"Who Are You?" the hookah smoking caterpillar asked in Lewis Carroll's mixed up tale about a little girl tumbling thru a rabbit hole into a convoluted yet shimmeringly brilliant land.
And what was Alice's answer? Do you know? Perhaps it's something you might respond. She said, quite guilelessly, "Why I hardly know. I've changed so much since this morning, you see."
Are you like Alice? Are you asking yourself: "Who in the world am I? Ah, that's the great puzzle." Lewis Carroll would tell you to "Be what you would seem to be - or, if you'd like it
put more simply - never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what
it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not
otherwise than what you had been or would have appeared to them to be
Obviously figuring out who we are is more complex than I realized.
As I look around, many seem stymied and unable to answer the Caterpillar's very basic question, struggling to understand their hearts or their dynamic multi-layered personalities and ever-evolving
idiosyncrasies. They seek counselors to help find themselves. They purchase Self Help books at dizzying rates. They complete quizzes at the back of magazines ... all in an effort to figure out who they are.
As I drove to work yesterday, I noticed a billboard that read: "It's time to be who you are." It was for a men's suit warehouse, but seriously ... what is that saying? Are people really scampering about being other than themselves? Do we sincerely seek to be less than who we are? Do we ignore our natures because of someone else's definitions? Do we choose to pretend or apply a façade or assume the characteristics of a friend, movie star or another entity entirely?
At Taco Bell, the seasoning packets give me advice. Everywhere I turn I'm told Keep Calm and Dance on or Carry On or "whatever on." I'm urged to Seize the Day while reminded by Shakespeare To Thine Own Self Be True. Alexander Pope directs me to Act Well Your Part, for There all Honor Lies. So many messages competing in my head. Is this supposed to help me define myself?
Do you KNOW who you are? How do you define yourself? By your job? Or your relationships? By the way you look in the mirror or the friends you have? By your activities or religious beliefs? By your hobbies or astrological sign? Me, I'm a "Moon Child" (aka Cancer the Crab) which means I'm Passionate and Loving, Intuitive and Imaginative yet Changeable and Moody ... and a bit Overemotional at times. Yeah, that's some of who I am but not all.
I'm a lot of things. So are you. Do you embrace that? Do you know who you are?
I have always found myself fascinated by Alice. Personally, I prefer her journey into the Looking Glass, but then I've been trying to break through into the land on the other side of the mirror for years. But I digress ... Sorry ... Anyway, I relate to Alice's exploration of nonsense. After all, she's simply bored by a dull moment and curious enough to explore her imagination ... to boldly go where no little girl has gone before. Since she's not sure of her ultimate destination (I mean, Who IS?), she learns that any road will take her there. She only has to step forward into the unknown.
I'm a product of a loving family and good life. I'm also inconsistent at some moments and profoundly consistent at others. I'm adventurous -- an explorer at times. I'm a homebody content with a book or a knitting project and silence at others. My friends can count on me, though at times I do go off the grid. I'm many things to many people. But, I know who I am. I am me ... and that's all I know how to be. Many forces shaped my being. But, I'm content with how I'm turning out ... crazy work in progress that I am. When I look in the mirror, I smile ... except for those bad hair days or days when my make-up is just not right. But, then I shrug, Keeping Calm and Carrying On.
Like Alice, "Sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." On those days ... I have to admit that I have just a bit more fun.
I have a lot in common with Alice. I get her. Curious ... restless ... adventurous ... imaginative ... able to slay the Jabberwocky and save Wonderland simply by knowing who she is and believing in herself. Just a girl surrounding by "mad people" trying to get that one cup of Tea!
Yep ... I can relate. Course, I prefer Coffee. But that's me.
Who are you?