The other day, I was college tour-road tripping with my kids and “Long Walk” by Jill Scott came on. At the end of the song, my daughter announced that when she was little, she thought I sang that song when it used to come on in the car. Her statement was interesting for two reasons: for one I can’t sing, but the other seemed to blow their minds. I told them that I wrote a song very similar to it a year before “Long Walk” came out. They were shocked that I wrote songs. I reminded them that I wrote poetry. My son yells out, “You write poetry?!?!” I then reminded them that I wrote a book of poetry. “You wrote a book of poetry?!?!” At that moment, I realized that my kids don’t know a lot about me.
That realization linked to another realization I had earlier within the week. I realized that I had not been doing several things that I usually do that make me happy like exercising and writing. A few days prior, I’d also realized that I’d known my man friend for about two and a half years, but he didn’t know key elements of my childhood that made me who I am. At that point, I shared my entire childhood because I felt he was being deprived of info that he needed.
All of these revelations just made me realize that the people closest to me don’t really know me and sometimes I don’t know me either. I’m already very aware that I only share parts of myself with various people on purpose. For example, I have a group of people I talk to about politics and in another group I discuss sports. Yet, in a separate group I share about parenting and relationships. While many people can relate to that – no one person knows all of my sides. Am I afraid to share the whole me? Possibly.
I believe we all reveal who we are sporadically in an attempt to protect ourselves. Sometimes there is really not a need for this protection, but our previous experiences or skepticism of possible judgement may hinder those thoughts. However, if we are not willing to be true about ourselves to others, do we unintentionally take on a false persona to fit the mold of what other people think we are? Does this make us become someone other than our true selves to the point that we even forget who we are? Your challenge is to examine your true self and answer the title question: Who ARE You? Then ask are you who “they” think you are?