Roger Daltry screams… “Well, who are you? (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
I really wanna know (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
Tell me, who are you? (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
‘Cause I really wanna know (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)”
All the while Pete Townsend wails on his guitar with his trademarked windmill before ending the song by smashing it against his amp. Keith Moon absolutely destroys his drum kit, laying claim (and rightfully so) to being one of the two greatest drummers of all-time. In the background, where he always stoically stands, John Entwistle coolly picks his bass, watching the madness unfold around him. The Who rocked on.
And so I was asked, “Who are you?”
I believe one of the greatest mysteries in life is trying to figure out the answer to that question. “Who am I?” Those of us willing to put in the work (and it is extremely hard work) have a chance to potentially answer that question. And the ultimate gift we give ourselves is in fact the answer.
Trying to figure yourself out is a lifelong journey, oftentimes a lonely journey though at many fortunate moments with a series of spectators (family and friends) and hopefully in some instances with someone near and dear to walk with, elevating that journey to epic proportions. And that journey is filled with questions to ask yourself, and if answered truthfully could lead to a lifetime of happiness.
As a result of so much introspection, challenging and re-challenging myself over and over and over again, I’ve come to figure some things about myself.
I am self-absorbed and extremely stubborn (by far my most challenging characteristic), can be conceited, almost never ask for help, extremely slow and deliberate to decisions, too often procrastinate, many times unaware of my surroundings and my impact upon it. I am a weak man.
I am also extremely sentimental, extremely thoughtful, extremely kind, extremely patient, extremely considerate, extremely loving, extremely self-aware, and extremely loyal. And I’ve become extremely strong.
I am both good and I am bad. I am in control and I am uncontrollable. I am very giving of my time and I am extremely protective of it. I have made good decisions and I have made bad decisions. I make things happen and I have had things happen to me. I own everything about who I am and what I have done. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
What are your values? What are the pillars you hold yourself accountable? And what are you willing to forgive yourself for? All are important, especially when we admit we are flawed individuals that will always fall down. “Why do we fall down, Bruce? So we can pick ourselves back up.” (Batman Begins)
Owning our decisions and thereby owning the consequences of those decisions is paramount. We truly are the creators of our destiny. The faster we realize that we are all people that make things happen rather than people who have things happen to them, the faster we can get a sense of who we really are and take both ownership and responsibility for our lives. We are no longer the victims. What happened, happened cos we made it happen. That is truly empowering. And I believe one of the keys to life. Owning the consequences to our decisions are the next step above empowerment.
Who are we? Who am I? Who are you? We are meant to shine. That’s who I am. I’ve figured some things out. I am meant to give light to the world, to those around me and those around them, to inspire them, to be an example for greatness. I’m here for something big. And I’m here to help. That’s who I am. And that’s who you are too.
Whether you believe in a higher power or not, whether you belong to some form of organized religion or not, this quote by Marianne Williamson always rings loud and true to me.
“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? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
That of course also reminds me of one of my favourite big screen comedies, “Zoolander” when male supermodel Derek Zoolander asks his reflection on a puddle of water next to a curb, “Who am I?” to which he answers, “I don’t know.” And then Hansel runs his skateboard thru the puddle to throw water and mud to Zoolander’s face, adding insult to injury as Hansel beats Zoolander out for male supermodel of the year. We are meant to shine, but it takes recognizing who we are to allow us to bathe in that light.
That also reminds me of the first Tobey McGuire Spider-Man movie where he asks himself at the beginning and end of the movie, “Who am I?”
At the beginning of the movie, Peter Parker asks…. “Who am I? You sure you want to know? The story of my life is not for the faint of heart. If somebody told you it was a happy tale, if somebody said I was just your average guy, not a care in the world… somebody lied. But let me assure you, this, like any other story worth telling, is all about a girl. [Cut to first shot of Mary Jane] That girl, The girl next door. Mary Jane Watson. The woman I loved since before I even liked girls.”
And at the end, Spiderman realizes…. “Whatever life holds in store for me, I will never forget these words: ‘With great power comes great responsibility.’ This is my gift, my curse. Who am I? I’m Spider-man.”
Who are you?
I, of course, am The Dark Knight.
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