Sometimes when I sit and think about my life, I have to laugh at the irony that I am working for a company that encourages people to “Define Yourself” because I feel like, for the last 35 years, I have been on an endless journey of trying to define myself. Oh Life, you are so funny…
All through elementary school, I struggled to fit in – the stereotypical smart Asian girl with two pigtails in a sea of Caucasians, teacher’s pet in most classes, and few friends.
In high school, I never really fit into one particular group –acquaintances with all but friends with none, I attached myself to one close friend, and together we did our own thing, trying to discover who we were and what we wanted out of life.
Back then I defined myself by the activities I was involved in – Colorguard, drama class, Madrigals, the campus Christian club, youth group, etc.
When I got to college, I was still fairly naive and sheltered having grown up in church and instilled with the Asian values of bringing honor to the family. I was always brought up to believe that I was measured by a higher standard and that, for the most part, kept me out of trouble. I wrapped myself up in church activities, leading youth groups, singing in choirs or in a band,
Still, I continued to define myself with my activities. I started making a few more friends and met the man who would become my first boyfriend. Because I still didn’t really know who I was, my life was wrapped up in my activities and now I also sought my identity in my relationship with my boyfriend, who would later become my husband and now ex-husband.
In my twenties, I became the title on my business card in addition to the activities and the people I surrounded myself with. So, in essence, I was the sum total of what everyone told me I was and I was okay with that. I could hide in those activities and not really have to look any deeper in defining this complicated being…until my world and everything I knew and found security in came crashing down around me.
In the last 6 years, I have been hiding from myself deliberately. After all these years of defining myself by the outside influences that surrounded me, I realized that to really define myself, I had to take a deep look at me…and that scared the crap out of me. So I ran. I piled more activities on top of the ones I already had, I made more and more friends, and I accumulated more business cards with new titles.
I am now 35 years old. I have officially reached “middle age” and it is time I stop, dig deep, find the courage and the strength to face the fear of figuring out who I am head-on. It’s time to REALLY define myself. Thanks for being a part of my journey.