What Makes You Who You Are?

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What are you? It is one of the most common question people tend to ask me even though it can be inappropriate at times. The first thought that goes in my mind: how can I answer this question? I usually respond according to the context of the conversation, but I feel that my answers lack real meaning. It is surprising how just three words can throw me off balance, but they do. What is the world's obsession with having to place things in categories, especially people? In addition, when society places people into these categories, how do they react.

I am a woman. But, before that, I was a little girl playing with Barbie dolls. I wore frilly dresses and hosted tea parties with my stuffed animals. Though society saw me as a fragile being, I was a rude, selfish, and mean little girl. Running around and acting crazy, my mother told me to stop behaving like “those savage little boys next door.” I did not listen. What was so important that I needed to do not behave like my actual self? Society perpetuated that little girls needed to be “cute, quiet, and well behaved,” and I thought my cuteness factor helped cover the missing two-thirds. Apparently, it did not. My mom used countless disciplinary tactics trying to control my “wild ways.” Eventually, she found a way to soothe her “little beast.” Now, as a grown woman, I look back and feel sorry that my mom had to go through that, but my mom helped build the foundation of my behavior.

With age came maturity, so by the age of 13, I mellowed down with my “aggressive” behavior. Unfortunately, for my older sister, I did not grasp the emotions of the newly provided hormones surging throughout my body. Most of the time, the outside world would see me do two things: crying or scowling. I wore al...

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...who looked like me so people would not associate us together. It took until I became 19 that I felt comfortable being a person of color and branched out to have multi-ethnic friends. My acceptance of my ethnic background helped me understand one universal thing that everyone should take heed.

Though people are more than just one thing, society segregates people into different categories. Each category holds different experiences and aspects: both positive and negative. The roles I play help partially solidify the person I am today. I believe that societal roles are the necessary evil that helps humans survive on Earth today. Without these communities, there would be no art, science, and culture; there would be no motivations to better the world people live around on a daily basis. Each role a person takes not only defines them, but it defines a community as well.

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