Mine: What Isn’t

I don’t think I’ve ever known for sure who I am.

I know that I’m short. Reasonably intelligent. Good at soccer. Bad at bowling.

But intrinsically, I’ve never really known. And that never really bothered me until now.

As my recent English studies so kindly pointed out, who I think I am doesn’t matter – what matters is everything else around me.

Supposedly, I am the TV show I watch when I’m procrastinating. I am the people I surround myself with so as not to be alone. I am the brand of deodorant I refuse to go without.

I am a product of my surroundings. A product of my context.

The first thing that really scares me is that middle word.

Product.

‘Product’ suggests that I am a commodity. ‘Product’ suggests that I exist to be manipulated and exploited. ‘Product’ suggests that none of me means anything.

The second thing that scares me is the tiny attention span of today’s society. That I’m disposable. That one day, the world will be done with me. That one day, I’ll try my absolute hardest to succeed at whatever it is I’m doing and be met with a simple, monotone “Next.”

In a world where we are all facing the same pressures – the media, the politicians, the economy – how much of me is really unique?

Everything about me – my adamant opinions, my choices, my actions, however well considered and meticulously planned – is a conglomerate of everything around me. It’s all me, but none of it is mine. That’s the third thing that scares me, and the worst.

What if none of me is mine?

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