[ Who Am I? ]

This is a question I’ve asked myself an uncountable amount in my 19 years, & sometimes I still don’t know the answer; but I’d like to think I’m discovering that person little by little. This is what I’ve uncovered so far, left from the blown away ashes of labels & masks. It fits; raw, authentic, me.
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I grew up in a small town, leaving room for discovery & opportunity, which I took each time it caught my eye. Growing up I seemed to try everything, looking in every direction for my chance to be great at something, searching for something to define me. As a little girl I thought I’d be a dancer, then an ice skater, and a pianist. I played softball, volleyball, soccer, tried my hand at theater, started running, played ultimate frisbee, participated in debate & student government, etc.
Looking back, it seems like I tried everything & still ran out of options. I was not a prodigy, so what did that make me? Is that what would define me?
It shouldn’t. In my mind that’s not who I am. My forehead doesn’t say average, or mediocre just because I don’t excel at any one thing, or because I pursue a handful of pastimes.
I’m more than that, & so are you.
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I am my favorite willow tree & the seconds I hold my breath under water to watch sea turtles swim. I’m my deepest thoughts about existence & the songs I can’t bring myself to skip on a playlist. I’m the love I have for kittens, the flowers I planted as a child, & my most genuine laugh. I’m my favorite Indian restaurant, the places I can’t wait to see, & the way my hair moves in the ocean breeze. I am the way I smile when I hear rain, the steps I run to reach my destinations, & the way I feel when something touches my soul.
In a way I own everything that’s happened to me; each day of my life. I own every kind word said & every experience my name’s written in. In a way I own everything that’s part of me, making me who I am, & in a way all of those things own a part of me.

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People can be critical, saying that because my pictures aren’t perfect I can’t be a photographer, or at least a good one. I’m not fast so I’m not a runner. People criticize, but we do the same thing to ourselves. Her cinnamon rolls are better, he knows more about painting than I do, & someone else is better at volleyball… Why? What does that do for us?
That says nothing about me, or you. Over time I’ve become very disinterested in competing with people for identities. Strangely similar or utterly different, we are all unique. Comparison is a whirlpool of superior & inferior feelings with no exit point, and that benefits no one.
“Nobody is superior. Nobody is inferior. People are simply unique, incomparable. You are you & I am I.” -Osho  I believe this wholeheartedly. We are who we choose to be, & whoever you choose to be is of worth; so be raw, beautiful, authentic you.
So, who am I? Just me; I am whoever I choose to be, & I want to be what God wants me to be.