“If I could know me, I could know the universe.” -Shirley MacLaine
Who am I? Who am I? Who am I?
I remember being six-years-old and sitting in the back of my mom’s 1988 Oldsmobile trying to figure out who I was and why I was put here. As her car bumped down an unpaved road my mind fell into an empty pothole. I grew frustrated with my inability to answer this seemly simple question. So I did what any rational child would do — I turned to my mother for comfort and reassurance.
“Mom?” I posed.
“Yes?” She questioned.
“Who am I?” I asked with a fluttering heart.
“You are Antasha.” She said matter-of-factly.
Something inside of me screamed “NO.” I knew I was more than my name, and that this title didn’t define me. So I asked her again, “Mom, I am not Antasha. So who am I?”
“Of course you are Antasha! That is what I named you!” She replied unfazed.
It was then I realized she didn’t understand what I was trying to ask her. Beyond my name, my title, my age or status in life, I needed to understand my true self, my inner self, my higher self.
I felt like a comatose patient waking up for the first time since an accident with no memory of who I was. And I didn’t know where to begin— I mean if my own mother couldn’t answer my question, then who could? How would I uncover the truths behind the real me?
And, like a little bird hopping and chirping inside of a locked cage, living to entertain others rather than living for itself, I felt trapped. I knew I had wings, but I didn’t know I could fly and my ignorance temporarily clipped my potential. I fell into the belief that I was simply dealt a certain hand in life, and there was nothing I could do about. My worth became directly tied to material possessions, awards, acknowledgements and status.
But deep down, under all of my “gains” lay a gaping void. And rather than fill that void, instead I covered it up with a sheer veil and pretended it was gone.
And, I think this is the narrative for a lot of us. As children we intuitively know there is more to life than how it is positioned to us by society. But, as adults we forget.
We forget because we live in a society that teaches us we need money to be rich.
We forget because we live in a society that teaches us we need material things to be successful.
We forget because we live in a society that teaches us without titles we are nothing.
Western society tells us we have to make a lot of money, obtain a certain status in life, certify ourselves in a specific trade, settle down, be physically perfect and hush our inner whisperings and wishes in favor of our cultural norms. And eventually, those inner whisperings become a faint echo and we forget about them while also forgetting to live life as our true selves.
But money doesn’t automatically make us wealthy. Material things are not needed to reach personal success. And titles don’t define the essence of who and what we are.
It is up to each of us to lift the veil that is clouding our vision, unlock the truth of who we are and set ourselves free. We all must wake up and go inward to find ourselves. We are so much more than our names, ages, titles and things.
And you can wake up right now and unlock your cage by realizing you are a boundless, endless being capable of becoming and achieving anything imaginable.
The only limits that exist are the ones you impose upon yourself.
So who are you, and who do you wish to be?
(I wrote this piece originally for Thought Catalog. You can find it here).
About Antasha Durbin: Antasha is a spiritual writer, life-long student of the universe, and psychic tarot card reader. Her website, cajspirituality.com, is dedicated to casualizing the spiritual experience and making it attainable for anyone, anywhere, anytime. Follow her for free, easy-to-digest and highly actionable advice on spirituality, mindfulness and empowered living.