Starting the day in one of those contemplative moods, I pondered the question ‘Who am I?’, which led me to also think about ‘Who are you?’ I don’t mean, ‘What is the name on your birth certificate?’ or ‘How would you describe your profession, parent, engineer, midwife, etc.?’. I don’t even mean ‘What are your beliefs, Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Atheist, Hindu, Taoist?’
Who are you? It’s a question that explores not only your past, though that has shaped you, and not only your aspirations, though they are wholly valid, but one which asks so much more. It’s hard to fully grasp the extent of an answer that would be all-embracing.
The shared title of the ‘Les Miserables’ song comes to mind ‘Who am I?’ If you’re not familiar with the song, the sad answer to this question afforded to Jean Valjean is ‘24601’. He had been reduced to a mere number as a result of a petty crime. Sometimes it can feel similar for those of us living with depression. The title of depression can be the description given to us in an attempt to summarise who we are, when in fact we are so much more than the depression itself.
A journey of discovery
Currently I am working on a full autobiography. My sister, brother and a couple of my best mates have asked me what the process of writing an autobiography is like. It’s unlike me to give a cursory answer. Instead, I prefer to really ponder the question. In considering the answer, I have ascertained that every day of writing an autobiography has potential for adventure, sadness, happiness, and humour.
I’m discovering, for every memory I share with friends and family, often it will spark another memory or bring clarity to something that had become quite fuzzy. Add to that different perspectives and the various memories can open up a new discovery of who I was and maybe who I am. The process is a bit like a pyramid, my memory is at the top but, when I share it with others who were a part of the experience, I find there’s a wider depth to it that I maybe wasn’t aware of. It provokes other stories and the most exciting part is that I get a better picture of why I am the way I am and get a little bit closer to finding out who I really am.
This has been my experience so far and, once again, the introspection is promoted. I am not just my body, my disease, my job or my status. Neither am I my beliefs, my relationships, my past or my future. I’m a collection of all these things and more. I’m multi-faceted and effected by things. As a writer, this is quite exciting because it provokes the impetus for more creative writing (poetry or music). Dependent on my mood and the memory, the result will be different.
So who am I? For me, discovering the answer to this question, in itself, is going to be a journey. However, if forced at this time to give an answer, the best I could do would be, “I am what I be and what I share”.
I wish you all peace, hope and love on your journeys,
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