Time and time again, people ask the same question: “Who are you?”
We often respond with some trivial answer like our name, but does a name really encompass all that we are? Such answers are sometimes accepted, but sometimes we’re asked to dig deeper. So we start listing off hobbies and things we enjoy to describe ourselves. “I’m a dancer, “I’m an artist”, or “I’m an athlete” are all common but feeble descriptions of who we are as people.
Who are you?
I started singing lessons when I was nine years old. How crazy is that? Nine years old, and now I’m 23 – that’s 14 years! Shortly after starting singing, I also began piano lessons and learning music theory. I started teaching myself how to play guitar a few years later. Then flute, and ukulele. Basic percussion followed closely behind. As you can see, music was a pretty major part of my life. Because of this, it also became a huge part of my identity. “The music girl” was who I along with everyone else saw me to be.
Growing up, I was quite happy with this part of me, with this label I had developed. People both praised and tormented me for having that talent. It gave me a confidence that allowed me to feel like I had worth. I held onto the dream of being a successful singer. I told myself that the people who were mean to me would be sorry when I was more successful than them, and that I would give back to the people who treated me well. That was my dream, for over a decade.
When I attended university for music (the only option out there for me at the time, obviously), my eyes were opened to an entirely new world. I was a big fish from a small pond who had just entered into an ocean filled with sharks. I wasn’t THE singer anymore, but one among many. To be completely honest, I felt intimidated, and not in the good “makes you work harder” kind of way. It was more along the lines of the “I hate singing and I never want to perform in front of anyone ever again” kind of way.
When I started in the music therapy stream in my third year of university, it was a breath of fresh air. I was excited to focus on something other than performing while still being able to pursue music in some way. I finished off school and actually enjoyed myself in the process. Then came my music therapy internship.
My internship was a major turning point for me. To sum things up quickly, I moved across the country and back, got an internship at home that made me extremely unhappy, and then I quit JUST before my hours were complete. It sounds crazy, but it was the right decision. You can read more about that in Taking a Chance: Quarter Life Crisis Confessions.
What really told me that I needed to quit was the fact that I no longer enjoyed music. I didn’t want to play or even listen to music. Thinking about music made me feel sick to my stomach. Of course, this caused a lot of confusion about my identity, because these feelings didn’t align with who I had always believed I was. “Who am I without music?”, I would continually ask myself.
It took me a long time and a lot of trial and error to figure out the answer to that question. For a while, I felt like I had no hobbies and that there was no joy in my alone time any longer. Thankfully, I had a lot of encouragement to keep trying different things, even if one thing would fail. I tried so many different activities to fill my free time, but none of them felt like a passion the way music once did. I wanted to till that void but it felt impossible. That is, until I discovered blogging!
For the first time in a while, I feel passionate about something. I think about my blog and all of the things that I want to accomplish with it. I think about new ideas as I fall asleep and wake up feeling excited about the world again. Not only have I found a passion, but I’ve found a passion that will allow me to discover even more about myself than I once know.
Since starting blogging, I’ve discovered an entrepreneurial aspect of myself that I never knew existed before. I’ve discovered that I enjoy creating graphics and marketing my blog on social media. I enjoy connecting with other like-minded individuals who are interested in similar topics to myself. I’ve slowly developed more confidence in my ability to handle things on my own. While still a work in progress, I’m gradually rediscovering myself and my identity, which is incredibly exciting!
I still don’t have a concrete answer to “who are you?”, but I’m realizing now that life is about growth and development. Who I was ten years ago does not define who I am now or who I will be ten years form now. At this time, I’m taking every opportunity I can to grow as a person and learn more about myself and my interests. I strongly encourage you to do the same, because while it can feel scary, it is an AMAZING journey.
Have you/are you experiencing some form of an identity crisis? If so, how did/are you dealing with it? Let me know in the comment section, I would love to hear from you! Also, don’t forget to subscribe and get access to the free resource library, which contains a wide variety of resources for your adulting needs!