If ever there was a more provocative 5-word sentence, I don’t know what it would be.
Those 5 words, taken as an accusation or an assurance, create a small explosion in the brain and as that perplexing structure opens up to the possibilities, books could be written. It’s even the perfect title: YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!!!! A torrid romance novel?, a political exposé, a mystery begging to be solved by a chic detective in a trench coat? You KNOW WHO YOU ARE slashed across the cover in crimson, with blood dripping or a prim English countryside moral fable: the words evoke limitless images and ideas.
Mrs. Martin, trim school teacher standing in front of her class, pointing at an obscene word written on her blackboard, saying “All right, class, who did this? YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!” No recess until the culprit comes forward!
Or a wise man on a mountain, intoning the comforting mantra “YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE”, over and over until we all feel so much better….for a while anyway. You Know who you are, you know who you are, you know who you are!…..
But one thing is for sure: it is a phrase that evokes guilt no matter if you are as innocent as the springtime flowers.
You know who you are, and even though you ave done nothing wrong, you feel as if the finger of Fate is pointing at you……that classroom? Even if you didn’t write that obscene word on the blackboard, you feel as if you did write it….that any moment you’ll be found out . And that is even if you’re innocent!
You know who you are points a finger at yourself and all the dire secrets you keep in your life.
You know who you are because you are a flawed human who has made many mistakes and has lived to tell the tale.
You know who you are?
I wish my Self didn’t keep slipping between personae, making me doubt something every day….will we ever know who we truly are?
You are the sum total of experience, and only death will sort it out, which i truly hope is the case.
By Paul DeLong
On August 6, 2022
I am glad you conclude that we don’t know fully who we are, as part of our reality/identity is that we are socially constructed by others, and we don’t always concur with that mirror. Ironically, the end of our identity, in your closing lines, comes as a form of relief, as we are released from all the surly bonds that imprison us! Thank you for giving us this piece.
By Evalyn Baron
On August 6, 2022
Thank you Paul.