From the first time someone says, Who do you think you are? we learn how to repress ~ Lauryn Hill
I have a new category on the blog. It’s called self release and will contain posts that have to do with personal development.
I’m calling it self release rather than self help as the latter term sounds to me a bit like masturbation, which has that pitiful feel to it.
Even self release still sounds sex-related but hey, sex sells as Ghanaian writer/director reminds us in a MIMI Magazine interview.
Jokes aside, I do think that many mental problems, minor and major, are caused from locking up the self rather than releasing the self. In a longwinded way, what I’m saying is that this category is more about sharing than giving ready made answers.
I keep a journal and I write in it frequently. A lot of the scribble makes absolutely no sense to me when I look back over it later. This is because I freewrite rather than keep a record of particular events that happen in my life. The whole ‘Dear Diary’ -thing makes me feel schizophrenic. Who does ‘diary’ represent: the self, one’s parents, God?
I recently wrote the question ‘Who am I?’ in my journal. It was probably meant to proceed into a poem of sorts, but instead what followed was my full name, my ethnic origin, my core beliefs etc etc. I deciphered each piece of information one at a time – Minna. Abiola. Yolanda. Rashidat. Salami. How do my names reflect on who I am? Nigeria. Finland. How do the geographical owners of my DNA shape my identity? Do they shape my identity? What exercise do I love? Yoga, dancing. What does this say about me? I continued to dig deeper into the layers of my personality until I came to an answer:
a soul searching to understand the fullest capacity of love.
In the movie ‘Fight Club’, Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) says ‘Self Improvement is masturbation, self destruction is the answer.’
I remember being confused over what this meant. Self-destruction surely couldn’t be the answer, I thought. Now, I think what Chuck Palahniuk (author of Fight Club) means is that in order to improve the self, we need to actually know the self. We need to destroy ideas that aren’t us but that we uncritically have accepted.
I think many of us are able to define other people more easily than ourselves. We think of people as friendly, bossy, selfish, passionate etc. How about ourselves, what attributes do we really possess? If you were asked two questions in an essay 1.who are you? and 2.who is (insert a friend)?, how long would it take you to answer each? It should of course be easier to answer who you are. If it isn’t, then it might be a good idea to jot it down, look in the mirror and say it to yourself, whatever works for you, but make sure you know.
A friend of mine @so_you_know retweeted a photo from @vusisindane’s blog that feels very appropriate here. Indeed, how much of ourselves do we know?
Love this… but it makes me worry because I feel like I don’t know who I am!
I’m going to sleep on it…
Have a nice week ahead 🙂
We are all in the same boat! Thank you hun
very profound, Minna xx
Vusi Sindane says
Hi there; firstly thanx for the @mention & link to the photo.
It took me ages to write the “About Me” section of my blog. It was so strange, and yet i’d written plenty posts. I’ve changed the post several times and i’m still not happy about it!!!
Great post, I think my fiance will love this blog.
Hi Vusi! Thanks for providing the image. It was almost bizarre. Just when I finished writing the post I checked a tweet of Annie’s that I’d faved quite randomly, and that was your blog.
What you mention about the ‘About Me’ section is so funny!!! True! I guess our personalities change, or we get further insight into them perhaps I should say. I’ve modified mine several times too, and likely to keep doing!
Self-reflection is always paramount to total knowledge of oneself! Love it!!
Thank you 🙂
afro by soul says
Knowledge comes from experiences, experiences comes from mistakes….
Some wise minds would say the answer may not come in this lifetime…as we gow older and wiser, we may or may not come close to the answer of the “who am I” questions, what I am wondering is if it is even supposed to be answered at all?
With so little understanding of how our brain works, how can we really trust and rely on our current way of thinking and make a definitive conclusion??
We dont even totally grasp the concept of our thinking and perceptions…..everyday, I found something that remind me that human beings, despite our intelligence, despite our ability to fly to the moon, our collective emotional and spiritual intelligence is somehow very basic…
How else can you explain the way we keep treating our planet, the way we treat each other? This is not the doing of a superior intelligent being?
It is talk like these that remind me of how much retarded we actually are…
I look forward to watching this. Thanks for the link, it sounds great
More thoughts to follow on that…
“How else can you explain the way we keep treating our planet, the way we treat each other? This is not the doing of a superior intelligent being?”
This truly resonates, I increasingly find myself at awe over what we allow people to do even though we ourselves might not do…
I also think (hope!) that we get a few lifetime chances to get to answer that question! At least glimpses into the answer might be granted even during one lifetime if one asks the question that is
I usually say “I don’t just look, I look into.”
I confidently know a lot of who I am at the moment,
who I am not,
who I want to keep growing to become,
who I don’t want to become as I grow,
who I think I am but I am not lol
I get very excited when I discover more parts of myself through experiences and reactions to add to the list.
To visually describe who I am … I am like Pochanotas from the disney cartoon Pochanotas where she stands on the mountain top and over looks the land with colourful leaves dancing amongst the wind while her hair follows. LOL *lame* but underneath it all I am exactly that!!
However I am very unclear about who others think or feel that I am. I find this very worrying and I get very uncomfortable at the thought. Until I fully explain who I am to someone that needs to know I am very unsatisfied. And one of the main things I love about people is knowing who they really are, why they do what they do, what they love to do, how their mind works, what makes them human :-p.
I evidently love knowledge! I want to know as much as I can about everything (but funny enough gossip is not one of them) we are not here long, and I can’t possible not try to know as much as I can before my time is over. … its obvious that one of my weaknesses is not knowing. Restriction of information I eagerly want to know will drive me bonkers!!! … blah blah blah blah … ( I could go on forever)
In the end I feel most people will come to the conclusion of your answer
“a soul searching to understand the fullest capacity of love.”
To deconstruct enables you to reconstruct.
Enjoy the self discovery journey everyone!
“I don’t just look, I look into.”
Oh I truly love that quote, it’s so important to do that, and yet so difficult.
Perhaps often because we want to know so many things we end up looking at the surface rather than the depth.
I really struggle with wanting ‘to know’ too! I sometimes imagine I should segment my time, so one week I only ‘look into’ one thing, and another week another etc etc….
If I ever do this, I’ll make one week for looking into myself..meditation, journal writing etc. Whoa, would be intense though.
Thank you hehehe!!
Exactly!! And as a result we miss out on so many important things.
And yes, it’ll be very very intense but worth it in the end LOL enjoy 😀 xo
For whatever reason (or many reasons), people often feel the need to ask me, “Where are you from?” I don’t always call them out right away (although I do like making people realize the innocent ignorance of their question), but I do say, “Well, I can answer that many ways.”
It’s either the way I speak, the way I carry myself, my obvious intelligence, my unique hair, or any combination of all of the above.
“I live right here in Chicago,” I’ll say. “But I grew up in the northwest suburbs in Palatine through high school. I was born in Upper Michigan, but only lived there until I was three. And my parents were both born and raised in Zambia, so I’m also African.” By the time I’m done with my explanation, the person is amazed. They probably were looking for a simple answer like, “Oh, the suburbs. That’s why I don’t speak like Boomquisha.”
We’re complex. There are so many aspects to our SELVES; to our beings. If someone asks me what I do, my first inclination is to answer “I’m a writer.” But overall, I’m a free spirit. I’m a lot of things, but in all things, I strive to be free like a butterfly, loving life and creating my own existence.