One of my favorite scenes in Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland” is when she first meets the caterpillar. The dude is obviously high as a kite and asks her a standard, seemingly simple question: Who are you? A quick and simple answer might have been, “I’m Alice. Who are you?” But our little blond heroine takes his question as a philosophical gateway to try and figure out exactly who she IS. (And honestly it is a very accurate portrayal of having a conversation with a stoned person, when you yourself are not stoned. But I digress) Alice answers the question by saying, “I hardly know sir. I have changed so many times since this morning you see…” He then asks her to explain herself to which Alice replies, “I’m afraid I can’t explain myself sir, because I’m not myself you know.”
I like that scene because it pretty much sums up how I feel every morning when I roll out of bed. On any given day I have no clue of who I am or what I am doing. But I am alright with that. It’s other people that seem to take issue. Sure I can tell you what I DO for a living, but I don’t think that tells you “who I am”. I do not define people (or myself) by what they do for a living. I could tell you my hobbies or about my love life, but I don’t think knowing that I am a single woman who happens to be an avid reader who enjoys karaoke will get you any closer to knowing “who I am”. I could even tell you how others have described me. (Words such as: feline, spunky, opinionated, moxie, bitch, nice, cute, sexy, funny, clever, stupid, annoying, beautiful, fat, ugly, charming…) And you see where that gets you. People’s ideas of “who you are” will just lead you in circles.
And that’s the problem right there – other people and what they think. I know a lot of expats get questioned about this lifestyle from our friends and families living in America. Every time I go back to the states I feel like I am sitting at the Kid’s table while every one else is playing grown up. And I know that some might think I am wasting my life here. But the honest truth is – I don’t care. Think that if you want. Money doesn’t mean very much to me so I am quite happy to live where and how I do. I have met some great people in my travels, people who have changed my life. I have made some friends that I cannot imagine living without and I have made a few enemies as well. But that is just the way it is. I might not know who I am, but I know I am a better person than I was yesterday, or five years ago. And that’s gotta mean something.
So if I happen to meet a stoned caterpillar who asks me, “who are you” I think I might just have to say, “I’m Alicia. Nice to meet you. If you want anymore than that then perhaps you better pass that pipe, put on some Rolling Stones and order some pizza. It’s gonna take a while to figure it out.