“Who AM I?”
What an odd question. I suppose that at least grammatically, the question is a sound one. But wouldn’t asking “Which are You?” be more appropriate for a simple little blog post? Asking the “which” question is more likely to net a response we can work into the confines of a couple of pages, but the “who” question will leave us with not enough paper and not enough time.
The “Which” question can provide a myriad of responses, all predicated on whatever task happens to be on hand. Like many, I have always based my identity and value on what I do and the results I produce. Now don’t judge me and don’t send me any “Oprah” transcripts as study material. I’ve heard all the reasons why my “which” will only grant me a lifetime of unfulfilled dreams and untapped potential. I’ve been there, I’ve done all of that, and my insurance has covered the psychotherapy. I can only say it again, my “who” is too big of a question for these few lines. The “which” question can however give you a glimpse of my “who”. It can allow you to make inferences and ask questions that can begin a conversation about my experiences, my history, my point of view, my defining moments, my motives and my “why”.
So go ahead, ask me again, “which” am I?
Today, I am a grandmother (mistaken for a young mother) of a grandson who is older than his aunt. Today, I am the story writer who once traded metaphor and allegory for technical advisories and reports. Today, I am a 48-year-old college senior with a 19-year-old freshman study partner. Today, I am a newlywed and a divorcee. Today, I am proudly Caribbean but yesterday, I was definitely, from “down south”. Today, I am a person of color, but many of my people have pointed out how my not being “black enough” was reflected in how “white” I talk. Today I remain a black woman while the whole world tells me time and time again that white maleness is better. Today I am a daughter without a mother and a mother of 4 daughters. Today I am a teacher being taught. Today I am a woman who has prayed, chanted and now prays again. Today I am a sister with no siblings and an aunt without a niece or nephew. Today I have memories I cannot remember and faces I cannot place. Today I am the proud owner of a pit-bull that won’t bark. Today I am a writer who is oftentimes at a loss for words. Today, I am a typist who cannot type and a chef who won’t cook.
Today I am an author who hasn’t published and a counselor in therapy. Today I am a second wife with a second husband and a grandmother who is a new mother again. Today I am a wife, a mother of a 1st grader, a new business owner and a fulltime undergraduate returning to school after a 20 year “break”.
Today I am fearlessly terrified, eagerly immobilized and serenely hysterical. To be truthful, in this very moment, I don’t who I am or which me I’ll be an hour from now. But I do know this; the fullness of my description cannot be contained within this written exercise. It cannot be an answer to a question as incomplete as “Who am I?” However, if we engaged in a dialog that asked Which? When? How? Or Why, we might begin to satisfy a curiosity. For the moment. For today.