I have been thinking about my adolescence and how I survived it. Go figure! I wanted to put into words what I did to form my own self in my adolescence.
When I analyze my adolescence, I can’t help but divide those 7 years (ish) in two phases: the period before the start of my quest for self-knowledge and the period after the start of my quest of self knowledge. Where does this division come from?
When I was 15, late 2005, I had taken Sunday School in juveniles class (which meant that I was one of the oldest in the class) and I realized two things:
- I was being fake.
- That I did not know who I am.
I knew immediately that this wasn’t acceptable to me and that this needed to change. I instantly asked God to reveal to me who I was and why I was like that (there is probably something else, but I have forgotten since that time).
Before this event happened, how I formed myself wasn’t an intentional process and I was just getting by in my development as a person. I was being more a reflection of my parents than being my own person. I can’t say that those two years, 13-15 years old, was a waste of time. Jesus’ called me at 13 years old, I found Christian reggeaton at 13, I started composing Christian (rap) songs and was baptized at 14. I wanted to be a Christian rapper as a profession and not go to college at 13? Thank God that that was a phase and only lasted a year.
After the event happened, I took more control of my personal development and I became conscious of the process. I became aware of the two sides of my self- my public self and my private self, my projection of myself and the reality of myself- and tried to cultivated based on my preferences. It felt as if a door was open and my real personality started to manifest itself. At 15 I became more talkative, mainly with the intention of making people think. I started to create and adopt catchphrases for different things. At 16, I discovered Whose Line is it Anyway and thought that it was a cool thing to adopt as a part of me. So I started to try to make people laugh. At the end of my 16 year (17th, if you are more technical in nature) I started to become more analytical and I started to think about deep philosophical topics. These processes continue to this day. When I was 18 I figured out the truth about the faulty humanity of my family. When I was 19 (maybe 20) I took the Jung personality test and found out that I was an INTJ.
Both phases had certain things in common:
- The pursuit of being cool.
- Trying to find things to adopt for my own persona in people, environment, things, and subcultures that I thought were worthy of acquiring
- Dealing with school, church, and family stuff
- The pursuit of wisdom, being wise, and feeling wise.
I wanted to form myself into a cool person. Cool, in my mind, had nothing to do with the clothes that I wore. In fact, I didn’t get to really define my clothing style until I was in my 20’s because I didn’t have the independence necessary to do so. To me, being cool was about being wise and feeling wise. It was about the way I talked and the way I walked. It was about my projection to society as a smart, calm, wise, empowered, authoritative, intelligent, and funny person. It was about the external manifestation of my being, not about my appearance and who I was with. I wanted to be in control of who I wanted to be and what I defined as cool. I wanted to become my own person, without being influenced by anyone or anything. I wanted to have ownership of my own morals and values. I wanted to know who I was, why I was the way that I am. I wanted to be a part of forming my own self.
God did more than show me who I was and why I was the way that I am. He helped me become me. He helped me understand in my quest for self-knowledge that I was different than most of my peers and that was ok. This didn’t happen in my adolescence though, but these processes that I have mentioned that I went through in my adolescence helped me become who I am.
This is how I formed my own self.