Today I had a little freak out. It’s a common kind of freak out. I am two days away from submitting my final paper for uni and in three days I will no longer be a student….*cue existential crisis*
…I also won’t be the garden fairy I was destined to be in kindergarten. I won’t be the heart surgeon I planned to be in high school or psychologist I thought I would be first year uni. I won’t have a title. Yes, I will be a graduate…but I won’t be ‘something‘. The assumption with not being something is that you are nothing. But that my friends is a sneaky little lie I tell myself the world tells us.
Why do we strive to be something? Being something is just title. It’s a name. It captures only what you do to make money. It does not speak to your capacity to love, your hilarious laugh, your humility or impeccable fashion sense. A title cannot capture your identity or your personality. And in my freaking out I feel guilty that the name my parents gave me somehow doesn’t seem enough. That being ‘Rachel’ isn’t enough.
This is not to say that those things shouldn’t be claimed, or that you can’t be anything you choose (though I do question my ability to be an astrophysicist). It’s vital we have lawyers and doctors, artists and – heaven forbid – politicians (ok, maybe not politicians). But when the label becomes how we see the person, I think we have a little problem. We get lost trying to be something that we lose who we are.
Titles are horribly restricting things. They create us and they define us. They create for those with and they outcast those without. And they do this because we let them. And though we know the slippery slope of the comparison trap, we inevitably find ourselves seeking labels. Doctor. Psychologist. Teacher. CEO. And these titles allow us authority, a claim to knowledge & power. Without one the world claims you are just another wanderer, with no purpose. Only to find ourselves falling into whatever label we can hold and regretting the ones we didn’t strive for – or just claim for our own!
There is a poem by a freakishly talented man by the name of Anis Mojgani. Just a note, if you’re not one to appreciate swearing – maybe practice selective hearing. The poem is called ‘Here Am I‘. I listened to it today and though I hear it and go ‘yes, so true!’, as with anything, holding onto truth can be easier said than done. It talks of the worry and fear of expectations, of labels, of life not necessarily being what you had hoped or planned. And he offers solace in the claim,
“Will it make me something? Will I be something? Am I something?
And the answer comes…Already am. Always was.And I still have time to be?”
Right now I’m somewhat of a wanderer. And yes, I will inevitably keep freaking out over the next few days as to who and where i’m going to be in a few months, or even years, because I am the worst at taking my own advice… but I think the truth I need to hold, that we need to hold, is that you are something, simply by the act of just being you!
So there you go. There is my blog speaking from what I know as Rachel…and I’d like to think that’s something