dafydd asked the following this evening:
What defines who you are, in conversation? Are you defined by the actions of your friends and what you do with them? Are you defined by the work you do? (And does paid vs. volunteer work make a difference?) Are you defined by … your pets? What other frames of reference exist?
Does what you talk about define you, especially to others?
This is actually something I remember from the very first night he and I spent together… Sitting at Red Lobster, waiting to be seated for dinner, we were catching up on the nineteen years since we’d seen each other regularly. He was talking about the life he’d had; I was talking about the relationships I’d had, as though they were the only things I had done in all that time that were worth talking about. I considered this a huge failing in myself, to be honest – did I really find myself so unremarkable that the only thing he would care about was who I’d slept with and when?
It’s been five years since then, and I’m still not doing very good at it. I don’t talk about myself unless it’s in terms of the people around me. [And that’s if I talk at all – Doug didn’t know my supervisor’s name at my last temp assignment until the day I was let go.] I have to question whether or not I actually believe I exist without other people around me…