Who Am I?

Sometimes I cry.

I’m very vulnerable, you know. My life has no real sorrows, but all things are relative, pain as much as anything else. My life is blessed, protected, easy, safe. I have little enough to weep over.

But sometimes I cry.

Sometimes it’s for other people. Often, actually. Real people, fictional people, people I’ve never met and never will. My mother says it’s a gift, and I should be grateful and preserve it. She’s right – empathy is a gift that I did not earn alone, and I may have to fight to keep it burning. I don’t know. I hope I succeed.

Sometimes I cry for myself. Not because I suffer so very much, but because I don’t know who I am. I don’t know if I’m going in the right direction, or if I’m even moving at all. I don’t know, and it kills me.

Marianne Williamson once wrote, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?” I don’t know who Marianne Williamson is, but I can’t stop thinking about her words. Thing is, I think I might have it in me to be great. I’m not just saying this because I’m vain, selfish and self-centered. I think I might actually have the intelligence, the compassion and maybe – just maybe – the skill to do something truly meaningful with my life. And I haven’t the slightest notion of what.


Sometimes I cry. It’s usually at night, when I think more philosophically and feel more acutely despite not being fully awake, or more likely because of it. Sometimes the emotions of the darkness overwhelm me even in the day. Sometimes I feel silly. Who am I to cry? My life is easy. My life is good. I have love and safety and respect. What more can I ask of the world?

Nothing. That’s the answer. And I try not to ask for more. But like I said, I’m selfish, and it’s hard.

Harder still is paying my debt. I have a strong sense of duty, honed by my parents’ efforts and by reading too many books of kings and queens and the price of power. Or, as my mother puts it, the price of privilege.

Who am I to think so highly of myself? Who am I to be great? What can I possibly offer the world when I cannot even bring myself to wash the dishes when the kitchen is filthy? When I don’t always remember my promises and sometimes lie to my friends?

Who am I not to be? If I have what it takes, I owe it to the world to try. Even if I don’t, I owe it to the world to try. I have to be the best I can be, whatever that is, and I have no idea how to get started. I have no idea what I can be. I have no idea who I am.

Sometimes I cry.


2 comments on “Who Am I?

  1. I appreciate your honesty. I used to worry all the time about what I was going to do with my life and with myself. It sounds like you are at that hard age of young adulthood…I myself am waiting to finish this stage, but I am getting toward the end. I don’t know if it helps, but I’ve realized, the older I get, that I used to worry about a lot of stuff that doesn’t really matter. As you age, the important stuff becomes more clear; the fluff falls away (and if you are religious, God is always ready to listen–and He does answer, too, just not always the way we’d like or expect!) I wish you all the best!

    • Aethersea says:

      Thanks, it does help. It’s amazing how important it is to hear the things you already know. Even though I’ve heard what you’ve said before – I’ve even experienced it myself – it means a lot to hear it again. So thank you.

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