This long journey has only begun, and I worry that people who bump into me once in a while must see me as a flustered, lost person. The possibility of appearing this way to classmates, professors, and potential employers really bothers me, especially given that I am competing with students who have the confidence, determination, and record of achievement to naturally gain people’s trust. Seeing so many people around me who are so confident about who they are makes me embarrassed and frustrated about my lack of certainty about who I am.
I see my identity before my gap year from college as a fake version of me. Many people saw me as a musician/dancer/scientist/pre-med in high school and my first year of college, and I had proudly defined myself as such. When I look at myself now, having given up my science and math classes, my piano playing, and my dancing, I see a shadow of who I once was, and I wonder: Who am I?
What I tell people now is that I’m a history major committed to social justice. I have founded a new community service project on campus, and I am finding myself drawn to policy or law as a career path. I don’t think my new identity is very convincing yet, given my mediocre performance so far in my areas of interest. Oftentimes, I think that if only I were whole and true to myself from the start, I wouldn’t be struggling to keep up with my academics, friendships, and commitments as much as I do today. I wouldn’t be questioning who I am. But I suppose the best I can do is, from now on, to continue uncovering the person I am meant to be, and to love that person rather than questioning or getting frustrated with her.
I am working to reseal the seams between the broken shards of who I once was. I hope that one day, I will become a whole person once again and thrive as my true self. Once I can answer the question “Who am I?” with full confidence, I think that day will have come.