Who am I?

Who am I?  A simple question, but not so simply answered…

The truest answer is that “I am a Nobody.  And being nobody, I am the same as Everybody.”  Which does not imply that I am unimportant, merely that I am just like every other stranger you might meet on the street – a reflection of you.  What makes me unique in a world of Others is the life path I have chosen, and the lessons my soul is learning here.  To identify those differences requires details that separate me from all of you Others out there…

Personally, I love my life details, as difficult as they have often been to deal with.  lol…  Apparently my soul loves a challenge, and so I challenge my self quite frequently.  It began with a difficult childhood and the scars earned there, which led me to become an alcoholic by the time I was 12 years old.  By the time I hit my early adolescence, the powers that be attached other labels to me relating to the vast and ill-defined world of mental illness.  I had “adolescent adjustment problems,” which led to “depression,” which became “manic depression” (the old term for Bipolar Disorder), and culminating in “paranoid schizophrenia,” all before I hit my 16th birthday.  I share these details, not because I want you to think of me in these terms, but because they are essential in setting the scene for what I have now become.  For all of those pieces still reside in me, but more importantly, they defined the path I would choose to follow to become Me…

For example, I tend to be anti-institution because, as a teenager, I had my freedom of choice forcibly taken from me.  I understand why today, and I hold no resentments or regrets about it, but the suspicion of such people and places still lingers, in spite of all the work I’ve done.  I also tend to play with labels a lot, as I have seen how easily we can become defined and distracted by them; I will purposely act “out of character” on occasion, just to avoid being cast in any particular light for too long.  And I count “freedom” as one of my most important desires, avoiding commitments that might box me in, since escaping such prisons as my early life created was such an all-consuming passion of mine…

I got sober shortly after I finally became legal to drink alcohol in all 50 states, and I dropped out of the mental healthcare system at the same time, choosing to “deal with” my issues without psychotropic medications or professional guidance.  It was my choice, as an adult, and not a path I’d recommend for anyone, though I am glad I did it myself.  I have now been sober and medication free for over 30 years, although I did choose to keep my caffeine and nicotine addictions, and they remain intact to this day (not proud of them, just being honest).

How did I cope with all of that then?  Well, that’s where things get interesting, at least for me… lol…  I learned, from others and from my own self-exploration.  I thought, a lot!  And I wrote, always, even long before I got sober; that has been the one consistent therapeutic tool I have always used.  Not only does writing often reveal the “real” state of my mind and emotions, regardless of what I “tell” myself, but having such records to reflect on has shown my progress over the years, and revealed patterns I might otherwise have missed.  And patterns are everything to me today!

Probably the most difficult part of my journey has been learning to distinguish between what is “real” and what is “not real”; or, to put it in more accessible terms, what is “shared experience with others,” and what is “uniquely my experience.”  It is important to know the difference, I have learned, because few things make other people as uncomfortable as me insisting that the others I’m interacting with are there, and real, when these people with me cannot themselves interact with them.  I have had to learn little tricks for distinguishing what others here can see and hear, and what they cannot, so that I can react “appropriately” when out in public.  And, at the risk of sounding arrogant, I have gotten darn good at it!  Meeting me on the street, you would likely never guess what my internal life is like.  And that is as it should be, I think…  But here, in this blog, I am all about my internal experiences, likely because we will never actually meet on the street…

One of the most helpful efforts on my part has been a lifelong obsession with spirituality, specifically a search for Truth.  If I could only know what is “true” outside my own perceptions or social consensus, then perhaps I could better understand this “self” that I am.  That effort has encouraged a lifelong study of meditation, coupled with a diverse study of different religious and philosophical paths, and countless tools and practices designed to promote an everyday functional spirituality.  What I believe today (which shifts slightly from day to day), is the end result of many years of self-work.  When asked how I would categorize those beliefs, however, I am unable, or unwilling, to name any particular path, as I have absorbed patterns, insights, and relevant guidance from sooo many sources, combining them into an amalgam that is uniquely mine.

I know there are others out there who take exception to such a “cafeteria-style” approach to spirituality, claiming I have no true spirituality since I refuse to commit to any particular path.  I have heard that my way is shallow and deceptive, and potentially damaging should I seek to guide others, since it lures people away from “true” spirituality.  That may be so, for who am I to judge?  What I can say with certainty is that it has “worked” for me.  I get along fairly well in society today; I am loving, kind, compassionate, loyal and peaceful, in spite of the tribulations of my youth, which could very well have created a much less balanced soul.  And there is a part of me that understands that these very doubters are important in my life, reflecting a truth I need to see, even if it is only to affirm that, “yes, I am on the ‘right’ path for me.”

