Like any over-sensitive 20-something year old, I find myself constantly trying to figure out who I am (as if this is just some easy, obvious answer).
I remember during a meeting of a club I was involved with in college, the adult advisors took a moment to make us doubt the way we viewed everything.
They asked us who we were.
It seemed like an easy question at the time. This is my name, my year in school, my major, my minor, the sport I play. But every time we thought we had come up with a solution, they pushed for more. A variety of this conversation (the following example is fake information) ensued:
Who are you?
Okay, and who are you?
I’m a sophomore accounting major.
Okay, and who are you?
I’m a basketball player and I work at the campus coffee shop.
Okay, but who are you?
I’m Lou and Judith’s son and Sam’s brother. I’m the owner of a Great Dane puppy and I’m the kind of person who is totally unaffected by wasabi spices.
Okay, but you who are you?
And the questioning went back and forth as we all tried to figure out who we are outside of the typical identifiers one receives in college.
Oh, you mean Tami, the engineering major who plays trumpet in the marching band and is always hanging out with Rachel and Susan?
The “who are you?” question game stuck with me for a while, but eventually, I graduated college and moved to a city of strangers and found myself able to once again, start anew. I was no longer identifiable as a communication major who spent way too much time in the English and Business departments.
I was just Liz and I was, again, trying to figure out what that meant.
Sometimes, I tuned into my shy, sensitive side, content to spend an introverted weekend of self-care, reading, and writing.
Sometimes, I was the loud, rebellious, “don’t mess with me” tomboy of my childhood, unafraid to step up to any challenge and definitely not willing to be walked all over by anyone.
I’ve spent a long time thinking about these two vastly different “versions” or myself. How could I be authentically one when there was still a huge part of me that related to the other? How could I figure out what “side of me” felt more like, well, me.
Then it hit me:
Why not both??
I love spinning in circles in a summer dress and I love getting in a social justice debate, even if it’s “not the time or place.” I will be the shoulder to cry on with a comforting heart and a tub of ice cream just as quickly as I will be the first one with metaphorical fists reeling to have words with whoever hurt my friend. I can happily spend an entire day being responsible, focused, and serious, and just as happily spend the day after in a heated pushup competition because you best believe I’m not going to walk away from a challenge. I love kale salads and greasy pizza, knitting scarves and hanging out of trees, going to church and playing pick-up kickball.
I’m too many messes rolled into one and that’s okay. I’m not one or the other. I’m a little bit of chaos and a little bit of calm and equal parts crazy and caring.
I don’t think I’m any closer to knowing who I am, but maybe that’s the fun of it. Maybe it’s a sigh of relief to know that I don’t have to be defined by any one thing. I can messy and marvelous and everything in between.
I am Liz Buechele. I love to watch people on the subway and make up their life story in my head. I think sweet potatoes are one of life’s greatest gifts. I think I want to learn to rollerblade because the people I see rollerblading at the park always look like they’re having fun and they’re also getting a great workout in and I just don’t see any possible flaw with that scenario. I love my family. I love my friends. I love dogs and polar bears. I like carrots and carrot cake and I think there are few things better than climbing trees. I wear scraped knees and pearl earrings and in spite of all my wild and beautiful contradictions, I think I’m doing okay.
Next step? Finding out who I will be.