Finding an ID by Monday

I’m preparing a 1 minute video for my revamped website about who I am and what I do.

Yikes. Who am I? And what do I do?

I have a history of worrying about my identity and Nancy White (in Facebook comments) suggests that my identity crisis is part of my identity.

EW insists I have a very solid sense of self. My problem is having a simple narrative for who I am. I’m complex and it gets in the way of an easy-to-tell story.

(To which I flick my hair to one side, cross my legs and puff on an imaginary long cigarette – pondering pretentiously on my complexity.)

Anyway, complexity aside – he’s right. I don’t have an easy story about who I am.

Deadline Monday: who am I and what do I do?

My strategy for finding out is to cruise round with a Flip videocam, surprising myself in unlikely places with the question: who are you Beverly and what do you do? With acute anxiety I force myself to watch each video looking for clues.

I’ve learned some things in this exercise:

I realize that “Who am I?” is a threefold question. One is a an existential question to myself. A second is having a convincing account of who I am that I can give to other people. And the third is feeling like an authentic interface between the existential and the convincing account.

So who am I under all those layers of socialization, social and cultural expectations? And who am I with them.  Here I have to delve into my viscera to try and listen to myself. And I pay attention to the kinds of things I’ve done. I’m noticing that I’m more likely to hear the answer when I’m physically fit or tuned into some music and African rhythms.

The other part of that question is – what is the story I tell about myself? I don’t have any decent short stories to tell about myself, like “I’m British and live in Portugal” or “I have two grown-up children” or “I’m a <Job Title>”. While those stories could be convincing to the outside they are not sufficiently convincing to me.

So there you go. Who am I? Who am I? And what do I do? I’ve given myself until Monday to come up with one that both I can buy into and that is convincing for the world.

13 Feb ’11 – Changes update: I worried about this post after I published it. I missed something important. Now a few days later I’ve changed it.

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