“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” George Bernard Shaw
I like the idea that I’m not already fully formed and that I might actually have the power to change myself. I was told in my early twenties that I lack a sense of agency about myself and at the time I didn’t really understand what that meant and furthermore didn’t think it sounded very important either. If only I’d paid more attention.
In some ways, I’m very passive especially when it concerns my mental illness. The depression comes, the depression goes, the mania comes, the mania goes … and it seems to have fuck all to do with me. I didn’t used to think this way or at least, not to this extreme. For my age and the length of time I have had my illness I had more episodes that the majority. And of course, almost all the people I know do not have episodes at all. I don’t think there can ever be a convenient time to get ill but my illness certainly seemed to come at particularly inconvenient times to me and in the end that cost me my degree, career and any thought of banking on the future. That timing and my inability to ward off or attenuate the onslaught of my episodes made me give up trying to affect them. And somewhere along the time I gave up trying to affect my future at all. For someone who thinks fate is just patronising construct to try and lessen the blows of random happenings and essentially a way for people to opt out of making decisions for themselves I seem to have made my own little construct that does exactly the same thing.
The “finding yourself” meme does nothing for me. I’m right here already. To be less facetious, “finding yourself” and “creating yourself” are essentially the same idea: knowing more, experiencing more and living more. The way to go about that is different and that, to me, is the heart of this quotation. The idea that I have the power to change myself is new to me and frankly I’ve not done much with it. There is comfort in the idea of fate and trusting that necessary changes will occur regardless but finally I can also see the comfort in the idea that I have some choices too.