Who Am I? Who’s Asking?

Paris, Texas, Planet Yabadada, Who Am I?

Tough questions require vague answers.

For a ridiculously large portion of my life, this question had basically been my state of being.
Who am I?

As I would walk away from the blinding setting Sun, I would witness this question as a freakish shadow with long limbs attached to my anxious feet.
The question that’s always in front of me and yet the one that’s impossible to catch.

I’ve always believed that I have to properly figure out who I am before anything else happened. That I have to give myself strict labels – albeit a lot of them in odd combination – to be of value to other civilized adult humans. To learn everything I need to know before being asked the wrong question, you know, the one I just so happen to not have my answer to.

At least a character’s sketch I wanted to be – even though I was so much more but didn’t always see – before showing up in the real world. To put my act together before the stage appearance.

Little did I know that it’s all just a brutal illusion or, to be less poetic, a complete bullshit. There is no such moment in life when you can say that you’re finished growing into an adult, or when you realize you’ve figured it all out, or when you know who you truly are and what’s your role in this world that you’re going to play for the rest of your life.

You might think you do but you can’t be sure that’s not going to change tomorrow.
Because so many things change tomorrow.

The worst thing you could do, that I actually had been doing most of my life, is to think and think and, quite naturally, overthink instead of doing and working and moving.

Trying to find the ultimate solution, the perfect label, the right name, the correct word, the secure path, the true passion, and the real meaning is torture if done without exploring, playing, dancing, and experimenting.

Maybe this kind of thinking – of wanting to work on I before anything significant events and people enter your life – is partly a product of Hollywood narratives told in a story pattern of Hero’s Journey.

But do we really see ourselves as the heroes of our lives?
Standing alone against the world and all odds?

Saving the world, saving someone in need, finding ourselves, and only connecting with others when those others are our mentors, teachers, helpers, and those in need to be saved?

Do we only connect with others when those others are girlfriends and boyfriends and a group of friends that we’ve got as a trophy for all our hard work being a hero?

Surely not.

I as in Isolation.

I as in 1.

You can’t mould yourself into a perfect being before meeting others and connecting with them.
You can’t prepare for the meeting, for the connection, not really.

Because We is more than I + You.
And when you realize this…
when you feel it through…
the question Who Am I?’ will not make sense any longer.

Paris, Texas, Planet Yabadada
Screenshot from the movie Paris, Texas (1984)

There are plenty of movies in which you could find comfort with the kind of ideas that hopefully arose in your head after reading all of this. But my heart today is somehow attacked by flashbacks from the movie Paris, Texas (1984) from director Wim Wenders. There is an I, there is a We, and there is this mysterious fleshy air in between. The film’s splendid.

As IMDB user reviewer ztruk2001 nicely put it:

“’Paris, Texas’ is a film that must not only be seen but experienced. Sure the pacing is extremely slow, but as an audience member, use that to your advantage to suck in the picturesque orange southwest desert against the deep blue skies, and the poignant acting, and haunting soundtrack. There’s no reason not to treat yourself to this uniquely American masterpiece meditation.

Featured image: Screenshot from the movie Paris, Texas (1984)

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