I always assumed that I was going to “find myself” in high school. Honestly, I didn’t even really know what that meant—I just assumed that it would happen as a matter of course. Like Spiderman saving the day, or Ron and Hermione finally getting together, I would eventually find myself in high school. The details were fuzzy, of course, but throughout middle school and even a significant part of freshman year, I believed that by the time I walked across the graduation stage at the front of my high school gym, I’d walk with my head held high because I would have a solid, unshakeable grasp on who I was supposed to be. Maybe expecting to know everything about the person I will someday become become is not completely out of the question, but knowing that by the end of senior year definitely is. There are some parts of my life that I already hope will still be a part of me as I go through college and a career and life in general, like my sense of morality and my obsession with English and humanity in general, but for the most part, I have no clue where I’m headed. That’s kind of scary. I’m used to overpacking and reading Worst Case Scenario handbooks, not to guessing.
Part of the problem is that I expected to find myself. Really, I’m not sure if there is a Myself to find. The phrase sounds like there’s a closet with a future Myself already waiting, polished and ready to step out into the world once I turn thirty or become a “real” adult, or whenever the point of revealing is. That is probably not the case. Life isn’t about fumbling along until you suddenly turn into the Myself that’s hidden away and just waiting for you to become old enough. It’s not even about stripping away pieces of yourself bit by bit to reveal the hidden Myself underneath, like Naomi carving away curls of soap to reveal the figures that only she could see at first in Becoming Naomi Leon (which, by the way, I mostly remember because while I almost never meet people named Naomi, I see them in literature even less. It was also a good book). It’s about fumbling along until one day you realize that Myself is really just who you are, baggage and talents and all. For me, my belief that God already knows who every person is going to become and who they already are is a huge part of my sense of self; it might be a huge part of yours as well, or its absence might just be another one of the countless factors in the shape of your Myself. One day, though, everything will just click and you’ll realize that the person you are today is more or less the person you’ll be tomorrow, and that even though you’ll change a little bit more every single day, there is still a constant. Whether it’s your sense of morality or religion or the voice inside your head or all three or something completely different, that constant is your Myself. I really, really want to believe that there is something that grounds every single person. That something is different for every person, but it always exists. At least, that’s how I hope it works.
I know I sound like I’ve already figured out my Myself and now I get to be all wise, but that is really not the case. Sometimes I feel like I’ve sort of figured out my constant Myself, but then the next day it’s like I’m a completely different person and I have to start all over again. Like, I love the concept of change and I think it is part of what makes people so beautiful and fascinating, but when I actually change, it sucks. It’s like misplacing something, only it’s misplacing my sense of self instead of my cell phone. I’m totally confusing myself at this point, so I’m not even sure if I’m making sense anymore. All I know is that I have a Myself to come to terms with, even though it’s already me. I’ll figure it out someday.