About a month ago, a fellow blogger and sweet friend, Ainewanders, wrote a post titled Concerning Identity. She is funny but thoughtful in her post, optimistically reminding readers that we all have value and we should all strive to find the core of who we are.
Thinking about how easy it is to feel lost when certain aspect of our lives fall through the cracks inspired me to think about the things that I do know about myself. (Although, let’s be honest, I don’t really need a whole lot of encouragement to over-analyze myself. That’s basically this whole blog’s m.o.)
That being said, I encourage you to think of at least 3 truths you hold to be self-evident. 3 positive things that you relate to, that you are proud of, and that —no matter the circumstances— you know you can hold onto to.
Here are some things that haven’t changed so far in my 25 years of life. To quote Sylvia Plath in The Bell Jar:
“I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.”
I was not raised to quit, and I have been privileged enough to have most of my family stay the same for much of my life. I realize this is lucky and isn’t the majority case, but I think it is why I hold on so tightly to the things that I love. To me loving is staying and fighting through problems, because when you’ve come so far you can’t stop now.
My loyalty makes it very hard for me to start new relationships, though. Everything I’ve known I have known for a long time, and so I tend to be distrustful of new things. I dislike flings, and don’t believe in passing fancies. It takes me a very long time to feel comfortable but once I am in, I am in for life*.
In the past I have stayed at jobs and stayed in places that I might not have loved because I loved someone I was doing it for. I like to travel, but doubt I could ever move away because this is where my family is. I am very deeply rooted, but I am learning to be more independent. I am learning that even old relationships can be unhealthy, and I am learning to love my own space.
Just like my devotion to those around me grew through examples, my hard head did as well. I think my steadfast desire to stay loyal bleeds into a lot of things that I do. I definitely don’t take “stubborn” as an insult, but I do know that I can be a bit of a boulder when I want something.
There’s this ring I wear every day; at certain angles it looks like octopus tentacles which is initially why I wanted it, but the design is actually supposed to be two ram horns. In high school I started making a pun out of my name turning rampage into rampaige whenever I felt determined. Thinking about rams butting heads is usually considered negative; two equally strong forces using all of their strength to make barely a difference, but I see that as inspiration. I think being stubborn just means you have an unshakable core strength, a fire in your belly, and a passion to get shit done. If you’re going to make your progress by bulldozing thorough things head-on, you at least want that head to be hard, right**?
I am learning, however, that sometimes things actually end up better when I don’t get my way, and that life has a tendency to work itself out. The hardest thing for me to do is let go, and not try to have some input or offer assistance. But forcing something just for the sake of being right, usually isn’t really right at all. And as hard as it is to convince myself of this, life is honestly so much more relaxing when you just let things, and people, be.
Maybe this is actually the root of it all, but every stubborn, overbearing, and smothering thing I do, I do because I feel a lot of love. I love love, and I care waaaay too much about other people’s feelings. I care when people hurt and I hurt when I can’t help them, but I’m learning sometimes the best help is to let them go. A little healthy space ensure that I also have space to love myself***.
I always try to put other people first, and do things for them that I think they will like. I love finding good presents for friends, putting effort into cooking a meal they like, sending silly things that remind me of them throughout the day, and making people laugh.
Honestly this all sounds very self-serving, but I really don’t ever want to do those things for praise. And really, in life, if you only do things for praise, you’re going to be let down. But I’ve seen that if you do things honestly for other people, just because you want to make them smile, it really will be a reward in itself.
There it is. 3 things I know about myself independent of anything else and unwavering no matter what life throws at me. That right there, is who I am.
It’s honestly a little scary to post this. Because anyone reading it could easily find some way to dispute it if they wanted. “Nu-uh, Paige. This one time you were really mean.” Blah, blah, blah. Honestly you could find plenty of times I was really mean if you wanted to. I’m a human. We make mistakes. But this is who I know I am, and I feel good about having it down in words.
Really, I encourage you to write down 3 things you love about yourself. For inspiration, I leave you with another one of my favorite Sylvia Plath quotes:
“There is nothing like puking with somebody to make you into old friends.”
― Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
*That’s what she said #1
**That’s what she said #2
***Aaaand that’s what she said #3