Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Who are you?

Karl Bakla often makes me think. He was talking about how we define ourselves, and in particular how some people define themselves by their jobs. There are other things I've noticed people see as defining: looks, music, clothes - its rather sad. These things have nothing to do with who one is.

Have you ever read pen friend ads? Many of them will say something like 'I'm a normal person with a good sense of humor. I am nice and I like to have fun. I am x years old.' Somehow, I find this kind of thing rather sad too. The problem with self-definition, though, is that its not easy to do.

Here's my attempt:

I am a bit of everything, but some things more than others.
I try very hard not to be normal because there are enough people already trying to be normal even though 'normal' is a theoretical state that no-one actually attains.
I am definitely NOT average. I'm either awful or brilliant. Do not contradict this, or I will be cross.
I have a talent for happiness, but I do like a good mope now and then.
I seldom lose my temper, but rare individuals have a knack for setting it off. It is better that I avoid them.
I have difficulty in making decisions, but when I do, I become extremely stubborn.
I am scatter-brained and I adore being called 'eccentric' even though the same people probably call me 'mad' behind my back.
Sometimes, I am a silly sausage.

Whew. I think that's as good as its going to get. I doubt you know me any better than you did before, though. Anyone else care to try?

Today's pic: on the farm after the rain. I like the farm, but it doesn't define me.


  1. You forgot about how you like walks on the beach and men who aren't afraid to cry.

    I like hot Asian women.

  2. I don't find it sad that people define themselves by their looks or likes. I will admit to smirking when someone is a walking, talking advertisement- but that is my own bias. It is sad however when we judge people by those very things- because as you and Karl both point out, we are not those things (in and of themselves).

    Unlike Grant, I'm not particularly attracted to hot Asian women, although I think they are very pretty. Men who cry don't really work for me either. Don't get me wrong- a tear or two is fine, but beyond that, keep it wrapped up buster. Walks on the beach are very nice, but since I don't live near one, it doesn't make my self definition list.

    I like to eat cookies. I like to wear baggy shorts and t-shirts with the sleeves cut out. A cat hair in my food doesn't phase me, because if it did, I would never eat. With that, everything else about me can be extrapolated.

    MM- You are definitely brilliant. :-))

  3. if I was to describe me: I am much like a toaster, some times my toast is cold, sometimes my toast comes out burnt and sometimes my toast is just right, but, if you smother my toast in jam and drink lots of milk, you will find me most times enjoyable... :)


  4. It's funny you write about identity now, I am learning about what rhetoricians think of identity and the identity issue that you and others (and me too!) who enjoy being not normal find frustrating is what one rhetorician calls the "readymade identity". It's that mold that you're "supposed" to fit into...the person your job wants you to be, the person your parents want you to become, the person that you are expected to be based on a readymade identity designed by someone else.

    If I could wish that away from this world I would.

  5. I'm trying to figure out if I do define myself by my job. I think I kind of do, and I don't think that's all bad. It depends on your job and why you do it. I'm a teacher. I've done lots of stuff, but I haven't had many other jobs that I would want to define me. And this would only be a partial definition. But a big part.

    @MM-I think this goes really well with your manual.

    and @Average Girl-I like the relaxed spunk in your short piece.

  6. I have to admit I do consider myself as a punk rocker but that's a tongue in cheek way of saying I question everything, I love aggressive music, I am down for D.I.Y.! Now that I think of it usually when I label myself it's somewhat true but partially a joke.

    I think the bad things with labeling people is if you hate someone because of a label. "F#$%, that guy he is a (fill in the blank)" but a label can be nice when you tell someone "Big Jim is a cool dude, you might want to talk to him you guys are both outlaw bikers"

  7. Nice to see Ajax brought the word "identity" into the mix. My thoughts: How we identify ourselves if often way different from the way others identify us. In these days of intense cradle-to-grave marketing we're identified by others by the - yes, the job we have. But often it's also by the car we drive, the logo we have on our shoes, jeans, and tee-shirts, the brand of the glasses we wear, the corn-flakes we eat, the wine and beer we drink.
    However, we may identify ourselves differently. By the questions we ask, the way we love our friends and family, the books we read, the music we enjoy, the people / person we sleep with.
    There was a chap who - so it's rumoured - lived a couple of thousand years ago. When he was asked his identity, he said "I am who am". I've yet to hear a better self-description for someone who is entirley comfortable in his own sandals.
    Please note that while I am an atheist, I still read the entire Bible once every four or five years - just as I read the Qu'ran, and the Bhagavad Vita, which I have hopelessly mis-spelled. Apologies to believers.

  8. What a marvelous response from all of you!

    Grant: right! So that's my next blog post. For the other bit, I like walks in the forest best, although the beach is close by. I get very excited when my master gets the leash out.

    PAMO: marvelous. If I know you better from your description, then I only like you more. Thought of you whilst stroking the office cat and getting his hair all over a colleague's desk after everyone had gone home this eve. Twelve hour day - but a cat is SO refreshing. Not sure how my office-mate will like the cat hair:)

    Average girl who is not average: nice one! Now I want toast!

    Ajax! I'm with you! I'm so put off by 'ready-made' identities that I often do things the hard way, just because I know something else is 'expected'. Trouble with the road least traveled is that it sometimes leads off a cliff!

    MAS: I can understand how being a teacher can become a huge part of one's identity - or perhaps its your identity that MADE you a teacher! You need patience, the ability to handle crises, good communication skills and so much more. A good teacher is greatly to be admired.

    Karl: Labels are unavoidable, and being a punk rocker sounds much more fun than being an accountant for instance! Yes, its not all bad.

    Aotea Writer: The very best description I ever did of myself was 'I am everything and nothing' but I thought it a tad pretentious though brief. 'I am who I am' is a good one - perhaps I should adopt it even though I wear safety boots instead of sandals! Thanks for sharing your thoughtful thoughts and insightful insights. Your comments are valued.