I like reading The Economist and watching "I love the 80s." I like tennis, Fazoli's breadsticks and writing assignments. I value honesty, commitment, scholarship and kindness. These are hard and true facts, but there is a lot I do not know about myself. I don't know how I feel about the death penalty, I have mixed feelings about religion, and I don't know what I think about a cashless society. I have no stock answer to offer about a life-changing experience or a moment of enlightenment, and it is hard for me to give a comprehensive proclamation of who I am, for my identity unfolds more every day as my experiences grow. Since I am only 17 years old, life has a lot of unfolding to do.
I dislike saying "I am trying to find myself" because my identity is not lost, it just needs more uncovering. Luckily for me, what I love to do and want to be helps me uncover more about myself. I want to be a writer. I may not end up a professional writer but I will always write, even if I am the only one interested in my work, because writing is my self-reflection.
When writing, I sometimes get worked up into such a fervor that I barely know what I am saying. I just let my fingers fly over the keyboard and the ideas pour from my head. When I go back through the jumble of unpunctuated ideas, I notice a theme running through the writing. I don't try to put a moral in the theme, but invariably it happens. Evaluating the theme and the rest of the writing helps me interpret my own character and decipher my at times bottled-up feelings. In opinion essays, my values show. In stories, the fictional characters express my beliefs.
Every day my experience and knowledge increase, and I learn more about myself. Each time I write what is in my head as honestly as I can, another piece of the identity puzzle is revealed. Mostly, I like what is unearthed (though this varies depending on how "teenage girl-ish" I'm feeling). I am not worried that I don't know everything about myself. As I get older, I'll figure it out.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.