09 May 2008. 11:31am.
When in a group of comfortable friends, when within comfortable, known territory, when immersed in your own comfortable culture (are we seeing the 'comfortable' trend here?), it's almost impossible to define oneself.
Because when the things that make you you are shared by the group, are blanketed throughout the area, are disseminated through the surrounding culture, they no longer make you you - they make y'all y'all. (Stupid English and not having defined separation between singular and plural.) they are neither unique nor proprietary. they are simply part of the group, part of the whole.
People try to define themselves in their home culture through various artificial means - thus ridiculous subsets of the home culture such as 'emo', 'goth', et cetera - it's all in the name of being different, but it's still just a fabricated substratum of the larger culture.
Therefore, I have decided the best way to truly discover oneself is to become immersed in an entirely new culture.
Now, I'm not alone in this hypothesis - plenty of thinkers far better and greater than my own paltry self have expressed similar ideas. (And I'd be lying if these thoughts were fully gestated and birthed all by my lonesome - while I'd already formulated thoughts along these lines, reading Julian Barnes helped solidify them.) It's part of why I'm glad I've been able to come over here and be tossed about in the washing machine of a different culture than my native one.
Sometimes I stand and look at myself in the mirror, seeing the gray-blue eyes that seem more melancholic than they used to, the lines that are already beginning to show in my fully relaxed forehead, and I ask myself the questions:
"Who am I?
"What am I becoming?
"Who do I want to be?"
I sift through myself, picking the parts I want to keep and purging the chunks I hate. (For example: I've always been kind of messy. But I've decided that I don't want to be like that anymore, so I'm not. I even make my bed every day. Ask my mother if you don't think that's a serious improvement.)
Granted, that's a stupid throw-away example, but you get the idea. Besides, I air my dirty laundry on here enough as it is - no need for more.
I may not be able to answer those questions entirely yet, but I will, because I can finally see myself outside of those normal societal/cultural constructs I grew up and was formed in.
I see what I'm becoming.