What does it mean to be me?
It may sound like a self-explanatory question, even tautological in some senses, but the truth is that this question has eluded me my entire life, maybe because I’m thinking too hard, maybe not enough, but I have struggled with that since I can remember. The self is not something one should take for granted even though we are indeed the answer: I am. Do not be fooled, I’m still searching for the meaning of it all. God knows I give myself harder moments than any other person have tried to since I can remember: I want to be the best version of myself and the fact that I fail to grasp myself as I would desire it to be bothers me more than often.
My early days are blurry to me and I’m not ashamed to admit that in front of you. I bet most of you remember how it was to be young, really young, what it was to embrace your childhood moods, passions and desires. You probably had fantasies and maybe dreams, and maybe you got to know you better with the moving time making teeth fall and teeth grow, rapidly. I bet you can still think of those days and live it all over again. I think I can’t. I’m not saying that I cannot recall anything from my childhood, of course I can, but the opaqueness of it all makes it so difficult that when people ask me about our early facts that we share together, I tend to nod whilst feeling a strange feeling of a not-quite-a-déjà-vu. Even though I am surely not a psychologist nor a psychoanalyst, I’m convinced that the way I presented myself to the world since my early stages in life worked as a dimming mechanism of those years that so many people cherish. The reason for that unscientific theory is that I lacked elemental human composites like profound desire, will and self-awareness. As a kid, I only had two interests in life: videogames and the inner necessity to watch others exist. Ask anyone who knows me from that period and they will probably say that they knew about the former and could not possibly see the latter in my behavior, which is understandable when you take into consideration the fact that I was a boy who spoke only if needed to and that hid behind his games and long silences.
It is difficult to explain myself to you. As a young boy, the feeling that I can still acknowledge as mine is the feeling of wanting to have a peaceful existence and that others didn’t interfere with that sensation. in any case, I will admit that at that age span I was not a good person, I could not even say I was bad because I neglected life in society as much as I could. I had siblings and a cheerful family, I had friends, I had parents that loved me and money to compensate for any need a youngster may have. I have thought about this fact for so long, this so called self-induced ‘amnesia’ and it all arrives to the same place: when your inner truth does not burn your chest enough, when your fire is almost extinguished or low-flamed, when you fail to realise that as a human being, you are entitled to your existence and that your existence comprehends a myriad of situations, feelings, thoughts, wantings, longuings, of youness, when you refuse to acknowledge it all, days become years and you are attached to so few of them that you just forget because you were not really paying attention. I have problems to pay attention to life, back then and now in the present, let’s just agree that I have been paying attention that I have not been paying attention, which is indeed something to be proud of, at least to me.
That absence in my own life created a series of gaps that fragmented my self-awareness as well as a healthy development of one’s personality; it’s funny to say that I have taken a long time to figure out how I really am and I’m still clueless about how others perceive me, even though teachers, parents and some books say it is not important, I think it is colorful to be aware of things like that in one’s life. Childhood faded away with the arrival of teenage years, those years of fundamental changes for everyone of us, including me, yes. I can recall those years way better than any other year from my childhood, and it is not only related to the fact that I was older, or that that was ten years ago and not fifteen. I truly learned what it was to feel, to desire and to share. I discovered music, which was to me holier than the Bible, inducing me into a state of drive, of rediscovering. I discovered books and philosophy and my mind opened up a few inches as well as my inner self did, and I could feel the mutations. I fell in love for a lifetime and got to know the beginning of every pain and of every pleasure of human existence, dear merciless and beautiful thing called love. I started to live, to really live, and if my life acted as tetris, each of those gaps I created in my inner self commenced to vibrate voraciously, trying to make those misplaced pieces fit my soul, asking myself over and over again that unanswerable question: who am I?
It was in those early years of teenagehood that I understood I had a long journey to accomplish, that I had a responsibility towards myself, which was to get to know me so I could learn how to love myself. The thing is, it was the other way around; I understood much later that in fact love came first so understanding may arrive at my door, but I was young, once again. As many other teenagers, the ocean that my life was, so calm and colorless as it may appear at first changed: it was turbulent, opaque and filled with waves I didn’t know existed accompanied with whirlpooling feelings of realisation. I was: typhoon of breathing paradigms. You all know this story, some of you have experienced it personally, some of you through your loved ones, but those waves and winds had names likes ‘depression’, ‘anxiety disorders’, ‘insomnia’ and some, ‘suicidal tendencies’. I have drowned under those waters and then stick my head out to breathe for a second and plonge back again, over and over. It’s the sea, one can’t expect it to be calm overnight, or could you? But it did eventually, because I made it happen, because I was tired of feeling overwhelmed and forced myself to learn how to swim. Resuming all these situations and feelings in lines feels almost wrong, because if you have felt at least a bit like I have, you know that the true story takes years to explain, and maybe a proper book that does not necessarily need to be self-help related.
I was not prepared to be an adult, I think no one really is, but from the moment I realised youngsters saw me as a ‘sir’, that the same boy I was could not be reflected on my face or height (even though I’m not really tall), I realised that a part of that path I chose had being walked, towards something. I still do not really know who I am, I just know how I look and I’m pretty good at recognising myself while looking at pictures. But being honest, I do have a clearer sense of what it means to be me; I know that even though I’m not sure about anything that regards my existence, if I’m not truthfully kind, I want to be kind, that even though I’m not sure if I deserve success, I want my passions to be a great deal in my day-to-day life, which means that I’m passionate about things, which means that I’m not only the same boy I was playing Pokemon Blue on his Gameboy Color. I know that I’m still afraid to let myself be a provider of causality in social life, that I have issues letting people know if I agree or disagree with something that eventually will have an effect on me. I know I should not be afraid of making people feel angry, or sad or happy because something I did or do, that if I refuse to choose it could make them feel angry or sad only out of disappointment, because I can’t pretend I don’t exist like I did long time ago, even though things seem to feel easier that way and that ending up being only an illusion.
What does it mean to be me? I think I know the answer wordlessly, I think I do not dare to answer it because it is indeed an affirmation that I am not used to endeavor. I want to believe my achievements are not over, not yet, and that the path I have taken will be one that will take me towards myself, because I want to know me better and stop pretending to be playing tetris with my own heart-