What does it even mean to “find yourself”?
Surely in order to find something, it has to be lost in the first place? Or missing, or absent somehow.
It’s a notion I reject, that you somehow can discover your inner immutable essence. As if it’s an unchanging mountain that sits within your mind waiting for you, the intrepid inner explorer, to scale the summit and finally conquer its mysteries.
I used to get very anxious about the fact that I don’t know who I am.
I wanted to be able to distil the essence of myself down to a paragraph, I wanted to know myself and by know, I mean fully comprehend all of my possibilities. As if I was some sort of text book that you could read and regurgitate at any time. I wanted to be a fixed equation – X will always = Y and this will never change.
I have never had a solid sense of my identity, when I try to crystallise what it means to be “me”, the thoughts seem to slip between my hands. Like soft sand, my self is an almost liquid substance. It shifts on a daily basis, moving from state to state, ever changing as I experience new things and come across new ideas.
Sometimes I am calm me, a person who loves muted palettes, long walks, early nights and soft pillows. Other times I am my manic self, looking to create bright splashes on the canvas, staying up all night to pursue a newly found hobby. I want to smash through myself to find new ways of being.
I exist in these two states of contentment and chaos, alongside many other modes of being, all within the bounds of an individual mind.
The reality is, in my experience anyway, that we are all complex and seemingly contradictory individuals.
We also change throughout our lives. I think of the 15 year old me and see her as a different person in so many ways.
No doubt in 10 years’ time, at the age of 35, I will look upon myself now as another being, with different feelings, priorities and experiences and so on, into old age, I will develop and alter.
Lives are rarely linear, we wind through our experiences with little real sense of direction (even if we think we are on some kind of predefined path, it is inevitably a construct of our own mind and therefore subject to the multiplicity of feelings that I have described above.)
Perhaps this view on the nature of the “self” will change. Developments in my life may lead me to determine that my identity is in fact fixed after all!