I’ve long felt strange about a particular issue of mine: I don’t have a good sense of identity from within a vacuum. What I mean by that is that unless I see myself reflected in the eyes of others, I don’t really know who I am.
This may be a common situation with entertainers and actors and comedians, but I have no idea. Something I think is funny isn’t really funny unless other people laugh. I can’t be proud of something until it receives praise from friends and strangers alike. I can’t tell if I’ve gone too far or crossed lines without being informed as such. This issue of identity can lead to me becoming needy for the approval and laughter of others and desperate for a response from someone (anyone) to guide me.
I have been actively working on isolating and understanding my own opinions, free from any other perspective, so that I can develop an identity. It’s a process that is simple but hard for me to do. I ask myself questions. Did I enjoy doing that activity/saying those things/being in that situation/identifying as that type? Would I have said or done or been what I had even if there was no audience? Does that make me happy or sad or fulfilled or angry? Was my reason for doing/saying/being because I wanted to or because I wanted to hear what others would say?
The past few years have been particularly hard on this issue of identity. My entire dynamic shifted and my world turned on end. My ability to trust and love was damaged, repaired, and almost destroyed again. I’ve gotten sick of picking up the pieces and trying to reassemble them every time. It’s at a point where I need to just be unbreakable by the actions of others. If I can figure out who I am and what I like and why I do the things I do from within a vacuum, I can protect myself from the fickleness and disloyalty of the world.
So, who am I?
Who is Adam Heath Avitable?
From what I can tell, he’s that guy who . . .
Always shows up when he says he will, because it’s important to him to be dependable.
Can be controlling and anal-retentive because he always wants everything to go perfectly.
Loves to talk on the phone because texting and emailing and tweeting will never replace the quality of a long conversation.
Has learned to prize honesty over his ability to manipulate people because transparency is important to him.
Would never do something to harm someone he cared about even if they don’t feel the same.
Gives way too many chances because he believes that most people are inherently good.
Can get obsessed and consumed because he never knows when something will end.
Falls in love easier than he should because he’s more fragile than he seems.
Never shies away from having hard conversations or finding the words to say to those who need to hear them.
Wants to make the world laugh because of the Bill Cosby records he listened to as a boy.
Will move mountains for the important people in his life because they deserve to have whatever they need or want.
Knows that he’s not perfect but still wants to be.
Isn’t always the rock of support that he pretends to be.
Wants to be famous so that he can take care of those who mean the most to him.
Will always think before saying something irrational or mean because he knows it would hurt someone.
Respects people who respect themselves, who value their friendships, who don’t tear others down to feel better about who they are, and who are honest and open.
Lives by his own moral code because sometimes rules must be broken for the greater good.
Wants to be in a healthy, happy, fulfilling relationship because he’s ready to try it again.
Doesn’t understand boundaries and hates that this frustrates people.
Believes in romance and true love and soul mates.
Will tell you anything if you ask, because he doesn’t want to have anything to hide.
Would be a Republican if social issues weren’t so important to him, and can’t understand how anyone can choose fiscal concerns over issues that are about people and their lives.
Is the person you want in your corner because he will defend you unilaterally and aggressively.
Has an overactive imagination which can be a curse more than a blessing.
Is harder on himself than anyone could ever be, because it’s important to try to succeed and do your best.
Learns from his mistakes and is grateful for the opportunity to do so.
Believes in something bigger but thinks that organized religion is the antithesis to intelligent thought and discourse.
Regrets every second of pain or hurt he’s caused anyone, but would be/do/say it again if it was necessary.
Realizes that maybe he does know who he is after all.