Who Are You?

Man, I gotta tell you, too many things happening at the same time. It's like as we are putting out one fire, another is popping out. And it's every freaking where. But don't forget to guard your heart and seek for your own peace, however you can. Jesus has overcome. Not will. Not may. He HAS. It's done.
Coded this myself #Girlswhocode

I wanna blog about identity. Who are you? What makes you, you? What is the real you?

I remember years ago when I first heard about Elizabeth Holmes, a tech entrepreneur. Holmes dropped out of college at the tender age of 19 to start what she at the time considered to be the future of medicine. She wanted to revolutionize blood testing, and she did. And while I was impressed by all her achievements—you know I love me some girl power, I don't joke with powerful and successful women at all—I  was unnerved by something she said in an interview. She said her work was her life. In a profile of Holmes, Ken Auletta wrote in The New Yorker:

"She no longer devotes time to novels or friends, doesn't date, doesn't own a television, and hasn't taken a vacation in 10 years.  Her refrigerator is all but empty, as she eats most of her meals at the office. She is a vegan, and several times a day she drinks a pulverized concoction of cucumber, parsley, kale, spinach, romaine lettuce, and celery." 


I thought.

When I first read that two years ago, I was both impressed and intrigued. My first thought was to wonder what exactly I was doing with my life. Someone was so occupied with literally changing the face of medicine and here I was, done with my first semester of grad school (it was 2014) and spending unaccounted time on Facebook and the mother devil—Instagram. I gotta do better, I told myself. Few moments later, I paused. No, I was not sure I wanted that. What kind of success would it be if it required me not doing other things I love or worse, if I had no time, no matter how little, for the people I cared about. I was back to being happy in who I was and forgot about her. I was still impressed though, just no longer intrigued.

Fast forward to two years later, she made news, again. This time, not for good. You see after extensive coverage by Wall Street Journal, the accuracy of the tests done by Holmes' company was being called into question. Few weeks after the news, Forbes estimated her net worth to be $0 from over $4billion. In no time the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service banned her from operating labs for TWO years.

If her work was her life, doesn't that mean her life is over? Don't get me wrong please, this is not schadenfreude, I'm trying to make a point. It's devastating what happened to her; that one's entire life's work be so reduced to nothing.

Which brings me to my point. Outside of that degree, that fancy achievement, the accolades, the incredibly-unbelievable success, the hustle, the one zillion social media followers, who are you?

I think we tie our very being, our very core to what brings us money, to what brings us popularity, which is understandable, maybe even okay.  But it also makes it clear how depression and suicides are at an all time high. If your very foundation is something as fleeting as money or popularity, the moment that foundation shakes (and it probably will at some point for many people), your core shakes too. In Sarah Drew's commencement speech at UVA, her alma mater, she charged the graduates to not focus on impressing, but to focus on love.

So instead of focusing on on how to impress, maybe just focus on who to love, who to serve...because for the most part, the folks you are busy impressing do NOT care. Do it because of YOU.

For me, I found a verse in the scripture that gave me a better understanding. Paul, in a letter to the Philippians said compared to the privilege of knowing Jesus, every other thing was insignificant.

My own identity comes from God, who is a pretty solid foundation. Because my identity is in God, not how much is in my bank account, not my hustle, not my degrees and accomplishments, not the languages I speak, not my pedigree, not even my big dreams, I understand that failures don't define me. At the same time, there is no place for pride when I succeed. Success, failures are parts of me NOT the whole me. Many parts make for a whole us, and it's natural to attach more importance to certain parts. However, figure out the valuable part and focus on that. But place your identity on something immutable. I know who I am, do you? Or do you just move on to the most flashy thing and/or tie your life to intangible things? So I ask again,

Who are you?



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