“Oscar Wilde said, ‘If you know what you want to be, then you inevitably become it – that is your punishment, but if you never know, then you can be anything.’ There is a truth to that. We are not nouns, we are verbs. I am not a thing – an actor, a writer – I am a person who does things – I write, I act – and I never know what I am going to do next. I think you can be imprisoned if you think of yourself as a noun.” – Stephen Fry
I posted this on Facebook yesterday and one of my friends commented on it “Nice, but…if I’m a little teapot, short and stout, then…?” To which I replied: “You’re only a teapot if you allow yourself to be labeled that way. Put coffee in yourself and you’re a coffee pot. Put napkins in yourself and you’re a napkin holder. The point is not to let what you DO define who you ARE. I am an amalgamation of all that I have ever done and all that I will ever do. Because I continuously change, I can never be labeled anything.”
True enough. But then I started thinking about it. If I love someone of the same gender, that makes me a gay man. If I mediate conflict as a profession, that makes me a mediator. If I do yoga on a regular basis, that makes me a yogi. And if I try to keep that Gardenia on my balcony alive, well, that just makes me a glutton for punishment. So, in reality, it’s possible to be both a noun AND a verb at the same time. And that’s ok.
My therapist asked me a question the first session we had together. She looked me straight in the face and said, “Who are you?” I responded, “I’m Lincoln,” to which she countered, “No, that’s your name. Who are you?” I thought about this for a minute and said, “I’m a mediator.” She smiled, “No, that’s what you do. Who are you?” I looked at her, puzzled and a little annoyed. “I don’t know, then.” Her eyes grew wide with excitement “Exactly! Welcome to the path.”
I think the point of life is to discover who you are. Beyond the labels placed on you by society, beyond the things that occupy your time. Beyond the beliefs that you hold in your heart. There is something at the root of our very existence that we must all embrace before we can truly answer the question “Who are you?”
Writing, for me, is a catharsis. At the same time, it’s a way for me to sort through the millions of thoughts bouncing around in my head to find the one nugget of truth. The one thought that no one else has ever had before. I’m hoping this blog will serve as a sounding board for that purpose, as well as a vehicle for connection between other souls who are wandering through life trying to figure out who they are. And I’m glad you’re here.