The Missing Piece

J. R. R. Tolkien once wrote: “Not all those who wander are lost.” Sometimes I feel as if I am just wandering without a destination. If memories correlate with identity, then my identity is unclear. To explain, my memories are fragmented; I can not remember anything clearly enough to retell it or decipher what it means. Does it mean my identity is unknown to me or not yet developed? Do others have a grasp on my identity, or is it an enigma to them as well? When I first consider a memory linked to my identity it seems impossible because I do not know my identity, but after hearing the memories of my mother and grandmother, my identity becomes more clear; I not only see the good in myself I have been ignoring but also the bad. Although not many of my real life memories stand out, sometimes the memories of my dreams do. I am walking from my grandparents' house in the snow. It is dark out, yet I feel no chill. I have a destination in mind however there are obstacles preventing me from reaching it, and I can never actually see my destination until I am there. This is a recurring dream, but it has different endings. Some nights I make it to my destination and am happy, some nights I can not quite overcome the obstacles and wake up before I get there, and other nights I reach my destination, but it is not the destination I had in mind. Because this is a recurring dream, it must have some sort of significance to my identity. My interpretation of the dream is that I have three possibilities in life. I can work hard and reach my goals, I can fail and never see where life takes me, or I can get to where I am going and realize it is not where I thought it would be. My dream may portray me as a lost individual, however, it also portrays me as someone who keeps going. I am someone who tries their best even when the task seems impossible. That is one piece of my identity that I have figured out and soon more pieces will come. After asking both my mother and grandmother what their defining memory of me is they surprisingly both had the same memory. I was in a program called Distinguished Young Women, an academic pageant, and I had to dance, speak, and even showcase a talent on stage. My mother said that seeing me on stage in general showed that I could face my fears and persevere. However, my grandmother's memory is more specific. Her memory is of me being on stage for the talent portion. For the talent portion, I had a friend take a video of me drawing a picture of a woman. The video was sped up, and music was added. It actually turned out pretty good. I still had to be on stage and tell the audience what I did and why. My grandmother claims that memory illustrates my hidden talents. Before that day, almost nobody knew that I could draw or even liked to do it. For the first time in my life people got to see that there is more to me than just academics. Since hearing my mother and grandmother's version of my identity, I got a little piece more to add to my puzzle. When I am asked questions about myself, I feel that I come off as someone who only has book smarts and nothing more. However, my family helped me to see that that is not the case. I do have some hidden talents, and it is my own fault that they are hidden. Although my family helped me to see a good piece of my identity, they also allowed me to see the bad side: I am insecure. Not only am I afraid to show people who I really am, but I may even be afraid to show myself. My problem may not be remembering the events of my life; it could be that I will not let myself truly see the events of my life as they are. That is why I can only remember my dreams. Perhaps, I do not want to know who I really am. Sometimes, I wish I could remember my life more clearly, so that I could see myself more clearly, but there is something holding me back. My family sees me as a strong, intelligent, and talented woman; I do not always feel like I fit that description. This is something I need to work on. I need to set aside my insecurities so that one day I can realize who I am and maybe even feel confident enough to show the world. Before speaking with my family about my identity, I did not have a memory to describe me because I did not know me. However, when they shared their memories with me, they gave me one of the missing pieces in my puzzle. I initially saw myself as a confused and lost individual, but my family helped me to see that there is more to me than meets the eye. I am hard working, I am smart, and I am creative. Although I am, at times, insecure, I still find it in me to do things like go up on stage and show everyone my talent. I often focus on academics, but that is not all there is to me. There are sides of me I do not show, and sides of me that I do not see. Nonetheless, I fully intend to capture the moments that make me who I am because I want to know. At this time I may be wandering, but I am not completely lost.

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