Friday, February 6, 2009

The guy in the mirror

I look in the mirror sometimes and find myself asking, who are you really? What are you into? Where did you come from?

What are you made of?

Surprisingly, I like that I'm at a point in my life where I'm really trying to find answers to those questions. Surprising because growing up in the Bronx, we kids prided ourselves on "keeping it real" and "staying true to ourselves." Questioning one's own identity was like a sign of weakness. But we had no idea who we were, where we were going, where we even came from. Most of us barely understood where we were in the world; the cultural richness of one of the five boroughs that comprised the famed New York City.

We were just kids trying to make our mark on the tiny piece of land that was our world. Our block. Our 'hood. But I'm not a kid anymore (well, for the most part I'm not).

Today, as a husband and a dad, my wife and daughter have bestowed upon me many flattering labels; wonderful, awesome, fun, so cool, creative, even the occasional 'brilliant.' For a long time it was hard for me to accept those bestowments. Then I began to appreciate the fact that these people undoubtedly know me better than anyone on the plant. Add to that the natural tendency we have to always be openly honest with each other—if I sucked for some reason at some thing, my 6-year-old daughter would politely make me aware. So all things considered, they probably know—and mean what they're talking about.

I believe it true for many people that we really do become the influences with which we surround ourselves. Think about how similar people can sometimes be to their closest friend or relative. Consider the demeanor of a kid that listens to nothing but Hip Hop, Country or Jazz. Whether consciously or subconsciously, be it friends, family, movies, co-workers, or music, like the old adage states, you are the company you keep.

So maybe in trying to figure out the guy in the mirror, I should consider that he's made up of a little of everything else that mirror reflects. My faith, my wife, my daughter, my son, my home, my profession, my Xbox (yeah, definitely my Xbox). I am a bit of all the influences with which I choose to surround myself.

And they are a bit of me.

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