Who Are You? #scintilla

Who am I? I’ve been thinking about that question since I got the Scintilla email this morning and I don’t know that I’m any closer to answering it than I was the minute I read it.

Start big. Cis-gendered woman. Wife, daughter, sister, friend.

No one’s mother.

But what do those broad categories tell you about me?

When I turned thirty, I spent some time thinking about when I turned twenty, and how I’ve been three people since then. It was easy, then, to know exactly who I was. I wore an armor of the music I listened to, books I read, movies I watched, as if any of those things matter when looking into the heart of someone.

Okay, think back in time. What’s the identity I’ve held the longest? I was always the Smart One. Never the Pretty One. Until I wasn’t the only Smart One. Who do we become when our primary identity isn’t ours any more?

Crazy ex-girlfriend, once. Or Party Liz, which is a nickname I had when I was 19 that I didn’t learn about until I was 31. Long enough later to actually become funny instead of kind of sad. Halfway decent employee, one eye on the clock the whole time. Celiac — but am I Celiac? Or do I have it? Am I ready to become an official Sick Person? Is that Who I Am?

Writer, of course. Always. The one identity that hasn’t left me ever.

When I think about all of these identities, the ones I’ve had and the ones that I’ve lost and the ones that I purposely abandoned, I picture a Venn diagram, fluttery, a riot of colors. I think of digging down to where all of these things overlap. Is that the heart of me? Is that who I am? I feel as if I know less now than ever.

Is what I choose to tell you as important as what I don’t?

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Comments

You commented on my site! How nice to have a new friend!!! Yay!!! I have decided that if you start calling yourself Celiac Liz VERY SERIOUSLY people will not take reckon with you. Now then. I am also turning 30. I’m pretty sure it’s very appropriate to have some sort of pause every few dinners to see if how you’re defining yourself really ‘lines up’ in your OWN head is quite alright. One last thing. Its fine to always be the Smart One,.. I have been too. Brainy is by far more sexy than merely Pretty. Merely pretty usually has to be carried out of bars wasted, can’t balance a checkbook, or comprehend beyond People magazines. Feel better? MWAH!

Yes, I love this. I have thought such similar things over the years. I was the Smart One and the Young One and the International Traveler One…until I moved to Moz to do development work and had younger interns with just that profile. :)

That last sentence resonates so strongly with me. Beautiful post.

I think this is one of my favourite responses to this prompt. Versions of ourselves can be found everywhere we are brave enough to look but you are the first person who has spoken about them. I loved this.

Sara, Celiac Liz definitely comes out when I’m at restaurants. :)

Ali, so funny that you commented on this one. Living on the scholarship floor of Hokona was a big shock to my Smart Girl system. Taught me to be humble, for sure.

Thank you, Thara!

Stereo, thanks so much. :)

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