I’ve been finding myself in conversations where I’m struggling to define myself. “I feel comfortable in London even if I am an outsider. I don’t see anyone like myself in the office and find it hard to keep up with the context and culture that’s natural for the others.”
Today I took a personality test at work and the result read like a completely untrue version of me. But while I questioned those results, I didn’t really know what might be that true version any more. “Yes, I prefer being on my own than in an excessively social environment. I get energy from working in a team, trying to solve a problem alone is difficult.”
Things I used to enjoy – abstract words, for example – make me impatient now. I often complain about not having genuine down time at the weekend, where I am not doing anything. But when those days show up, I get restless and feel like I need to do something, be productive, perhaps just socialise. I’m acutely aware most social interactions leave me feeling exhausted.
I can easily dismiss norms such as personality tests now because part of me believes they can never be accurate. They are not very different from zodiac signs. But I genuinely feel a little lost when I hear myself say things that don’t add up to a coherent narrative about my identity. Someone once said that they see me being able to switch contexts easily having lived and worked in different countries, environments and cultures over time. That that made my identity more fluid. I took it as a compliment but it doesn’t stop me from feeling uncomfortable. Perhaps I need to devote some time to finding my story again and being deliberate about it depending on who I talk to. Will that make me less authentic in those conversations? To be determined.