04. Let You Happen
“Don’t wait until you know who you are to make things.”
Some people are so afraid that they will look back upon that moment and feel it inadequately represents who they are, so afraid indeed that they will stand still and not do a single thing. But what do they expect? To sit there and wait until they’re struck by a lightning bolt of a revelation screaming in their faces, “You are ready! Do it!” ? That’s quite a ridiculous idea. You will never know who you are, not completely, as long as you are alive and constantly growing. Yet so many people are so damn scared of being where they are.
I once knew a boy just like this. He was outwardly confident and truly talented, but inwardly anxious and fearful of anything but brilliance. He couldn’t stand anything that wasn’t perfect from himself, always wanting to be his best, always searching, searching for who he was. At first glance, these things seem like they could be good things, things that will drive a person to strive for and achieve better and they could if done well, (doubtlessly, we all “soul search” at one point or another in our lives,) but these things ultimately became his Achilles heel. Always unsatisfied with who he was in the current moment, he was never happy day to day. Every mistake he made only further compounded his self-contempt, and rather than allow them to propel him forward to a better mistake, he fell backwards to worse and worse mistakes until he made some that he could not live with; soon finding that he couldn’t stand himself and all the things that he had done to that day.
He was no longer fearful of doing something wrong, but now he believed he couldn’t feel much worse, giving himself the leniency to do and become worse. He ran away from his biggest fear, one he knew could potentially give him the greatest growth if he faced it, and now is complacent with where he is. Every mistake he made, he could excuse as, “I’m still trying to find my real self.” Yet as everyone else around him could see at this point, he was living in full denial of himself and the things he truly wanted, even his true self and the person he wanted to be.
It was arrogance and insecurity that fell him. Arrogance of only claiming “perfect” as his own actions, and abandoning all else as mistakes made by someone who wasn’t really himself; insecurity of feeling he could never find himself, that he could never be who he really wanted to be and thus feeling that each day not having neared this destination was a waste- a slow downward decay. These two things on their own, but especially in conjunction, make a person stagnant.
This is the fatality in seeing this “self” as a destination. The demise in waiting to feel ready to do something, in waiting to become yourself, or know yourself wholly. A person is never complete, and I say that they should never think that they are. Wanting to be, however, is perfectly fine. That incompleteness is what drives us forward to acquire new things, whether they be experiences, knowledge, sights, relationships, etc. To feel more and more complete, to fill parts of ourselves that still remain as potential.
Certainly, I too have had periods of stagnation because of my own self-doubt. Most of my writer’s blocks have been a result of this sentiment of not making something because I wanted to wait to “know myself.” I would get stuck, telling myself, “But that doesn’t sound quite like me,” “This doesn’t feel right, no, there must be a better way of expressing just what it is that is caught in my heart tonight…” Often, I just didn’t know better. The truth was that the reason these things didn’t feel “right” or “like myself” was because I wasn’t allowing myself to be anything else than who I thought myself to be. But I found that that’s not really how it works.
I learn something new about myself every single day and that’s because I’m always fluctuating, growing, expanding. I can’t cage myself into this self-contained singular idea that can be instantly known, even to myself. Ah, I didn’t know my mind could do this! I have never felt this way before….being open to these new things, allowing them to shape you and extend you beyond who you were just a moment before, that’s crucial to being alive. I believe a person should always be malleable; I don’t ever want to be a fixed point or concept in space or time. I don’t have to ask myself who I am. I don’t have to know.
Sure, I can say, I tend to be giving, patient, stubborn, sometimes impetuous, curious, honest…etc., but those traits aren’t who I am. Why do I tend to be giving? For what will I be impatient? Am I always so stubborn, when will I bend? The answers to the questions are closer to who I really am, than what those characteristics will tell you about me. It’s not in the certainties that you can see who a person really is, but rather in the uncertainties, the blurry edges, where the shift exists. This is where they are changing, this is their potential, their drive forward, their true colors, where they can discover more of themselves.
What moves you?
Whatever it is, it makes you. And you make you. With every act, with every move. What’s worked best for me is to just having faith in my instincts and what direction my heart pulls me. I don’t worry about knowing myself. I’m always going to be a process. And I’m always just me, and I’m not waiting for nobody.