Who Are You?

This was a question I was asked yesterday and it immediately popped into my head the moment I opened my eyes this morning. Hmmmm….now let me think. I’m a father, husband, son, brother, uncle and cousin. I’m a manager, employee, friend and acquaintance. I’m a runner, writer, blogger and lover of honeycomb ice cream and German biscuits. But does that answer the question? Does that capture the essence of who….I….am?

When I was born, forty something years ago, I was none of these things. I have accumulated them as I’ve moved through life, becoming more and more laden down as I’ve struggled towards the summit of wherever I’m meant to be going. Other guises I’ve discarded along the wayside. I’m no longer a student, a drinker, an incredibly average rugby player, and so on. We acquire and shed these skins as we traverse life’s ever meandering paths.

We are chameleons, ever shifting creations, forever morphing into different versions of ourselves. We are moulded by external and internal factors, by circumstance and environment. I’m happy one minute, sad the next. I can be calm, courteous, controlled or cheeky, cutting and caustic. It all depends. On a billion factors, determining how we respond to any given situation. Who am I? I haven’t a clue.

We are layer upon layer of contradiction and juxtaposition. We chop and change at will. The Stephen of ten, five, two years ago bears absolutely no resemblance to the one writing this post today. I’d like to think I’m evolving into a better version of myself but who’s to say what the future holds. In five years time I might not like what I find, if I’m even here at all. And if I’m not ‘here’ then what’s left? Memories of what?

One person will say ‘what a great guy that Stephen was,’ while another might reflect ‘Well, I was never that keen on him and his stupid blog.’ I am a collection of anecdotes and experiences which have left mental imprints on those I’ve encountered on my journey to wherever I ended up. Here lies Stephen Black. Who was he? Well, don’t ask us for he didn’t even know himself. He used to write about it. Something about German biscuits, whatever they are.

If I don’t know who I am, then this begs a further question or two. Why am I here? And seeing as I’m here for the foreseeable future, what do I want to achieve before I move on to….wherever it is I move on to? It’s frightening when you begin to peel away the layers as to who you are and come up with a big fat nothing. For the clock is ticking. Days, become weeks, before months, become years and we are none the wiser as to answering these BIG questions.

Where are the answers? In the Bible, the Quran, sitting cross legged atop a picturesque Himalayan peak chanting sweet nothings into the air? We are searching, scrabbling, forever seeking the truth. The truth of who we are, what we want and where we need to be. One thing I am sure of is I won’t find out by sitting in my house waiting for the front doorbell to ring and the solution to be sitting on the doorstep in a pretty box bedecked with ribbons.

We need to chase, pursue and wrestle with the truth. The truth of us, our very essence. Only then will we begin to scratch beneath the surface and secure a tantalising glimpse of the real us. Inertia and indifference will only lead to frustration and disappointment. We need to succeed, fail, and everything in between. The comfort zone is crammed with like minded souls staring in the mirror and scratching their heads. The answer is out there. Seek and ye shall find. I think.

Who am I?

Who are you?

Published by Fractured Faith Blog

We are Stephen and Fionnuala and this is our story. We live in Northern Ireland, have been married for 15 years and have three kids - Adam, Hannah and Rebecca. We hope that our story will inspire and encourage others. We have walked a rocky road yet here we are today, together and stronger than ever. We are far from perfect and our faith has been battered and bruised. But an untested faith is a pointless faith. Just as a fractured faith is better than none at all. We hope you enjoy the blog.

45 thoughts on “Who Are You?

  1. You are Stephen, the human. Each year you may peel toward someone, but you also add layers from life experiences. This does not lead to a “big fat nothing.”

    I might also add that Stephen-the-rugby-player or Stephen-the-runner or even Stephen-the-honeycomb-ice-cream-addict are all rôles. But you know that.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So beautifully written! I guess all of us at some point, ask ourselves this question…who am I? And yes, the answer will continue to change our entire life and I guess this is beautiful! We are in continue evolvement only if we decide to step out of our comfort zone though! We are a human being full of life experiences, with ups and downs, with happiness and sorrows! 😊

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  3. This is beautiful and a necessary read. I don’t know how many times I’ve asked myself this question in fear that I’m slowly moving away from who I was meant to be… but then it hit me at some point that I didn’t even know exactly who I was meant to be (don’t know if I’m making much sense at all here but hey…)

    Thank you so much for this!

