What Defines Us?

I often sit up at night and think about this question, I actually sit up and think about far more trivial things, but the idea of what makes me a good person vs. a bad person is something that I am not quite sure about. Does my life as a whole define me? Or is it the small pieces of my life where I do good things make me a “good” person?

I was sitting in my friend’s living room last night watching a movie, two of my friends on a couch to my right, another friend laying against me while we watched the movie and I looked around being content with my surroundings and I thought about this. Every person in the room has their flaws but in all they are good people. For me I think what defines us as people to others are the attributes that we show on a continual basis, but what defines us to our self are the life experiences that we hold inside.

It’s often pretty hard to make me speechless, but just last week I was greeting a table of four 50-year-old men, when one of them asked me to “tell me who you are in 20 words or less.” I stared at him for a second before asking him to explain to me what he wanted to know, since most people want to make sure that I am actually going to do something else with my life other than work at a bar. He wouldn’t budge, so I was left telling him my age, where I go to school, the degree I’m getting and what I want to do out of school. All of the purely factual information that any normal human being can pull out of their ass in 10 seconds.

I left that interaction knowing everything I told him was not who I am, but part of this very complex person that I am. What actually defines me as a person has so much more to do with my past, the thoughts that go through my head every night have to do with all of the what ifs.

What if my mom didn’t go into therapy until I was 13 instead of 12? The verbal and physical abuse would have continued for an extra year but would my path through life have been more like that of my brothers? Or was it my personality that made me able to keep going strait instead of getting lost in his spiral drugs, self-mutilation and depression.

Would I be a completely different person if I were born thin? The answer to that is yes, but I wonder if the compassion I have for others is rooted in my own pain and in my own experiences with being ostracized.

I still have defining moments of my life that are still around the corner, but I cannot help but look back and wonder about all of those little things that made me who I am. What would be different, what would still be the same?

Most importantly would I gain those things that I feel I lack as a person now?