Who am I? Not Jean Valjean.
I’ve always loved that moment when Jean Valjean screams his existential crisis into the void and then answers himself because he’s just that badass. I always imagined growing up would be a similar experience in self-discovery. I pictured myself standing on a stage, or an Irish cliff, and just bursting into song, followed by a lot of bowing to thunderous applause. Two things wrong with this fantasy: I’m tone deaf and I don’t own a passport.
As I come up on the end of my college years I’ve realized that somewhere between getting braces and getting a credit card I grew up and missed it somehow. I never had that moment of, “Ah yes. This is who I am. I was born to do this.” A part of me wonders if that will ever happen.
Let me explain. Every few years my family uproots itself, changes personality, and finds a new state/community to live in. I’ve moved 13 times so far, never spending more than four years in one place. I’ve reinvented my identity so many times, tried on so many different hats, it’s ridiculous. Part of the reason why is that I had to in order to survive the crazy lifestyle my parents chose for our family, and also because I just never slowed down enough to question if there was anything permanent to me at all.
Guess what? I’m about to enter into my fifth year living in one place. It’s driving me insane. I think that maybe after a lifetime of gypsy living this feeling might not ever go away, but as I enter into the more mature years of adulthood I would like to finally, finally, have some sort of roots. Even if those roots are in my own sense of self. So who am I? I guess I intend to find out.