Self Definition: "Who Are You?"

How appropriate! I just saw the much missed Tally is back, and here I’m doing a blog prompted by my recent viewing of a Buffy. It’s the one in which Riley comes back to Sunnydale, and Buffy’s working at the Double Meat Palace and feeling all down on herself because she’s not in heaven anymore (well, that’s a good reason to feel a bit blue), she’s having sex with Spike (why that should be a problem, I’ll never know), and she’s in a general state of “who the heck am I and why am I here?” Towards the end of the episode, she says something to Riley about his perfect life with his new wife and her (Buffy) having that lingering and very hilarious Double Meat grease smell clinging to her and sleeping with the evil dead guy, and then Riley tells her that she’s the first woman he ever loved, the strongest woman he’s ever known, and that none of the rest of that can touch her, who she is. Sigh. So after I wiped away a small tear, I got to thinking about this concept of who I am.

When people are asked “Who are you?”, not that this happens unless you’re banging on someone’s door in the dead of night, but you know what I mean, it seems that the main answer is usually about their profession or work: I’m a lawyer, a plumber, a teacher, a carpet installer, a data entry tech, etc. When it’s not their work, it seems the answer centers on their role in someone else’s life: I’m so and so’s wife, mother, bitch, lover (oh, wait, those last two were Meredith Brooks). Or for you guys (though for some reason guys don’t seem to self-define this way as often): husband, father, brother, etc.

Some people identify with a certain religion: I’m a Christian, Moslem, Jew. Or perhaps by their political affiliation: I’m a Democrat, a Republican, an Independent, a Rainbow Green (or is it Green Rainbow?). Some people identify themselves as a gendered or racial whatever: I’m a white/black/Asian/Hispanic/etc. [fill in the blank] or I’m a woman/man/hermaphrodite and [fill in the blank].

I find these means of self definition very interesting as a whole; I mean the way people answer that question says so much about who they are and how they see themselves, in ways that go beyond the mere “I’m a plumber” statement. I’ve answered that question a number of ways in a number of situations, and on reflection, it usually depended not so much on my audience or circumstance (am I meeting someone at a party? online? at work? etc.) but on my own focus and frame of mind at the time. And how I do that, what I say in answer to that question, almost never touches who I am.


12 thoughts on “Self Definition: "Who Are You?"

  1. Hmmm…who and I….good question…and easy to answer…..Amber takes a deep breath, lifts her head proudly and says….” I am Whatever!!!!!”

    …Like you didn’t see that one coming…LMAO!! Sorry I am not serious or philosophical today….

  2. Aw, at the very least, Amber, I expected and looked forward to a bit of Buffy bashing on your part! Oh well, maybe tomorrow. Huggs BBB

  3. Very intereting read thanks Fuzzy. I probably couldn’t give you an answer to that one and I always hated the question at interviews when they said “so tell us a bit about yourself” I mean what is interesting about your life, what you think is interesting might bore the pants of someone else and who are we to define who is more interesting anyway? Certainly got me thinking today. I needed to wake up the old brain cells! Hugs to you mate. xxxx

  4. Such a simple question to ask but difficult to answer! There is how you see yourself, and then there is what others think you are. Are we supposed to blend the two together for a complete answer, or is the truth out there somewhere? lol Seriously though, even a single individual cannot simply be summed up “in three words or less.” Otherwise, you are not getting the whole picture of the individual. We are too complex for our own good, it seems. ;-p

    I am still finding out who I am, and it is a continuing process especially because we are always changing.

    I admit, I was looking foward to some Buffy bashing. :p

  5. Is this anyway to start the New Year??? rather to end the OLD YEAR? Yes for it is good to reflect on ourslves and what we have become or lost….blah blah.
    I think most people of a free country must define themselves in order to maintain their distinction of individuality. As the world turns faster and time squeeses us to a constant rush we sometimes lose who we are and where we really want to go. Hanging tags helps those of us in need of being able to identify with reality @ home. We need to be able to tell ourselves apart. Some need it to place ourselves above others so we won’t feel that we are at the bottom of the pile.
    The real individual knows that those labels are unnescessary because we are different and everyone is unique. Good or bad we can appreciate that individualism of each and every person. It makes us capabile of real love and compassion. And as Ceres said we are ever “changing” and we can adapt to most anything where the non individual can never adapt.
    Have I managed to wind you up and around asking what the hell is this guy saying?????? Weel the answer is easy….BLAH BLAH BLAH…..
    Be safe tonight, I’d like to keep you around.

  6. You know when I asked myself “Who am I?. The first thing that came to my mind was. I am a wife, Mother, and friend. I quess religion did not even come to mind. Things like color and work do not even enter my mind when that question is asked. I quess I think of the most important parts of my life.

  7. Hey Snuggles, I know just what you mean about that “tell us about yourself” thing; it’s uncomfortable on job interviews and on dates, too! Shudder. Glad, though, to get you thinking. Huggs.

    Hehe, Ceres, the truth is out there, huh? Teehee. You are so right about us being complex and ever-changing, and that does make it difficult to say who we are or even to know who we are ourselves, let alone tell someone else! Oh, and if Amber doesn’t come through with the Buffy bashing, and you feel so inclined, by all means . . . 🙂 Huggs, Intelligent Ceres.

    Despite the colorful decorating on my page, Heyman, I’m not much of a New Years person, and in fact, do most of my reflection at birthdays or just whenever, so I didn’t even think of this post as an ending to the year. I would have come up with something much more mushy and sentimental if that were the case!! LOL Labels are convenient for some, necessary for others, and anathema to still others. I’m sure there are many other things labels “are.” Thanks for popping in, and for the safe wishes. Right back at you.

    When I was typing that line about the wife and mother, Bert, I thought of you! Smiles. I hope you’re having a good night at work! Huggs to you.

  8. I know who I am, within, without even having to think consciously about it. All the rest is just noise. How other people view me is up to them. They must work out for themselves who I am. It’s all subjective. Each person will see me from their own perspective. Some will like me, some won’t. There’s nothing I can do to change that, so I just accept it and get on with life.

  9. That’s intense, Mitch, but oh, how I admire your certainty! So how did you come to this knowledge of yourself within? I’m sure you could write a book and sell millions of copy and be super wealthy and then a jet setter who sees the world if you’d but sell your secrets! Wink.

  10. *copies, even (need coffee. Now. And not that instant crap you insist on drinking against all that’s logical and holy. LOL)

  11. You know I am going through this same line of thinking and really hate the question as I just don’t think you can accurately describe someone in a few words. Maybe you can throw out some good adjectives, but like Mitch said, others will have their own opinion of you and then there is no way one person is going to know “everything” about you.

  12. Oh, that’s so very true, Pris; even the people closest to us remain mysteries, don’t they? I don’t claim to “know” anyone. Most people don’t know themselves (well, except our Mitch), so how could anyone else possibly know them? It’s all fun to consider, I think. I do know that I’m in the midst of wondering about a change of careers, and that’s led me to question a lot about who I thought I was. Guess that’s where this all comes from in part. Thanks, Pris, as always, you say just the thing to clarify complex issues in my mind. You rock!

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