The concept of self is one that is as old as time itself. God himself, our omniscient jealous best friend from Biblical lore, had to become some form of a self when he began creating us. Giving himself a voice - ‘Let there be light’, using eyes to look at his creations, walking through the Garden of Eden and using hands to create that first emotionally unstable apple-biting man. Basically, when God wanted to create and be God on this here plane of existence, he had to find some form of self within his infinite being to accomplish it.
We are created in God’s image, if my fuzzy memory would serve me right – and before you jump ship thinking this is a religious discussion, hold on to your pearls for a bit longer – therefore we all have a self, a true self. Unluckily for us, we do not exist in multiple planes, or terrify multiple civilizations sprinkled across an endless universe like the Great One, what we are stuck with is a few specific facets of self.
The id, ego and superego are concepts in psychology that Sigmund Freud -- a crazy smart man with mommy issues – uses to define self. The id is the rawest basest form of self. All it does it want. Food, sex, money. I call it the Hulk. The ego is who tries to satisfy the id, without harming or disgracing the physical body. He’s Superman. Then the superego is the spoilsport, he brings in morals and ideas and is basically responsible for all your emotional issues and heartache. He is a necessary Jesus.
Your Self, your manifestation of who you think you are by reflecting consciously within, is a product of all these inner concepts struggling for balance. Some have stronger egos than others, while some are more in touch with the raw needs of their id, others stick to the superego for inner peace and stuff. This is not the issue.
Your environment molds you into becoming whatever you are. Influences attack your senses from the day you can recognize them. You hear music. You see colors and art and movies. You feel an urge to create. Sadly, you live in Nigeria. A whisper of wanting to be anything besides a doctor, engineer or lawyer is shot down literally with a stew-covered spoon. So you stick to what society says you should become, then one day you face a stage of identity confusion necessary for a successful leap into adulthood. This time around you are old enough to flip society the bird. You choose to follow your path and become an artist. The next van Gogh or Caravaggio, and then suddenly you find yourself painting portraits of dead people and hanging your hard work by roadsides to be purchased for pennies. Society begins to seem right. Yes, you should have followed that safe route and become the doctor or the lawyer or the engineer.
All the poppycock I have spewed about self, leads to one thing. Finding you. It is beyond the id, or the ego, or the superego. It lies somewhere in your being. Deep down in the soul. That thing that thrums whenever you lift a pencil and begin to draw, or open your mouth to sing, or close your eyes and imagine a crazy great story.
Sometimes it lights up when you kick a ball, when you run and feel like the wind, when you flip open Fruity Loops and the world just fades away. It could happen when you solve mathematical puzzles, visualize eclectic clothing or sketch floor plans. It could also happen when you have your arms elbow-deep in a dying person’s chest or are getting paid to defend an alleged serial killer.
Sometimes people believe they do not have this thing. That is literally impossible. It could occur on a smaller scale. Like how you know what to correct when you read a bad story but aren’t really one for writing yourself. Or how you recognize that you have stunning cheekbones in the mirror one morning while you oil your flawless skin.
All what has been said here is also not terribly concrete, like most of life. Everything is slippery. Everything is hard. Everything is damn right depressing. Especially since we live in a country where social strata is dictated by how much money you have, when there really is no money flowing around in rivers down the road.
So as my little green king (and the wisest man in all fictional universes) Yoda, would say “Persevere, we must”. Try your hands at something new today, you never know onto what, that spark within might catch. You could become a tiny little god of your own, bringing light and creation into a dark place without form.
* a syllabic pun. Veri-dis-quo when rearranged becomes Dis-quo-very.