action and identity

I wrote a blog post on “finding yourself” recently, and I discovered an interesting word exercise. Think about this:

When we define ourselves, we usually use a word construction that goes: “I” + present tense “to be” + noun.

E.g.:

I am a writer.
I am an artist.
I am a sister.
I am an adventurer.
I am a linguist.

I somewhat hate this passive, present-tense verb-of-existence form of identification. One does not verb anything other than “being.” Boring. Static.

We hang our essence on the peg of some other noun.

Try instead:

I write.
I draw.
I love my family.
I travel.
Languages fascinate me.

Doesn’t what we do say more about who we are?

2 Replies to “action and identity”

  1. I also prefer the verb emphasis because at what point do you go from “I write” to “I am a writer”? People use the later as a title of prestige, and that doesn’t seem very meaningful to me. (This especially comes up when people self-describe as “artists”.)

    Anyway, Following comes to mind:

    Like

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