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By Matt Hearnden
I was going to see a girl a few days ago and my mum told me I had a mark on my trousers and it made me pissed off.
What’s it got to do with her?
“So? Who cares. I’m wearing them.”
I wanted her to stop trying to control me. I hate it when people do that. It feels like someone is saying “fuck you” to my most important value and trampling all over it. It’s probably when at my most angry.
But then I thought about it. It’s not like she was telling me not to write. It’s not like she was telling me to be different. It’s not like she was telling me to stop being who I am.
She was trying to help me and I responded with cold anger.
I think, for so long, particularly when I became aware of who I really was, I’ve wanted to be me.
And that’s ok. That’s good. I love that I bothered to make that important to me.
But I think I went from one extreme to the other.
I felt like I’d never been me. I felt like I’d never been me even when I knew who “me” was. I felt angry at other people for not letting me be me. Even as I type this I have a hot chest.
That’s one extreme. And because of that extreme I felt like I always had to be me. No matter what. No matter who it affected. As long I never felt like I’d once felt.
I had to be me because I’d spent so much time not being me. That’s how it had to work. That’s what allowed me to be ruthless with being me.
I don’t think that’s always a bad thing. But I think it’s something I’ve been holding onto. Something I’ve been scared to even think about letting go of.
It was like being me became my identity. Does that make sense? I don’t know.
So, if I wasn’t ruthlessly, powerfully, rigidly me… then who was I?
And that’s what I’ve been thinking about lately.
Who am I?
Am I honestly someone who gets angry over my mum trying to help me look nice?
Is that the person I’ve become? Is that the real me?
I don’t think it is. But even now I’m finding it hard to give you a definite “no” because of how possessively I’ve been holding onto what I think “me” is.
But aren’t I more than that? Aren’t I more than this narrow concept of me that I’ve lived as? Aren’t I more than the me I think I am?
What if I played with the limits of me? Wouldn’t I be more open? Wouldn’t I feel more free?
I love the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson. Steve Jobs was a fascinating person and I admired his intensity, his focus, and his belief that he could do anything. One of the things I didn’t admire him for was when he’d say things like “that’s just who I am.”
And, now, I think I know why.
It’s an excuse.
An excuse I’ve been using to limit myself.
Instead of saying “that’s just who I am,” what would happen if I asked myself “is that just who I am?”
I’d continually explore myself. I’d refuse to indulge any excuses about who I am. I’d know I could always become even more me.
Would I ever end?