If you are a millennial, then you must be familiar with Jackie Chan movies, and the craze period where ALL of us were going bonkers over Uncle Jackie. I am sure it happened to us at different stages (considering the first millennials were born about 10 years before the last batch). But we were in it together, imitating his kicks and tricks from the films. Add in Mr. Bean’ (ah- I want to go back and watch him all over again!), and the notorious Naija ones where the villains were turned into dogs like in Suicide Mission (In fact I remember it was unrepentant Monique who was turned into a dog 😂). Was it in The Price that the pastor showered and turned blind, after his wife put juju in the soap? Ha. Interesting times, these were.
The title of this article is inspired by Jackie Chan’s chant in his Who Am I movie, and a period I am currently going through, of trying to figure out who I really am. While I cannot remember exactly what happened to Uncle Jackie in that movie that got him screaming ‘Who Am I’, about three times(?), his question has been too present on my mind.
I am in my mid-twenties, people older than me say I am still too young to be constantly worried, those younger than me think I am too old to not have figured shit out. Quite the place to be. Being the over-thinker that I am, this Covid-19 period has definitely made the disorganization in my mental space worse. There are the usual wonderings of what tomorrow holds in terms of work, but my thoughts have also been coming closer and closer home, to questions about my person, and who this is.
The other day I took someone shopping, and one of the things they were purchasing was perfume. As I went through bottle after bottle trying out different scents to see what I like, this person was looking for a specific perfume. When they finally picked out a bottle, I reached out to sample their scent of choice. The brand was different from what I remember them using, but the scent was very similar to the previous one! I found that impressive, you know, having a signature scent and keeping at it for years. But what I become even more aware of was the fact that I did not know what type of scent(s) I like! What is my vibe? What is my flavour? Do I like them woody, or fruity, or flowery, or fiery strong and present? Or do I like my scents fresh and dewy?
I got thinking about other aspects of my life as well. Dressing style; what is mine? Is it the casual chic I’m always reaching out for, or is it the elegant designs I save on my Pinterest? I thought of house décor, what does my personality look like, expressed in living room décor? What would my primary colours be? Ah, colours! Guys do you know I had to hold a solo-meeting to figure out what my actual favourite colour is? And it wasn’t red! All my life I have believed my favourite colour is red, despite the fact that I never buy anything in actual red! My love for red has been because it is the primary colour to my actual favourite colour, maroon! Maroon is my actual favourite colour. I was in my mind twenties, in 2020, when I discovered this. Everything I have thought I bought in ‘red’, has actually been in maroon, and all the things that are actual red I ended up giving away. How did I ever not realise this of myself?
I have been thinking about my hobbies as well. For instance, writing. I have loved writing all my life. I have been forever starting blogs over and over again to host my work. However, the older I get, the less I write. I find it harder typing out my thoughts in prose. Sometimes I want to write so bad but I cannot seem to have the mental energy required for it. In this period of finding out who I really am, I have been wondering if writing really is my hobby or has been an escape. If it is my hobby, am I not supposed to enjoy doing it, often? Surely you cannot say something is your hobby and go a whole year without practising, with the only excuse being ‘I don’t feel like it’?
In all this, my core fear is that I might have lived my whole life not being truly myself. That a lot of the things I have leaned towards, have been either so I can be acceptable, be loved, or used them as a distraction from something. I feel like even in those things I am confident and sure that they are of me, could be because I have not experienced alternatives. That I go for them because they are all I know. All I have had access to and tried. That maybe, if I had more choice (which often need financial muscle), I would be better placed to say that for sure this is who I am and what I like.
I appreciate my journey this far. I appreciate the person I am, and how much I have worked to do better and be better. I can say that I have grown, and I continue to do so. Like everyone else, I am a work in progress.
I understand that largely we are all a product of our environments and lived experiences. Yet I also strongly believe that at our very core, each one of has a part of us that is unchangeable, that cannot be influenced, that is unshakable. A part that is YOU. A part that is your spirit.
I feel there is a woman in me I have not met yet, and she is beginning to show up.
Who Am I? I am her. And I am ready to meet her.