So who are you really?
One way to think about this is the stories that you tell yourself about who you think you are.
We all do this… we make up stories to explain things to ourselves.. to justify certain choices that we have made.. certain beliefs that we have.
For example–today I told a friend about how I approach cooking and various other activities–such as working out–and I described it as “sort of a kind of smart peasant kind of way of looking at stuff.”
Now.. what does this mean? Well I elaborated a bit about how what I meant by this was I try to incorporate fundamental aspects that I think are worthwhile in an efficient and flexible manner in most of the various practices that I do.
Well, actually, what I said was “Well, as an example, when I cook, I like to cook a meal that can feed 10 people and is healthy, but which doesn’t ever take more than hour. I specifically don’t try to make some elite meal that takes 4 hours to make and only feeds two people. I don’t see the point. Similarly, when I work out, I do a lot of basic exercises that seem to work well for me, but they aren’t all that complicated and they probably don’t work a lot of particular muscle groups in ways that other exercises do.”
This was a story. A kind of story… on many different levels.
1. It was a story for my friend about me–about what I do, but also what I claim to believe in.
2. It was also a story for me–it was a way of trying to express things that I believe and that I do in a way that makes sense to me…
Going deeper, however, I have been thinking about that second narrative element. Specifically, I wondered about what it really meant that I was portraying myself as trying to act like a “smart peasant” when I did these things. What meanings was I trying to incorporate by using those terms? Now.. I know what I understand under those terms–and maybe my friend understood them also as I did–but maybe not.
I do know that this kind of portrayal–this kind of narrative–is common in my own self perceptions of who I am. It is not an entire picture of myself–for as I’ve noted before… I contain multitudes–but it is one of the more common avatars/masks that I like to use to describe myself. Another common construct is the idea of the noble intellectual who gets involved in leading the revolution. Such a picture, which is equally romantic/idealistic/fanciful, has always been favored by me for various silly reasons. Part of me will tell myself a story about how this fits because 1/4 of my ancestors were O’Dowds–and that this clan can legitimately trace itself back over 1000 years to a group that were one of the 7 kings of Ireland. This story also then ties in the fact that my blessed life has allowed and encouraged me to be one of the lucky few who has gotten more education than is ever necessary, but which I have long enjoyed–while simultaneously making me feel both distant to many of the inhabitants of that ivory towered realm and more at home with much less educated folk who I can much more easily bond and relax with.
I tell myself that story a lot… and while it does connect to reality in various points–it is still just a story.. and a rather romantic one at that..
In any case–these are obviously just two stories that color in but a few of the vast numbers of facets that make up this particular conscious meat puppet. There are obviously so many other stories to tell about me… stories that I tell about myself and to myself, and stories that others would tell.
So… what is your story? Tell me who you are–at least who you are at this moment? It will change–but this story will be part of your grander narrative.. and I would like to add to the book of you that I hold in my head.