By Kenneth Stepp
Who am I? Seems like a strange question. I’m a father, a businessman, and a nonprofit founder. I’m also a retired fighter, writer author, and I am an activist. Do these things describe me? Not adequately. At least I believe there is so much more to any human being. We have a past. That past has made us who we are. Well, partially anyway. Some are choices, some are decisions (there is a difference).
My parents helped mold me. I can’t tell you how many times my father’s words fall out of my mouth, and my mom’s style of putting things together, or how I relate to others. Then there was my Granny. She helped mold me quite a bit too. My point is, who am I is complicated and has many layers.
So knowing me takes time and focus. Knowing you does as well. You are like this as well. Our upbringing, past decisions, hurts, damage, and even important dates go into what made us who we are today. I could add thousands of things here and still not paint the entire picture of how we became the person we see in the mirror.
Who am I? Have you ever asked that question about yourself? I find the answer to that question depends directly on the intelligence of the person I ask. The smarter the person, the more self discovery they practice. With the exception of someone who is a sociopath. They already know who they are, they are the god of their tiny universe, so, we’ll not use them as an example. Who we are matters. It matters because we are all on similar journeys and on nearly the same roads.
It’s like we are strolling down a hallway that is miles long. On both sides, as we stroll, are doors. Each door has a purpose. Each door leads to very personal and important answers. Each door has our potential for that day behind it. We choose those doors based on who we are. To open the wrong one that day would send us on a journey not meant for us. How long would it take to correct is anyone’s guess. To choose the right door for us requires knowing “us”.
Who am I? Well… I’m still learning about me. Will I ever fully know me? There are days when I feel I do. Then there are days like today, when I am lost. I am in what feels like an alternative universe. One that logic and common sense have no value or use. A place of forced solitude. A place where “aloneness” reigns. When I am here, I am without friends, I’m without anyone who cares, and I am without hope. I know this place isn’t real, but it feels real when I am here.
If perception is reality then you understand my dilemma. Seeming real and being real are different from one another, unless you are there at the time. I have always been able to find the exit sign the times I’ve visited in the past. Today that sign is invisible, at least to me. I can feel others coming and going while I’m here, I just cannot see them. It’s a place of emotional pain. I imagine it is for everyone who finds themselves here.
Who am I? I suppose, in the end, I’m just me. Who are you? You are you. That sounded a lot like Dr Seuss, didn’t it? Maybe we can simplify who we are, or at least how we answer the question. For me, I love, like, honor, and do the next right thing. I never lie, cheat, or steal, I am always faithful and loyal. When a person describes me after I’m gone, I would love for them to remember those things of me. I lost my dad in November 2011. These are the filters I use when I speak of him.
Dad wasn’t perfect. He had feet of clay like all of us. But he was a good man and a good person. Those who remember him remember him as a great friend and a man’s man. He had a simple wisdom that I hear in my head when I make decisions. To me, he defined being a man, and I want to be as much like him as I can one day. Not perfect, but good.
Who am I? A little lost, scared, confused, and so broken. Who are you? Well, we walk the same road daily and are probably much the same. Learn to love others and learn to show kindness to your fellow travelers. Please remember to help others along the way…