Self-Discovery Is Overrated

I can honestly say I don’t necessarily have a personal style. I’ve fluctuated through trends, identifying with whatever trend made my legs look the best, but have been eternally lost in regards to what I would concretely like to portray myself as. Some say this is due to my personality traits and zodiac signs. Others might say it’s due to an odd and resurfacing frugality that won’t allow me to buy what I truly want, instead settling for the $25 version of the leather jacket I secretly desire.

I don’t mind that my style is unidentifiable, but I’ve grappled with what this says about me. What does it say that I can’t commit to a signature store as being part of my niche stylistically? I won’t go so far as to say there are detrimental implications that my lack of definite style is costing me as a human. But I think it’s telling that I can experience various, albeit an outward aspect, of myself time and again. My malleability as a person has alarmed me in the past, challenging me as an individual and asking the ever-pending question of Who am I. Internally, I do think I have a sense of who I am, but that’s not the thing I’m really after. My main concern is why do we care so much who we are.

Does putting a name to behaviors or styles solidify an aspect of us that would otherwise remain amorphous? Is the journey of self-discovery so dire that if we fail to make that trek we’ll disown an essential part of who we are? I can’t answer these questions definitely, but I can suggest that we’ve placed too much value in the process of “finding ourselves.”

I’m pretty sure I’ve been right here, inside this body, all this time. I don’t think I need to travel to India to suddenly meet myself face-to-face and realize, Ah there you are, Becky! If I haven’t been able to approach her on a rainy afternoon alone in my apartment, I’m pretty sure the prospect of saris and curry-based restaurants won’t elicit my true self more efficiently.

So here I am, in this body that has always been mine—both regretfully and confidently. Here I sit, alone with myself, my problems, and my tendencies toward certain behaviors that somehow characterize me as a person. I’m ashamed of certain things I’ve done in. I’m sorry I occasionally ate too many cheeseburgers as a kid. I’m disappointed I didn’t reach out to as many people as I could have, or attempted to learn a random instrument as a child. But that wasn’t part of my story.

The failures, the triumphs, the worries, and the day-to-day process of my personal evolution are what I have to hold up as Rebekah Arbuthnot. She’s not hiding somewhere deep inside and she doesn’t need to be drawn forth by prodding. In the same way, she doesn’t depend on her clothes to say who she is or her taste in music to classify her in a particular demographic. All she needs is to breathe and to be.

Who am I? A human being. I’m finally letting myself accept that as enough. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

I’ve had sex on top of a mountain. On literal stone. It was painful.

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