Dear Omi (excerpt)

We are all just trying to find ourselves, but we’d be fools to believe, even for a moment, that this discovery can only be done alone. Every step down the path of self-discovery is intrically tied to our relationship with others. Our first sense of self is born when we realize that where what we can physically touch ends something/one outside of ourselves begins; that an “outside” even exists and the whole world is not contained “inside” our mind and body. Maybe the next step is learning that there is a mind contained within our body, a line/boundary/space between/dividing what we perceive with our physical senses and what they make us feel and/or think. Learning this requires the presence of others, particularly adults that force us to use our minds to control our bodies (a painful and frustrating process). It doesn’t matter where we are in the road of defining ourselves as this or that (an ever-changing definition, of course); we need others. The twenties is the decade where our mind stops growing and our habits, who we are and who we will be begin to meet and where are all the confusing forks in our life paths exponentially multiply, and so we become obsessed with “finding ourselves” (because we believe, falsely, that our thirties is when we “make something of ourselves”). Relationships are the key to this process because who we are is most powerfully shaped by the Other and others and the Other comes forth in the presence of others. If you still doubt, ask yourself this: how are you capable of forming a single thought? Our ability to think is linked to our capacity to put words to things and words are given to us by others. There is no me if there is no one else, so how can I possibly find myself alone?

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