Defining Myself as Undefined


‘What if I’m not everything she wanted to be,’ reflects my fears of never becoming the person my younger self wanted me to be. I often worry that I won’t fulfill all that she dreamed of, but I like to think that even if I can’t accomplish every dream I wanted, she would still be proud of who I’m becoming.” -Natalie Brown

Coco Bradford, Staff Writer

This article can also be found in the exclusive December print edition focused on Chamblee’s Identity. Copies of the newspaper are being distributed at lunch Thursday, December 16.

I don’t know who I am.

Everyone defines themselves differently. We know this. Some people use their personality traits, their culture, their interests, or their demographic qualities.

I think defining yourself sometimes puts limits on who you are. You give yourself a label, and you get all the traits that go with it. You give yourself so many more traits than the traits that define you, and that isn’t who you are.

Defining yourself can also be freeing. It gives you someone to be. It gives you an identity, something that is yours, something that gets to belong to you. You take ownership of your traits.

Here goes nothing. Defining myself.

I am queer. I am a woman. I am white. I am 17. I have lived in North Decatur my whole life. I am upper class. I have an older sister. My parents are divorced. My household votes blue. I have two step-parents in addition to my original two parents.

These are my statistics; what I would check on a form. They have made me into the person I am now, so they are important to recount when I discuss myself. The position I was given in life is so influential to the way I have grown up and grown into myself.

I am a good writer and a good test taker. I do well in school. I have a good group of friends. My home life is stable. I am diagnosed with depression, and I take medication for it every day. I participate in class, and I participate in extracurriculars. I volunteer, I do color guard, and do sound tech crew for our spring musical. I got into a car accident in February 2021. I can drive.

These are traits that state who I am on paper. They do define me, and they have shaped me, so they still need to be noted.

I am passionate, and I have such a zest for life. I am a hopeless romantic. I love to learn. I love show tunes, bedroom pop, rock, and “Love Me Less” by MAX. I care so much about my friends, and they help me improve. I am bossy and judgmental. I am hard on myself, and I am quick to draw conclusions about strangers. I get worried easily. I curse a little too much. I am in love. I am trying to navigate being a teenager. I am a discoverer. I am finding out more about my sexuality and about how to reinforce my belief that everyone deserves a fair chance. I want to support public education, support the Black Lives Matter cause, and learn more about the prison industrial complex. I surround myself with people because I have trouble being alone.

All true, again, but much more clear about who I am. These make me a real personality.

I can use all of these terms to represent me, and I know that they are all me.

I know who I am, in all of these descriptors.

I cannot help but be very self-aware; it is in my nature. I know myself, or whatever I can know about myself at this point. I am all my traits, and my demographic, and my relationships. I am my family, my friends, and the people in my community. I am the bright and sunny girl that my peers see, and I am the anxious and depressive teen that my best friend knows from my lowest lows. These are all me, and that is okay. It is okay to find myself in a variety of people. I am a variety of people; I am who I want to be. It is wonderful to be okay with still finding myself. I know I am now, and I don’t know entirely who I am. It is the best feeling in the world to be able to learn more about myself.