Who am I?

Who you really are is the result of many many things. How you deal with fear. Who you surround yourself with. And how you show up when it matters”

Meredith Grey on Grey’s Anatomy, Season 18, episode 12

Recently, in a support group that my Dad and I moderate for those who are living with Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC), it was suggested that we look to those things that make us who we are, those elements that define us as human beings, as our sense of self, not our diagnosis, not the relationships we have to others. Over the course of two (2) weeks in the online Facebook groups, we shared the things that we read and thought about as we worked to come up with those words or ways to describe who we are.

Some of the resources that I personally used to come up with my description of who I am are: personality profiles like Meyers Briggs and Enneagram; books like the 4 Agreements, Mastery of Self, The Wounded Healer; my own musings and journaling; input from others over the years. For anyone who is interested, I test strongly as an ISTJ on the Meyers Briggs and an 8w7 on the Enneagram.

Here’s what I’ve come up with:

  • I am a human being, labels like survivor or thriver or warrior do not encompass the whole of who I am. I resist being labels and only embrace labels when I feel pushed. Really, I don’t like being pushed, ever.
  • I like to be in control, when I feel like someone else is attempting to control my decisions, it evokes a strong negative reaction.
  • I am loyal, when I connect with others, they are my people and I am extremely protective of those I love.
  • I am motivated by shiny new things – when I get excited about something, I am all in, when that thing loses it’s luster or I loose confidence, I am out.
  • I am consistent and dedicated if I believe in something, if I’ve committed to it; I will always follow through on a commitment even if I’m no longer excited about it, if I cut bait mid-stream, that’s usually because of a betrayal or hurt that cannot be rectified.
  • I am competitive, others “ahead” of me spurs me to do better.
  • I am driven and goal-oriented.
  • I am dependable/reliable, when I say I will do or accomplish something, it gets done.
  • I am up front and direct with others, often blunt and I expect the same of others; when I find out that someone has not been honest or direct with me about something, I loose trust.
  • If there is an injustice, if something is wrong, I don’t look away, I am the person who is the thorn in someone’s side, the squeaky wheel, the person who never stops advocating; I do this for myself and I do it for others, until whatever the issue is has been corrected.
  • I do not fear conflict or controversy and I do enjoy a good debate, a sharing of minds, a stimulating interaction; this does not mean that I don’t like the person, in actuality, I find myself drawn to people who will agree to disagree with me with respect.
  • I value good leadership and pull my weight when I’m part of a team; at this same time, if I don’t believe in the leadership of a project, I either become the leader or I leave.
  • My life and experiences have shown me that I can accomplish just about anything that I decide to do and taking on new tasks or initiatives is not daunting. I push others to do this too.
  • I prize telling the truth, but I am often too blunt or don’t package the truth well; this hurts others.
  • Empathy is not something I’m good at; I work at it when I care about someone, but if I can’t or chose not to work at it, I easily don’t make room for others’ perspectives.
  • When I think I’m right, I usually dig my heels in and don’t look at the feelings of others.
  • I typically equate feelings with vulnerability/weakness in my own life and then often put that on others.
  • I am an introvert, I get my energy by being alone; often this translates into meditation, reading, crafts, writing, blogging.
  • I tend to trust facts rather than instincts usually; the saying “trust but verify” is one that I employ often and law school made that tendency much much worse.
  • I value logic over feelings and often forget to acknowledge the feelings of others since I don’t acknowledge my own feelings.
  • Anger is a feeling I’m comfortable expressing and often I have to take time to myself to figure out what is beneath the anger, what I’m using the anger to mask, usually feeling vulnerable and not wanting to show that or feeling that if I am vulnerable, I will be taken advantage of or harmed in some way. I extend this to others, if I see vulnerability, I am seized with the desire to help and protect.
  • I tend to size up a situation, analyze the facts as I know them quickly, and make a decision. I trust this process, which should not be confused with intuition or gut instinct. If anyone cares to know, I can explain my thought process in excruciating detail. Because I do this quickly, I am often frustrated with a process that requires examination of all options only to end up at the same place I determined quickly.
  • One of my deepest fears (maybe the deepest) is betrayal. I watch for it, often expect it, guard against it. When someone has betrayed me and I’ve lost trust, I’m done.

For those of you who know me, what would you add? Do these elements resonate with you?

6 thoughts on “Who am I?

  1. I think you have more empathy than you realize. You said it yourself when you said you feel seized with the need to help the vulnerable. I was about to say it may just be what we connect on, but you seem to me to have a very specific connection/compassion/protectiveness when it comes to children. It showed in your work, in your parenting, and where you have placed your focus at each turn of events in your life. You even stopped working to be interviewed for my kid’s school project. That, my friend, is built on empathy. That feeling you’re seized with is empathy. Don’t sell yourself short! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this so much. I can see myself in some of your musings, and I like that you included the negative as well as the positive. One thing this list did for me is to highlight some areas which were a solid part of me, and which are not right now because of the cancer. For example, I was very dependable and I still am in some ways, but in others not so much. I can do better and it gives me a goal, in a good way. I am going to make a list like this. Thank you! I don’t know you well enough to comment on your list Abigail, other than to say I have reached out to you a couple of times with questions and invariably you have responded right away. I really appreciate that.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I enjoy you! Each part makes up the whole! You are a wonderful, compassionate soul and I will always
    Respect your thoughts and deeds! You are a teacher!! Thank you for just being you!!❤️❤️❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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