Friday, March 23, 2007

What I Am Is What I Am

Am I shallow? I must be. Sometimes I doubt myself ... because I'm not as introspective or "deep" as others seem to be.

Several years ago, I had a co-worker who seemed so alone. She'd transferred to our office from Kentucky and had no family or friends to lean on. So I took it upon myself to befriend her.

Over the course of a couple months, I learned her life story. She was divorced ... which was a little surprising. She didn't seem the "marrying" kind. But more surprising to me was why she divorced.

One night as we sat together sharing a bottle of wine, she confided in me. "After I was married, I became lost. Who was I? I took his name and lost the real me. Mrs. Thompson? Who is this person?"

I quickly learned that her whole world revolved around this issue. She spent hours contemplating "who she was."

Since I've apparently decided that today is a good day to expose my flaws to everyone, I'll admit something here. I couldn't begin to relate. I assumed it was because she was a quite a few years older than me.

And so, after several evenings of listening to her wax poetic about her inner turmoil, I pulled away. I could no longer listen to her tales of woe and conflict ... because I had no point of reference.

It's years (and years) later ... and I still can't relate. I was married nearly eleven years ago ... and I've never wondered "who am I."

I am the same person I was at twenty-six ... the same person I was at sixteen ... probably the same person I was at six. Oh, sure ... I've matured and changed. But, I suppose I follow the Tao of Shrek. I believe we're like onions. Each experience is a layer ... each person we meet adds to our essence. But at the core of that onion ... under each layer ... we are still the same being.

Fast forward ... I now have another co-worker who is confiding in me that she is going to Europe to "find herself." She is adament that, during those two weeks of annual leave, she will "find the real me."

I'm skeptical to say the least. I'm just not convinced that a couple weeks of high tea or fish and chips will give her the inner peace that she so desparately wants.

So much of the world is uncertain ... so much literature is written about people who are searching for themselves. I must be shallow ... because I know who I am ... and ... I kinda like me.

Is the talk on a cereal box
Is a smile on a dog
I'm not aware of too many things
I know what I know
If you know what I mean

Edie Brickell & the New Bohemians - What I Am