Posted by: soulvoyager | August 27, 2010

Who Am I?

Ever felt that you were just a hollow coconut husk, small and insignificant, bobbing about in a sea of faceless people?

Call it prolonged teenage angst, or an extended bout of identity crisis if you like. That search for that sense of personhood – does it ever end? Not for me. Not yet, at least. But at the same time, I’m not even sure what I am expecting at the end of this search. Is it the illumination of something concrete that I can clearly describe, touch, and feel? Or is it a sense of peace in knowing that I am who I am, unique and special, with no compulsion to be anyone else. Where does that concept of self come from? Where can I find my center? As I navigate through the winding paths of life, I find myself constantly redefining ‘me’ in terms of my relationships – with my family, my friends, my colleagues, Sleepy pig. But does not my identity also come from the places I’ve been to, all my past experiences, my values, thoughts, feelings, what I do, and God? Perhaps it is a sum total of all these things too complex for my mind to comprehend. And if my identity comes from being God’s child, how am I to live that out in my life? What consequence and impact does it have? What does it really mean to be identified with Christ? I constantly grapple with these questions and more.

I was never a confident kiddo during my teenage years. Yearning to be among the popular crowd, I could only watch on enviously as others went on to become prefects, or earn medals and trophies in prominent sports. I wished with all my heart that I was just that little bit more athletic, or artistic, or charismatic. I longed to be anyone else but myself. Other girls in my school unbuckled their belts, wore colorful sport shoes,  sported unkempt hair, all in a bid to flout the school rules and show that they were different. I wished I was as daring as they were, but I didn’t even have the guts to be defiant in this way. Among a whole bevy of girls who seemed a whole lot more worthy and talented, I was just one girl not good enough and one person too much.

That search for identity took me through the dungeons of the eating disorder. I wouldn’t say that that was the whole cause of it. But it was definitely a contributing factor. The minute the psychiatrist diagnosed my illness, I became “the anorexic”. Initially, it was a label I took on with a smidgen of perverse self-satisfaction in my heart. At last, I had an identity. At last, people were taking notice. At least, I was better than the rest. Of course, this ecstasy was short-lived. I soon realized that it was causing me more pain than anything else. And most of all, it robbed my real identity and substituted it with a false one synonymous with “Ed”. With Ed around, I was never allowed to continue to discover my true sense of self. Instead, I buried it under layers and layers of masks. I was riddled with guilt and paralyzed with fear. I avoided food in an attempt to avoid relationships and people. I exercised and exercised to run away from all the scary things in the world I thought I had to face alone. But I was really running away from myself. I was afraid to face ‘me’ and to ask who I really am, apart from all the expectations and desires to be someone else. I was freaking scared that if I dared unpeel the masks, I would find out that I was really nothing inside – an empty kernel, unworthy and insignificant.

Ultimately, using the eating disorder to define myself is a fruitless quest, because there is nothing I can do make me more or less precious in the eyes of God, my family, or people who love me. If I were to stare at the photos I took when I was a little girl and imagine telling that little girl that she was worthless and unloved, I would never bear to say it. Nor would I bear to say it to any other child. So why do I do that so much to myself? This self-condemnation only blinds me from my real identity, security, and purpose that can be found in Christ and Christ alone. As the bible says in Romans 8:31-34:

“What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God, and is also interceding for us.”

It is God who bestows me my true sense of self. It is only in Him, my Creator, that I can be found.

I used to think of myself as a rotten, speckled egg, sticking out like a sore thumb and never matching up to others who looked so much whiter and purer. But now, I am learning to see myself, blemishes and all, as a unique masterpiece of God’s creative energies and the culmination of His loving nature. What a staggering concept – to be thought of by the Lord of the universe and to know that every micrometer of me was tailored specially by Him!

On a separate note, I just watched a local play, “Boeing Boeing” this week with a good friend of mine. It was absolutely hilarious. This is the first time that I laughed so hard in a theater. And to think that I almost sacrificed this for a night with Ed. Well you see, I was really half-hearted about this play at first because it was something out of schedule. I still struggle somewhat with defying the routine. But I decided to give Ed the heck this time and just enjoy myself. And enjoy myself I did! In the end, not only did I have a totally side-splitting laugh at the show, I also enjoyed a nice cozy chat with my friend. What a perfect end to the evening!

It’s little things like this that spurs me on to move forward in recovery no matter how difficult it is. I recently read this poem that I thought I’d share with you…

When things go wrong as they sometimes will

When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill;

When the funds are low and the debts are high

And you want to smile but have to sigh;

When care is pressing you down a bit

Rest if you must but do not quit

Success is failure turned inside out;

The silver tint of the clouds of doubt;

And you can never tell how close you are

It may be near when it seems so far;

So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit

It’s when things go wrong that you must not quit.

~ Unknown~

I pray that this may inspire you to keep fighting no matter how much the tides are against you. You may be so close to your goal, so don’t give up. The rainbow will emerge later though you may be braving a thunderstorm now. Have a blessed week, dear ones! May the good Lord bless you and keep you, now and forevermore.

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Responses

  1. It makes me so sad that once upon a time, Satan killed your identity and made you believe that you aren’t worth much, when you are SUCH a precious being in God’s eyes. And in a way, thank god for your ED, which “woke you” up from that blindness.

    It all starts from self-identity. We can never succeed in anything nor find our proper place on earth if we don’t know who we are. I’m so thankful that you now know that. Such is God’s wonderful grace! 🙂


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