You might be wondering why I’m typing out a spoken word and not actually speaking it. Well honestly I don’t have the time to record a spoken word right now!
Society forces us to figure out who we are as individuals. We are constantly told to try and be unique while fighting the urge to fit in. We are given guides on self reflection and told that we should know who we are by now. But what truly defines a person? The spoken word I wrote explores this topic, and addresses the question that seems to be especially prominent in our teenage years. We live in the height of self discovery, where we realize new passions and interests. Where we explore new friends and attitudes and outfit choices, all to figure out who we are and where we belong. But what if it were easier than that? So here it is, “Who Am I”.
When you’re born you are given a name. One name to define you. Written and signed on a now faded piece of paper, stamped by the government. An official seal saying, yes Laura, your name is Laura. Therefore we know who you are. So now when someone asks who you are, you reply that name. The letters and sounds strung together that once pronounced in the proper way, differentiate you from everyone else. Unless of course you get stuck in that class with twelve other kids named ” John” and suddenly, it’s a lot less clear.
Growing up is hard enough already. Its hard enough to deal with peer pressure, bullies, grades, teachers, friends, or so called ones. It’s hard enough without having to throw a big question mark above our heads screaming yes world, this girl is confused. Thrown into a world where happiness is not gained, but discovered. A world of lies, of conflict, of hurt. A world where the biggest struggle is no longer what type of cake to have at your birthday party or what movie to watch. A world where pain is no longer scraped knees and bruised elbows. A world of 7 billion where “Laura” is just another name, a number.
Eventually we reach our teenage days. Bright red zits and an awkward body that seems to be changing with the moon. A raging tidal wave of hormones and to top it off, the onset of an identity crisis. “Who am I?” we wonder. Are we our names? Are we defined by our minds or our spirits? Our abilities to laugh or think or feel love, joy, pain? Are we defined by our exterior motives or interior drives? A time where we are told to achieve, to dream, to hope. Where we strive for our hardest and when you can’t push anymore you keep pushing.
You are balancing on a tightrope, trying to fit in everything in a 24 hour day; school, work, family, friends, homework, chores, school, work, family, friends, homework, chores, school, work- but where is the time for me? How could we ever know who we are if we never spend time with ourselves? If you never take a moment for you? “But Laura, I don’t have time”. You have a life time to do everything else, but what’s the point when you can’t even make time for yourself? When the thought of you is but a distant shadow. When you can’t recognize your own reflection because you don’t know who that person staring back at you is. “That’s not me,” you’ll say. “I am thinner, I have brighter skin, my hair is thicker, I don’t have bags under my eyes. Not like that”. Stop. Because how would you know?
We live in a world of self-abuse, self-hatred, self-torture. Where our youth are sent away for starving themselves, hurting themselves, sometimes for being themselves. We live in a world of clouds and storms, fighting to get through. But what if I asked you to find the sunshine? If I asked you to push above the clouds, close your eyes, stretch your fingers, and feel the warmth? We spend our lives so unsure, roaming around trying to find peace when we don’t realize we are walking in circles. We look outwards to answer our hardest questions when we really should be looking in.
What if I said you weren’t defined by your actions, your words, your interests, successes and failures? Would you hesitate, would you be unsure? Why can’t we be confident and say I will, I could be, I am?
I am a daughter, I am a swimmer. I am a leader, I am strong, I am kind. I am clumsy, I am worried, I am a social butterfly and I am a dreamer. I am a fighter. I am a survivor. I am not sure who I’m supposed to be. I may not be who you want me to be but I am me. And no one can take that away. No one. What if we no longer asked, but instead we answered. What if we took the question “who am I”, rearranged, and said this is “who I am”.
Who am I clip art from stumingames.com.