And all of this, all of these words, and thousands upon thousands upon thousands of others I have thought, said or written, have led me to one place: the place of One.  I believe in something, after all; I believe in One thing, at least.  I believe that all paths lead to one place, this place of One, eventually.  I believe we are all related, no matter how different we may seem.  I believe that we serve each Other best by being “true” to who we are, since it is that very truth that Others need to see.  I believe that we are One whole, with but one ultimate goal: to know our true Self; there is Unity in our very Diversity.  There are, of course, countless facets of this goal, endless meandering paths both to and fro, and fascinating side trips we can take along the way, but this One is the essence that powers and tempts us to grow and change, yet ever remain the same…  “Simultaneous co-existence without contradiction”; such is the Paradox of Truth.

“One is the Word/the Word is One.”  One is what It is, simple, ever-present, complete and unchanging.  The Word is the logic, the path, the philosophy, the hope, the struggle, the self.  Yes, I believe in something; I believe in One.  And so I believe in you, too, hence The Otherhood of One (T.O.O.).

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23 thoughts on “Who am I?

    • Thank you, Ganesh! And thank you for welcoming into your blog, as well. Your words touch me, and inspire me deeply. And I so admire the way you express your thoughts – clear, concise, with every syllable important and necessary to the whole. I will never likely grasp that style myself (I get too caught up in the words themselves, and they multiply beyond my control sometimes), but I will enjoy reading it at your site!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I do not believe I have read a more inspiring, soul deep expression of oneself before. In fact I know I haven’t. You have made me speechless yet again as I read every line and absorbed it all in. Thank you for sharing a part of yourself with us. I read but I also like to feel what is written and I felt it all. Thank you again for your words and I look forward to following you! (:

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I had to pause before I could respond, as your comment was so heartfelt and full of warmth, that “thank you” seems too trite and incomplete. Though certainly I am grateful you took the time to read this and respond so kindly. Oddly, though, such compliments make me more uncomfortable than criticism. So, rather than trip over my own tongue, and minimize the depth of my reaction, I choose, instead, to offer the response closest to my heart…*taking a deep breath and opening my arms*… Bonnie, can I give you a hug? 🙂

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  3. I too had a difficult childhood, starting with polio at the age of eighteen months. It left both physical and emotional scars that I still bear today. I was diagnosed with bipolar, obsessive compulsive and paranoid personality disorders. Like you, I don’t like labels. Medication, meditation and research have lead me to the One I am now. One is all encompassing. We are all the same and all different in our perfect imperfection, as is all of nature.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes!! I love the way you put that: “We are all the same and all different in our perfect imperfection, as is all of nature.” You have a beautiful gift for expression, and a deep wisdom deserving of such eloquence! I am sooo glad to have met you, and to count you as a kindred soul… Thanks for being you!

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  4. We are beginning to gather, to find One anOther. That gives me great hope! Absolutely love your blog; I’m following so I don’t miss a post! You have quite a talent with words and poetry. Looking forward to getting to know you (us) better! 🙂

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  5. Well, I’ve got round to reading your “About” page and I wish I’d done so sooner as reading your words strikes such a chord with one who also had a difficult childhood and abusive childhood. It seems that many people who come from such experiences turn to writing to try and make sense of themselves and the world around them and by doing so find they connect with many more people who hide their deep and secret quandaries behind a public face. You are truly a treasure, and “nearly” meeting you has warmed my heart and day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, thank you, Peter!

      I agree that many of us turn to writing, almost as a form of therapy, because growing up in those circumstances means you are isolated and afraid, unable to talk to outsiders. But it also gives us great empathy, and a depth of experience to draw on, which inevitably shines through in our writing.

      I know I gain a lot by reading everything you write; there is such tangible and profound beauty in every line! Your stories deeply reflect the human condition, but are cast in such eloquent language that even tragedy becomes enriching…

      I am honored and humbled to call you friend! 🙂

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  6. I have included on a new page on blog called “20 Worthy Blogs”. The inspiration to create this page came from being nominated for two different award (challenges), which of course require me to nominate other bloggers. I am one of those that feels uneasy nominating people in large part because I don’t want them to feel obligated or unpleasant because they have to turn the challenge down. Another reason is many of the people I would like to nominate have blogs in which the challenge would not blend well with the intent and/or content of the blog.

    Any someone whose is listed on this page, you can considered yourself nominated or not nominated depending on your preference.. You could also just use 1 fact about yourself (from The Versatile Blogger or one (or more) of the 11 questions listed (from the Sunshine Blogger Award) as a prompt or inspiration for a post (with no need to link back to this post or mention the award).

    Liked by 1 person

    • What an awesome choice of words! I cannot help but smile sincerely when reading them.

      Thank you for stopping by to visit and read this. And welcome! It is clear we share a love of Truth and spirituality, and I am thrilled to have “met” you! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I love the expression “Cafeteria Spirituality”. It is precisely the kind of spirituality I practice — and admire.

    Perhaps that spirituality which is read-made and carefully packaged can be thought of as “Vending Machine Spirituality”? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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