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  4. Yep. Love it! Very true. ☺️ And even if you *do* figure out who you are, we’ll never know the exact Stephen *you* know, given we all perceive *you* according to not only who *we* are, but also according to a variety of factors: one being, how many German biscuits we’ve consumed whilst having the discussion: ‘who on earth are you, Stephen?’ My goodness we are fascinating creatures, aren’t we? I could talk about things like this all night, non stop. ☺️

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  5. In Buddhism, they teach that “you” don’t exist. Perhaps the most scientific of all religions, they really embraced the science of molecular biology, lol. Not exactly what you were saying, but one funny thing I was told while studying Buddhism was “point to yourself and show me where YOU are”. Simple question but when you really think about it, it doesn’t have an answer. Everywhere you point is just flesh.
    We are complicated machines made up of billions of tiny animals all working together to produce our consciousness. This doesn’t negate belief in a soul, in my opinion. There could still be an overall governing force that is “me” somewhere in here. Hinduism sees it as the Sahasrara chakra, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam call it the spirit, etc. When you break down the relationship between all of our organs and cells, there is still something else there which I personally believe is just our complex nervous system, but those other things could exist, there’s no way for me to know. I think that’s called Agnostic. Haha.

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  6. This question made me think… I dont know what I am… I’m scared of a definition because I dont like being labeled or defined… I want to be free from any definition, but this screws with your mind… because you dont know what it is that you want…

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  7. Wow, yes, THAT age-old question. At 50, I am also still trying to figure that one out! Heck, I don’t even know where I belong! The USA or Norway (I have dual citizenship). I’ve been pulled in these 2 directions for a long time…Norway has always felt more like home, however. I stayed in the US for my son for 24 years. I am a mother, first and foremost, and my son will always be my first priority (even though I’ve been told that I must make myself the #1 priority, now that my son is young adult and starting his own life). I just mean that, as parents, we will always be there for our children, no matter how old they are. I will drop everything I’m doing to help my son, always. I am, however, starting to focus more on myself and my life after turning 50, because of this very question. Still so much uncertainty about who am and what I’m supposed to be doing.

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      1. Well, when you’re ready to go to Norway, let me know! I can offer all sorts of helpful information 🙂 I’ve been all over Norway from north to south and know a lot of ins and outs. I hope you get there someday! I’m coming to your neck of the world for the first time in less than 3 weeks! I will be in Dublin 2 days, Belfast 1 day, then the rest of the time in Cork. Can’t wait!!!

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  8. Lots of great thoughts here Stephen. It’s quite remarkable how time changes us, really and how we can intentionally make decisions to become better versions of ourselves. I find that fact encouraging: We have the choice to change ourselves if we don’t like what we see!

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  9. I actually got asked a question the other day that I ahd to stop and think about. What do i want to be when I grow up. Considering there’s fewer days ahead than there are behind, I thought it was a pretty important question.

    Kurt Connegut wrote that some of the most interesting people he ever met are sixty five year old who still don’t know what they want to be when they grow up.

    So my reply was the same one I gave when I was 10. I said, “I want to be an astronaut when I grow up.”

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  10. That is the quintessential question, isn’t it? And as you have so skillfully articulated, the answer to that question keeps morphing and evolving. I don’t believe the point of asking the question is to arrive at THE definitive final answer, though. I think part of our purpose here in this life is to keep asking and keep discovering the new and shifting landscape of the wonder-filled creations that we each are. So keep asking! Keep answering! Thanks again for provoking thoughtful reflection.

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  11. There is a difference between who I am and what I do, although what I have done; my experiences and how I have processed them, and who has been in my life are all the boards and nails and shingles that are the structure that “I” live in… all in all, they are all together me and not all of me. My bottom line is I am a beloved child of God and so are you. I believe the essence of ‘me’ is my God-given identity and my task in life is to be me. In some ways, that means to discover who that ‘me’ is because factors in the world would cover it up with insecurities and comparisons to others. But mostly it is to relax and let the real me be. There is no need for striving. Just be me.

    And who are you? The same… Beloved child of God. And I don’t have to know anything about you to say that. I believe that is true of every person on the planet, regardless of religion or lack thereof. It is a given function of our humanity. And you are unique. Just as each robin, elm leaf and snowflake are different and beautiful and yet identifiable as a robin, elm leaf or snowflake, each person is different and beautiful and need not do any more than a robin, elm leaf or snowflake to be who we are meant to be.

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  12. People often asked themselves this question. My last relationship ended because my ex said he didn’t know who he was. I personally have never had that issue. I’m not saying I dont question why I’m here sometimes. At the end of the day I’m Arnetta Lane, daughter of Delma Hooks, child of God, helper of people, writer, someone who tries to make a difference, lover of animals and babies

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