Who am I?
A few famous quotes that are useful when trying to answer this question are below
- “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” — Dr. Seuss
- “The unexamined life is not worth living.”–Socrates
- “I think, therefore I am.” — Rene Descartes
In the last few months, I found myself questioning who I am/was. I always hear statistics that tell me Indigenous people face dark, stark, unbearable realities. I have written about some of those realities even sharing some of my own personal experiences and my own personal stories. In sharing some of those personal stories, sometimes a random person who doesn’t know me, messages me to insult me. I just brush it off as that person doesn’t really know me.
Yet, sometimes I don’t even know who I AM.
I had a really empowering, emancipating experience about a few weekends ago. I was surrounding by many strong individuals who had a clear definition about who they were, where they stood and what they stood for. I felt quite little and perhaps even like a puppet existing in my own realities. Before this experience, I had been in counseling or seen counselors that spoke to me in a way that described me as the victim. I just accepted it. I was the victim. Whatever happened before me, defined who I was and it was normal for me to feel and act the way I had. Whatever decisions I made, those that saw me as the victim defined the choices I made as just being choices victims make all the time.
I don’t want to be the victim though.
I remember I did not want to be seen this way after sitting in a few lecture classes at school. We were listening to various public speakers. All these speakers were amazing. Some of them I could relate but then there was one who spoke about Aboriginal girls/women. A white, RCMP officer. He spoke on a topic that I had direct experience with yet he spoke as if all Aboriginal girls/women that had faced these realities were all victims and needed to be saved. At the end, I ask him some questions and politely reminded him that not all are forced to do things against their own will and some are even capable of making their own choices to leave the situation they are in. Key word: SOME. I was a part of that some. I realized the situations I found myself in were not good for me and I made the conscious decision to leave. I literally *snapped* out of it when I asked myself one day, “why do these things keep happening to me?” It was either keep doing what I was doing or change. I left one life behind for a life that was/is better for me…on my own terms.
I guess some people need to be reminded that yes, Aboriginal women/girls as a group experience a lot of bad things or find themselves in bad situations. However, this does not mean that we are all victims. I no longer want to be seen as the victim or being victimized in my experiences. Being constantly reminded that I was “the victim” doesn’t make me stronger, it makes me question myself. Who wants to be constantly questioning their own self or their own existence? I want to be seen as a strong, resilient Aboriginal woman for the decisions I made to help me be a more stronger and resilient woman than I was if I had not made those decisions…both good and bad. We all make bad decisions or experience bad situations; we don’t need our bad decisions or bad situations to define our existence.