Who am I?

College graduations are all around us. People are graduating and being told, “Welcome to the rest of your life.” They are being expected to chose who they are and what they want from life. They are pressured to find a job and be successful. Chose whether or not to spend around $100,000 more on graduate school or not. It is a lot. Yet, deciding who you are and what you want to be does not start at graduation. Yes, graduation, I am including high school as well. No society as us deciding who we are before this. Even before high school. Growing up, some of my most distinct memories of the school include being in elementary and being told I need to work hard because life only gets harder. Being told that I need to work hard to get into the gifted program. This would set me up the best for middle school. I need to do well in High school, for I can go to college and be happy. Yes, happy. Eight year old me feared this because see eight-year-old I viewed happiness and being loved. So in my head, I determined that if I failed at school, I would not be loved. I remember vividly what I can only equate to my first ever panic attack. I was in third grade. I received a 3 in reading. Now for everyone who had standard elementary school grading, this meant I had a B. Yes, a B. Cue water work. Cue not being able to breathe. My parents at a loss because their child is screaming that she will never be happy. She won’t be in college. No one will ever love her. Fast forward to today, my parents retell this story as me being a child, an overachiever from the beginning. That’s how they knew I would succeed. Sadly, I do not view it the same way. For me, this fear developed into a compulsion where I saw my self-worth with my grades. I considered my self-worth with the approval of others. I needed to be the best. I needed people to view me as smart and talented and kind and funny and bright, and …. its a never-ending list. I see a B or anything lower, and I feel worthless. I feel like I have failed. Friends tell me they are proud, but their words mean nothing because I know. I know the truth. I know that I have failed. That is who I am. I am a failure. When I do finally see that A, that fantastic, perfect A is then can begin to wonder who am I. What is it I want to do? I have succeeded, which means I am worthy of going to college. I am worthy of it. I tell my family that I want to be a teacher. I want to make sure kids grow up knowing that a letter, a number should not define you. Yes, I know I am a hypocrite, but my intentions are good. No child should have this monster hanging over them. This gut-wrenching fear that they are worthless because they got the second letter of the alphabet. Sadly, I am met with resistance. I am told that if I become a teacher, I will never be respected. I am told that my life will be nothing but trouble and drama. I am told I will not be happy. Happy. There it is again. Happiness. The one thing that should make life worth it turned into a weapon. A weapon that only leads to fear. Is happiness fear?
I listened to these threats. I chose to follow my second choice. But that is okay because I am happy. Happy. Happy with my second choice. I am lucky. I should be thankful I have the opportunity to have a second choice. And no, I do not say that with sarcasm or pain or anything. No, I am genuinely mean this. It is a privilege to be able to say no, I am this. I do realize this. Growing up, I had friends who did not have the ability to have time for 5 AP classes. No, they had to work two jobs and support themselves and their family. I had friends who woke up early, worked, went to school, then worked. Doing homework in between classes. They did not receive that A. In the eyes of the school, these kids were not going to succeed. They were not…smart. To me, though, they were brilliant. See, these kids would do all this and still get B’s or C’s in all their classes. They would work their butts off trying to make sure that they might yet have a chance for college. To me, they were brilliant. To the school, they were dumb, troublemakers, rule-breakers. That’s who they were. If you were to ask them, they would say they were whatever the school had decided to label them. Their identity was tied to the school.
I know I have rambled on and on. But my point in this all is that our identities are rarely every crafted by our own hands. They are crafted by those around us. They are crafted by fear, survival, necessity, but never by us. Who we are is told to us our whole lives. Then we are asked to chose who we are and what we want to do. We are met with resistance if we try and stray from their predetermined idealizations for us. Who we are is not something that can be asked and answered with honest intent. This is something that we must work to untangle and find ourselves past what is being told to us, past our emotions. Who we are can be answered, but it is not something that four years of college can answer. It is something that we have to work on. It takes time. But one day, I hope to be able to look myself in the mirror and tell myself who I truly am.

Published by Kathrine

Emergency Room Nurse spends too much time thinking, reflecting, and over-analyzing every detail of life. Hoping to one day figure it all out.

4 thoughts on “Who am I?

  1. I would like to thank you for the efforts you’ve put in penning this website.

    I’m hoping to see the same high-grade content from you later on as well.
    In truth, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my
    own website now 😉

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: