"I've always liked the time before dawn because there's no one around to remind me who I'm supposed to be, so it's easier to remember who I am."
- Brian Andreas
I am moved by this quote "Before Dawn" by artist and storyteller Brian Andreas. It is so easy to become who others want you to be, and much more difficult to be true to who you really are. Who you are is not who others want you to be, but who you are because of others. I say this because we are who we surround ourselves with, the moments we experience, the places we see, and the tragedies we suffer. (this reminds me of two poems that I will reference at the end of this post). If we lived someplace else, in a different family, or with no family, we would be entirely different. Our own self is shaped by the life that we experience, both intentionally and unintentionally, purposefully and accidentally, by our choice and against our will. Only a small part of who we are is truly in our control, but that small part is often the most crucial. The part that takes ownership over our life and decides how to live, decides to love, decides to commit, decides to get out of bed each morning. It's easy to lose sight of this drive, this idea that it is up to you to be who you want to be today, to be who you are.
It's natural and normal to respond and react to different environments and different people in a slightly different way. There are certainly conversations you would have with a close friend that you would not have with a professional colleague. You dress differently in different environments, tell different jokes, share different stories... but who you are, what your values are, what is important to you, should remain clear, vibrant, and strong no matter who you are with, where you are, or what has been thrown in your path.
Decide who you want to be, but don't let it change who you are. Decide to love and let yourself be loved, but don't let love get in the way of what else is important to you. Allow love to fit into the life you want to live. Surround yourself with people who support who you are and help those who already love you to understand who you are and who you want to be so you can go foward with them, in harmony. Remind yourself each morning of who you are, where you came from, and where you're going, and ask yourself, "Does this life, this day, this decision allow WHO I AM to shine through?" Take time to remember who you are, when it's just you.
Poems referenced above:
Where Am I From by Nga http://witsblog.org/category/place/page/2/
and "I Am" by Sally Amaka Okafor http://www.pih.org.uk/features/poem_iam.html