a senior in highschool, I was presented with the challenge of writing a personal statement. Initially, I thought it would be a piece of cake considering the fact that I’d been accustomed to analyzing and responding to numerous prompts in my AP English classes.
After blankly staring at the screen in front of me for nearly forty five minutes, I began to question my writing skills. “Why is this taking so long?! All I have to do is sell myself in a page or two,” I thought to myself.
Then the question struck me. To whom exactly was I planning on “selling myself”? How do I “sell myself”? How could I possibly define myself in such a brief essay? It was as if the word limits had not only confined my writing, but also my spirit.
So how is a person to define themselves, their soul, their spirit? Is it by the interests they fester? By the goals the pursue? By the ideologies they uphold? Or the religion they practice? Though the distinctness and variability of such responses produces diverse breeds of individuals, such responses do not definitively accommodate the uniqueness of the soul.
So, I decided to write about a struggle I had endured. I introduced myself twice in my brief narrative, once as the girl who had faced the struggle and once as the girl who had grown from it.
“This is too focused on your struggle,” my academics counselor critiqued,”focus more on yourself.”
After interminable sessions of self-assessment and desperate searching, I realized that I had been a victim of identity crisis, the horrid plague that is perceived as a plight of the weak, yet in actuality is faced by all 7 billion+ residents of this diverse planet.
Why do we succumb to such uncertainty despite the objective familiarity we have with our own selves as chiefs of our own minds and spirits? Though debatable, this is not the question to be asked. Rather, we must reassess the systematic methods by which we define ourselves.
Though I fester certain thoughts, am inclined to various interests, and practice certain traditions, these characteristics do not define me. To an extent, I think it is almost arrogant to define oneself in such a certain manner, as if one were to ensure that such characteristics effectively depict the incomprehensible metaphysicality of the human soul and thereby unyielding to the impacts of future experiences.
“Identity is theft of the self,” in this concise quote, Estee Martin conveys what I have attempted to express in extensive paragraphs of reasoning. With respects to such reasoning, I refuse define myself by a handful of social umbrellas I fall under. To those who must know, I am conservatively liberal, idly ambitious, foreign yet American, and empowered by my weaknesses. I’m an accumulation of uncanny paradoxes, and thereby cannot be defined by the common categories of persona.
Currently, my identity is Not Available.