Jessica Wildfire

We perform different selves for different people. Your coworkers see one side of you. Your friends another. Your lovers still another. You’re all of these, and none of these — all at the same time.

You can understand yourself in lots of ways. Your job does say something about you. So do your habits. And your likes and dislikes. Your fashion sense. The way you talk. You’re the sum of all that, plus what different people think about you.

Don’t waste your life trying to construct the full picture.

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One Response to Jessica Wildfire

  1. shinichi says:

    You Don’t Need to Find Yourself

    Nobody ever reaches complete self-awareness.

    by Jessica Wildfire

    https://medium.com/@JessicaLexicus/you-dont-need-to-find-yourself-df1be77e95ae

    When I was a kid, my mom used to lock me in my room for hours. “Don’t come out until you can define yourself,” she’d say. Every afternoon, she quizzed me on my identity. I was eight.

    After a week of futile efforts, she gave up.

    We never talked about it again. My failure to describe myself became just one more disappointment.

    Self discovery. The journey inside. Uncovering your identity. And other bullshit. We’ve all heard someone talk like this before. Maybe a few. They’re going to travel the world.

    Get in touch with themselves.

    That’s great. Sure, you can probably learn more about yourself by spending some time in another city.

    Breaking out of your comfort zone.

    Spending some time in quiet reflection.

    But you can do that anywhere. Your identity — whatever you think that is — doesn’t live in the mountains. Or the beach. You can’t buy it for $29.95. And you definitely won’t discover it at an airport bookstore.

    You’re not a clever sentence. Or a paragraph. Or a profile picture with rabbit ears.
    You’re not going to walk up to yourself at a resort, or some yoga retreat, and make an introduction. You’re right here. Granted, it’s hard to put yourself into words. Here’s the thing: Who says you need to?

    A lot of us have fallen into the profile trap. Apps like Tinder and Facebook want us to write engaging descriptions of ourselves. But you’re not a clever sentence. Or even a paragraph.

    We can leave clues about our identities, but that’s it.

    We’re always evolving. That makes it hard to pin ourselves down. You don’t even know how much your personality changes from one year to the next. The changes come in increments.

    Your identity is a glacier. It moves a few inches a year. You’ll barely notice. Connect with an old friend, and they’re bound to see differences.
    We perform different selves for different people. Your coworkers see one side of you. Your friends another. Your lovers still another. You’re all of these, and none of these — all at the same time.

    We like to think of ourselves as consistent, but we’re not. We have moods and states of mind. Catch someone in a bad mood, and they might act like a completely different person.

    Everyone should try to understand themselves better. But that’s not a one-off. You don’t hike the Appalachian Trail, discover yourself at a peek, and then spend the rest of your life in blissful self-awareness.

    Sometimes, self discovery feels like shit. It happens whether you want it to or not. You can hide from it, or bury what you know, but the day you stop discovering yourself is the day you die.
    You’ll engage in a process that goes on for your entire life. Sometimes, self discovery sucks. It happens in cheap motel rooms, or rest stops on trips you didn’t want to go on.

    Recently, I’ve learned that I don’t like traveling as much as I used to. It turns me into a cranky, miserable bitch. Maybe in a few years I’ll enjoy it again — like I used to. Right now, I’m kind of a homebody.

    I used to be a real troublemaker. A fun weekend for me involved trespassing onto abandoned prisons and ghost hunting in old asylums and sanitariums. Bonus points if I could get drunk and break someone’s heart.

    That’s not me these days. I’m boring now.

    What are you like on a shitty Monday morning, or when your boss asks you to work late? What about when your spouse forgets your birthday, or your friend drops your smartphone in the pool?
    You might learn the most about yourself during the least interesting or satisfying periods of your life. What are you like when you don’t get what you want? Try that question.

    You’re always learning about yourself — not always comfortable truths. You might say, “I’m the kind of person who doesn’t take any bull shit.” If you’re honest, that might also mean you’re kind of a bitch.

    You can’t poke and prod yourself too hard for meaning. Your identity isn’t going to come gushing out in a paragraph of beautiful prose one day. You find it in bits and pieces, scattered.
    I’ve watched two people become obsessed with themselves. They both quit their jobs. Traveled. Loafed around.

    That can be a good thing. But these two went overboard. When they returned, you could tell nothing had changed.

    They were the same. Just more irritating. Because now they wanted to talk about all the epiphanies they were having.

    They’d send out mass texts. Crap like, “I just learned something incredibly important about myself.” So we would meet them up for drinks and listen to them ramble about their newfound need for companionship. Or something. Some of us cared. I showed up for the entertainment.

    I’m not saying I was a good person. Just that I didn’t feel the need to spend a thousand dollars to learn something about myself.

    But I enjoyed watching other people try.

    You’re really a 3D puzzle that’s been thrown out of an airplane over a desert. Don’t waste your life trying to reconstruct the full picture.
    Eventually, these people calmed down and did grow as human beings. But not until they stopped poking and prodding themselves for meaning. I’m not sure what made them cease their pointless quest.

    They just did. Maybe they saw their own hunger for attention in the mirror, and found another way to satisfy it.

    Now that’s what I’d call an important self discovery.

    You can understand yourself in lots of ways. Your job does say something about you. So do your habits. And your likes and dislikes. Your fashion sense. The way you talk. You’re the sum of all that, plus what different people think about you. But you’re really a 3D puzzle that’s been thrown out of an airplane over a desert. So am I. We could spend decades looking for pieces. We’ll probably never find them all, and that’s okay. Don’t waste your life trying to construct the full picture.

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