The Myth of Finding Yourself

The Myth of Finding Yourself

Can we ever truly know who we are?
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“College is the time to find yourself.” It’s a phrase we have all heard time and time again, whether it be from movies or from the people around us. We are told all through high school that college was a magical time in our lives in which we would find out who we really were. And yet as my time as a college student draws to a close, I am no closer to knowing who I am than I was four years ago. What does finding yourself even mean? How do we know who we truly are?

We live in a society dependent on labels. Whenever we encounter a new person, we immediately give them a list of stereotypes in order to classify them. Often we think of these in binaries, assigning this stranger one extreme or another. Are they nerdy or sporty? Artsy or logical? Sexy or smart? Shy or outgoing? We use these labels to evaluate how we should steer the conversation. I recently participated in an experiment in class where we went up to strangers and recorded the questions we asked ourselves during our first interaction. It was shocking to find out how many labels I assigned to each new person, without any validity following them. Over and over again I asked myself what version of myself I could present in order for them to like me. I made assumptions about who they were and then shifted myself to fit what I assumed they liked. And at the end of the experiment, it was found that almost everyone else did the same thing. We are dependent on these labels for others to build relationships, but how can we build relationships with people we boil down to one or two stereotypes? And how can we fit a human’s essence into a few phrases or descriptors?

I think the idea that you can “find yourself”, or define your essence into a neat description, is impossible. We are all creatures who shift throughout the years, throughout the contexts of life, and throughout our experiences. No one is so steadfast in the way they act and believe that their worldview cannot be altered. We are all such complex beings, no one is just what they appear to be on the surface. And in order to create meaningful connections, we must be willing to take the time to ask people questions about themselves, because that is the closest thing to knowing someone’s “true self” that we can get to.

I think these questions are also the closest we can get to finding ourselves. Who we are is not what we are wearing or what we look like. It has nothing to do with our major or our plans after school. Who we are is what we are passionate about, what we believe in. And these four years, I have come closer to finding that out. It may be completely different in another for years, and that is okay. We deserve more than being put into a neat little box of faux descriptors. Instead, we should accept the freedom to alter ourselves, and know that who we are is whoever we choose to be.

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I Am A Female And I Am So Over Feminists

I believe that I am a strong woman, but I also believe in a strong man.
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Beliefs are beliefs, and everyone is entitled to their opinion. I'm all about girl power, but in today's world, it's getting shoved down our throats. Relax feminists, we're OK.

My inspiration actually came from a man (God forbid, a man has ideas these days). One afternoon my boyfriend was telling me about a discussion his class had regarding female sports and how TV stations air fewer female competitions than that of males. In a room where he and his other male classmate were completely outnumbered, he didn't have much say in the discussion.

Apparently, it was getting pretty heated in the room, and the women in the class were going on and on about how society is unfair to women in this aspect and that respect for the female population is shrinking relative to the male population.

If we're being frank here, it's a load of bull.

SEE ALSO: To The Women Who Hate Feminism

First of all, this is the 21st century. Women have never been more respected. Women have more rights in the United States than ever before. As far as sports go, TV stations are going to air the sports that get the most ratings. On a realistic level, how many women are turning on Sports Center in the middle of the day? Not enough for TV stations to make money. It's a business, not a boycott against female athletics.

Whatever happened to chivalry? Why is it so “old fashioned" to allow a man to do the dirty work or pay for meals? Feminists claim that this is a sign of disrespect, yet when a man offers to pick up the check or help fix a flat tire (aka being a gentleman), they become offended. It seems like a bit of a double standard to me. There is a distinct divide between both the mental and physical makeup of a male and female body. There is a reason for this. We are not equals. The male is made of more muscle mass, and the woman has a more efficient brain (I mean, I think that's pretty freaking awesome).

The male body is meant to endure more physical while the female is more delicate. So, quite frankly, at a certain point in life, there need to be restrictions on integrating the two. For example, during that same class discussion that I mentioned before, one of the young ladies in the room complained about how the NFL doesn't have female athletes. I mean, really? Can you imagine being tackled by a 220-pound linebacker? Of course not. Our bodies are different. It's not “inequality," it's just science.

And while I can understand the concern in regard to money and women making statistically less than men do, let's consider some historical facts. If we think about it, women branching out into the workforce is still relatively new in terms of history. Up until about the '80s or so, many women didn't work as much as they do now (no disrespect to the women that did work to provide for themselves and their families — you go ladies!). We are still climbing the charts in 2016.

Though there is still considered to be a glass ceiling for the working female, it's being shattered by the perseverance and strong mentality of women everywhere. So, let's stop blaming men and society for how we continue to “struggle" and praise the female gender for working hard to make a mark in today's workforce. We're doing a kick-ass job, let's stop the complaining.

I consider myself to be a very strong and independent female. But that doesn't mean that I feel the need to put down the opposite gender for every problem I endure. Not everything is a man's fault. Let's be realistic ladies, just as much as they are boneheads from time to time, we have the tendency to be a real pain in the tush.

It's a lot of give and take. We don't have to pretend we don't need our men every once in a while. It's OK to be vulnerable. Men and women are meant to complement one another—not to be equal or to over-power. The genders are meant to balance each other out. There's nothing wrong with it.

I am all for being a proud woman and having confidence in what I say and do. I believe in myself as a powerful female and human being. However, I don't believe that being a female entitles me to put down men and claim to be the “dominant" gender. There is no “dominant" gender. There's just men and women. Women and men. We coincide with each other, that's that. Time to embrace it.

Cover Image Credit: chrisjohnbeckett / Flickr

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Eddie And Dave: A Gender Reflection

I saw the play "Eddie and Dave," by The Atlantic Theater Company and it brought up multiple implications regarding gender and how people think.

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On January 13th, I went to see a play produced by The Atlantic Theater Company in New York City. It was called "Eddie and Dave," written about Eddie Van Halen and David Lee Roth and their rise to fame with the band Van Halen.

The most defining aspect of this play that made it different from typical off-Broadway plays was that the male characters, including Dave and Eddie, were played by women, and one of the two female characters was played by a man.

I immediately noticed this discrepancy when I looked at playbill before the show started. I also noticed I was one of the few young people in the audience. The majority of those who surrounded me were senior citizens.

Although I noticed the difference in gender, I didn't think much of it. Not that its normal for women to play men in shows, but its been done before and in this day and age, I didn't think it mattered.

The play was very well done. I enjoyed the structure, the comedy, and the story. Once again, didn't think much of the gender-bending.

I waited in line for the bathroom, with old women in front of me and behind me. They were all discussing the show and I stood quietly and listened.

"Interesting casting..." said one woman, awkwardly. Her friend agreed. Another woman said that she really liked the gender differences and that it didn't take away from the story at all. Most just mentioned the gender thing and moved on with their conversation.

This got me thinking about two things: how far we have come as a society when it comes to accepting the bending of gender norms and the androgyny of so many people today, but also how far we have to go.

Yes, it is more common for younger people to be more accepting of such a thing, but older people who view gender, in the same manner, do exist. The difference is that people on the same wavelength as me don't even think anything of it and vocalize their opinions, whether positive or negative. Some think it's so innovative and others think they should have stuck to traditional norms.

I suppose what we all can take away from this is that people shouldn't be judged for belonging to a certain group, like assuming old people are traditionalist just because they're old. Furthermore, we all should try to open our minds to breaking societal norms, or at least accepting others for doing so. Especially in theater and art in general; women can play men and men can play women and it shouldn't make any difference to how the piece is digested.

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