Who are you? Are you flesh and bone? That’s what it is to be human, isn’t it? To inhabit a body like this. That’s how I identify that you’re human and my dog isn’t. You look like a person. It’s obvious.
But what if you’re not what I think you are? Let’s break it down.
Are you the skin that keeps all your innards wrapped up tight and cozy? You’ve definitely looked in the mirror at some point and identified with that skin. You’ve said I’m too fat or I’m pretty or I’m ugly. That skin, it changes. Every day it’s different; from smooth to rough to wrinkled, it’s a constant process that leaves no opportunity for us to stop and say, this is me. The moment we say that, this has already changed again.
Do you feel as changeable as your skin? Or is there something more constant lying behind that permeable barrier? For me, my image in the mirror says one thing, and the deep sense of who I am says something else.
Are you your moods and emotions? Do they define you? Do they make you who you are? Or are they a response to who you think you are and your situation? Are they cause or effect? I have so many moods, so many emotions, that if that was who I was, then I would be indefinable.
What about thoughts? You are what you think, right? Again, how many thoughts do you have in a day? Have you ever found yourself thinking that you need to do something, and seconds later forgetting what it was? You know what got in the way of that thought? More thoughts! Those things come at us faster and harder than a freight train. Notice. Do you come up with all those thoughts by yourself, or do they just arise? If it’s the former, that must be hard work. If it’s the latter, then how are they yours? How are they you?
Maybe it’s not any one of these things, but all of them? You are the combination of your body, your emotions, and your thoughts. Really? You’re a walking, talking chaos factory? If that works for you, fine. Personally, I have a little difficulty reconciling all that constant motion with the still wisdom I sometimes find within me, when I somehow close that torrential faucet of perpetual thoughts and feelings.
These fingers, they type this, but who is the typist? Can I proudly claim Jamie writes these words when I can’t even pinpoint who Jamie is? Fortunately, no. You might not like it; you may think this is garbage. Hey, you may be right. If I identify this writing as mine, then that’s going to hurt. Similarly, if you do like it, and I’ve identified with it, then my writing becomes part of who I am. How is that even possible? Words on a screen, that is all this is. Words are not who I am. Words are at best a means to connect, nothing more. Again, cause and effect: words are but a symptom of who we are.
So, who are you? Are there even words to say?