I am a human, and I define myself.
I define myself sometimes based on the things that make me uniquely human.
These qualities are so peculiar to my Homo sapiens species but they are so often ordinarily overlooked. We forget those very things are the idiosyncrasies that makes us who we are. Or we arbitrarily and meaninglessly decide they are who we are.
We are quiet, or loud, or funny, or thoughtful, or rude, or kind, or gregarious, or timid, or awkward, or weird, or friendly, or any of the infinite characteristics we assign to those things we call humans. We assign them to ourselves but are they truly what we really are? Are they what makes us unique or are they what we think others think we are?
Are we truly lovers of certain things and haters of others? Can we even decide what we love or are we predetermined to love certain things more than others? Are we inclined towards areas of life based on past experiences, or based on a given Gift? Do we even truly like what we like and enjoy what we enjoy or are we self consumed by the idea of what we like and enjoy. If we were isolated on an island, alone, severed from all social contact and interpersonal communications, would we still assume the identities we have today? Would we like what we do and say what we do and love what we do?
I can certainly guarantee I would not wear high heels if I were to be on an island alone. I would not modify my speech or alter what I say if I were in isolation. I would not put on makeup, and I would not judge myself based on the perception of others. I would most likely lounge around all day, carelessly, without an indulgence of any of the things that make me human. My body would feel the same pleasures as those of a cat or a dog. I would likely eat all I want and lie down whenever I feel. I doubt I would engage in intellectual conversation with myself or challenge my own thoughts in the ways I can do with other humans. I would be reduced to a mere animal, living provocatively in the ways in which animals reside with each other. I would not be human.
So on one hand our perceptions of ourselves in the eyes of others can cause great disruptions into the reality of who we are and what we love. We should examine so carefully the things we choose to pursue and the values we choose to display. Our words should articulate the thoughts we ourselves think and not simply mirror the words that others are casting out. We should ask ourselves, do I love what I love because of true love or is it a construct designed to fool others into believing I am what I portray? Scary questions are sometimes of necessity. We should be who we are because of divine design and self reflection. Not social pressures and peer affection.
On another level, society aids in helping us decide who we are and what we should be. Maybe on a larger level society is viewed as an impairment for individuality, but it cannot be denied that personal interactions help cultivate a sense of purpose and passion. If we were in isolation on an island, we would feel the same pleasures that a cow feels or a dog feels but we would be despaired of the beauty that conversation can supply or thoughts can exchange. We can learn so much from others. College has taught me this in a profound way. I have learned more about myself by being surrounded by individuals who are brilliant, passionate, unique, and bold. I have grown to understand more (because I don’t think I’ll never understand it all) of who I am and what I love and why I love. People are bodies full of intent, ideas, and passion. And I am happy I don’t live on an island where I am restricted from tapping into those revered and precious resources.
But sometimes, I do live on an island. And I love it there. And I find myself there and I think there, and I truly grow there. I learn on that island with my thoughts and my desires. But then I come back, and I get to exchange what I’ve learned. And I get to see powerful qualities being displayed in those around me. And I get to enjoy seeing people chase their passions and follow their dreams. And somehow, someway, in the middle of all of this, I find the ways I am purely human and I exercise them. And I think, and I learn, and I grow. I find what I love in these places. And for that, I’m thankful.