What made you become who you are?

4 Jul

After my friend Sarah came back from home (Australia) from her 2 and a half week break, she got me into this TV show that I had not previously watched before. It’s called “Lie to Me,” starring Tim Roth as the main character, Cal Lightman, crazy intuitive (or well-nurtured/educated) life psychologist who can tell people if they’re telling the truth based on their micro body expressions that is presented unconsciously (sometimes, Fox has some interesting shows). I’ve been looking for a new show to get into (…and I’m shamelessly lazy at this point of the summer, even knowing that I have enormous amount of work to do with my research projects and thesis), and now I can’t stay away from it. So far, pretty tragic for me, I know, but it is what it is. Although I’m a bit hesitant to agree with the premise of the characters that there are “universal” and “natural” micro expressions that people are not aware of doing themselves, it is a pretty interesting story. After the morning run (so proud!), I watched 2 episodes today.

And the episode that I just finished watching had this part where Lightman finds out the history of physical abuse that one of his employees feels pretty sensitive about. That made her a “natural” in figuring out people’s lies and subtle impressions, so I suppose the line between nature and nurture becomes another issue here. But towards the end, Lightman says, “… but [the history] made you become who you are.” The employee, Ria Torres (played by Monica Raymund), responds by asking him back: “Then who made you become who you are?”And the show ends.

OK, so I could not help but asking myself: “WHAT made me become who I am?” I mean what  kind of elements and people really have made me become who I am and made me to present certain aspects of me? I sometimes wonder if others, whether close to me or not so, see certain traits of me and determine these things for me. But that said, I think it’s pretty important to think of it myself first.

* the experience of being “foreign”

This is the first thing that came to my mind. This is my 10th year of living abroad. I certainly think that it made me become an individual who can show certain aspects of a typical “strong independent woman.” And I’m proud to say that I have learned to become one. I really can’t say that I cherished every moment of it. It was dreadful, lonely and awkward, especially during my teenage years. But at the same time, it was filled with pleasant uncertainty, unbreakable friendship, and explosive curiosity. I learned how to be comfortable in my own skin, whatever the situation it is or whichever country it is. I got used to the stares, prejudices, curiosities, love and good-byes. I’m still in-training, I must say, but I would not be the same person if I grew up in a monocultural background.

* My family/ies

I feel a bit guilty that I mentioned them not as the first on the list, but it is really not in the order of importance. For anyone, I suppose, having a sense of “home” is an important aspect of identity. It is arguable where mine is, but I do connect the word with my families most closely. I mentioned it plural, because I have several different families: one my biological family who has raised me and deserves all my love. And my adopted families in the US., most notably the Harrisons who have treated me with so much love and care throughout the time that I stayed in the US. And another one, my best friends throughout college, of course. They were all my oasis and comfort zone.

* anthropology

As nerdy as I am, I can’t be separated from my academic discipline that I really really love. But after all, it isn’t really about the theories or books that I adhere to, but more about how it made me to think in a different, unconventional way while looking at even everyday phenomenon. I learned why I should try to un-privilege myself, why I should have more experiences and why I should not be afraid to commit to justice. It led me to feminism and human rights activism, and it really has become a crucial part of me. Although it may not have provided me with a 6-digit salary career, now I know well enough that I have a priceless asset that I can live with for the rest of my life. Well, public policy hasn’t won this much love yet.

O well, this was one of those postings based on stream of conscioussness. It may not make any sense to you, but let me leave you with an interesting article. The female lead character of the show (Gillian Foster acted by Kelli Williams) is based on a real psychologist, Dr. Maureen O’Sullivan (Lightman as well in fact- Dr. Paul Ekman). I found an interesting article on Psychology Today by her on facial expressions and lies- Well connected to the show. Anyhow, now let me get back to another episode of it before I start working for real.

Meanwhile, why don’t you ask yourself the same question. What made you become who you are?

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