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#1 Posted by mlarrabee (2929 posts) -

At several times in my life, I've been asked, "What are you?"

This question is usually asked in the middle of conversation, which lends context. Whether discussing politics, religion, employment, or whatever, the intent is normally clear based on the topic at hand.

But a couple of times I've been asked what I am without any obvious context. It's usually when meeting someone, during the kitschy small-talk that follows.

When this happens, I'm left thinking about how I, and people in general, think of personal identity.

So, I was curious: What are you? What is the primary identity with which you identify yourself? What's that single categorization label that overrides the rest on the most basic level?

PS: Reading back over this, it looks like the most blatant piece of false-intellectualism I've ever written. Oh, well...

PPS: And if anyone posts to this, let's keep the responses clean and respectful, yeah? Cheers!

#2 Posted by killacam (1284 posts) -

i would be like... wha?

#3 Posted by ImmortalSaiyan (4676 posts) -

I understand what you're getting at. I don't have a answer for you though.

#4 Posted by mlarrabee (2929 posts) -

@killacam: Yeah, it usually leads to me looking confused, and them clarifying. Ninety-percent of the time they're asking what I do for a living.

#5 Posted by Nonused (212 posts) -

Cougar.

#6 Posted by Gamer_152 (14072 posts) -

Honestly, if asked outside of any context I'd ask them to clarify what they meant. But, if forced to choose one defining label, I guess I'd say I'm human, anything beyond that would feel too specific.

Moderator
#7 Posted by GeekDown (1170 posts) -

Just out of context, I find it impossible to answer. It's also a pretty weird question to just ask someone. I can't recall having someone ask me that actually.

#8 Posted by Aronman789 (2676 posts) -

I'm me.

#9 Posted by returnofjake (231 posts) -

I'm the dude.

#10 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

Ah, now that's a question that's plagued my mind for centuries, and I don't think I've ever come up with a definitive answer. After all, it's quite difficult to do so when you can change so much about yourself with but a mere thought, and everything you would identify with yourself is tied up with so many other entities.

#11 Posted by Tim_the_Corsair (3065 posts) -
@mlarrabee I'm a cunt...

Ok now that the clean and respectable is out of the way, I don't honestly know how to answer this question.

I could pick the easy answer and say 'writer' as I feel that is a single word answer that describes what I love, my work, and my personality to a certain extent.

But that is almost a cheat, as it ignores the fundamental truths of who I am.

I've always projected an air of slightly self deprecating self-confidence, but just like your favourite movie dickhead with a heart of gold, I'm secretly very unsure of myself and forever questioning my self-worth or why anyone would ever take me seriously or like me (or, at the risk of getting yelled at by my fiancée, why anyone would ever love me).

I'm cold and distant naturally, yet warm and tender with a select few. I'm naturally peaceful, but have been horribly violent. I'm a fantastic liar, and take some pleasure from it which probably makes me morally bankrupt, yet it's that same ability channelled that allows me to write.

I think I'm just rambling at this point haha. Short answer is, honestly, I don't even know. Functional, maybe?
#12 Posted by Irishranger (245 posts) -

"Just a hard-working guy trying to get through life."

I've actually started saying this to people who want to know more about me. Some are confused by it, some laugh and it works well as an ice breaker. I find it's a good opener for people to get to know my personality. If they aren't too uptight, it usually leads to us becoming good friends.

#13 Edited by Jeust (10559 posts) -

I am my very own idea of a man.

#14 Posted by Irishranger (245 posts) -

@Tim_the_Corsair said:

@mlarrabee I'm a cunt... Ok now that the clean and respectable is out of the way, I don't honestly know how to answer this question. I could pick the easy answer and say 'writer' as I feel that is a single word answer that describes what I love, my work, and my personality to a certain extent. But that is almost a cheat, as it ignores the fundamental truths of who I am. I've always projected an air of slightly self deprecating self-confidence, but just like your favourite movie dickhead with a heart of gold, I'm secretly very unsure of myself and forever questioning my self-worth or why anyone would ever take me seriously or like me (or, at the risk of getting yelled at by my fiancée, why anyone would ever love me). I'm cold and distant naturally, yet warm and tender with a select few. I'm naturally peaceful, but have been horribly violent. I'm a fantastic liar, and take some pleasure from it which probably makes me morally bankrupt, yet it's that same ability channelled that allows me to write. I think I'm just rambling at this point haha. Short answer is, honestly, I don't even know. Functional, maybe?

Wow, it's like I just looked in a mirror. No bullshit. Honestly.

#15 Posted by Tim_the_Corsair (3065 posts) -
@Irishranger

@Tim_the_Corsair said:

@mlarrabee I'm a cunt... Ok now that the clean and respectable is out of the way, I don't honestly know how to answer this question. I could pick the easy answer and say 'writer' as I feel that is a single word answer that describes what I love, my work, and my personality to a certain extent. But that is almost a cheat, as it ignores the fundamental truths of who I am. I've always projected an air of slightly self deprecating self-confidence, but just like your favourite movie dickhead with a heart of gold, I'm secretly very unsure of myself and forever questioning my self-worth or why anyone would ever take me seriously or like me (or, at the risk of getting yelled at by my fiancée, why anyone would ever love me). I'm cold and distant naturally, yet warm and tender with a select few. I'm naturally peaceful, but have been horribly violent. I'm a fantastic liar, and take some pleasure from it which probably makes me morally bankrupt, yet it's that same ability channelled that allows me to write. I think I'm just rambling at this point haha. Short answer is, honestly, I don't even know. Functional, maybe?

Wow, it's like I just looked in a mirror. No bullshit. Honestly.

...what if I'm another personality living in your head?

Think about it
#16 Posted by Irishranger (245 posts) -

@Tim_the_Corsair: Lol, yeah, I hope so. It would make my life more interesting!

#17 Posted by Enigma777 (6071 posts) -
@Nonused

Cougar.

Panther
#18 Posted by Jimi (1126 posts) -

Nerd

#19 Posted by MikkaQ (10284 posts) -

Usually when people ask that out of the blue, they're asking what your occupation is, so I tell them I'm a student.

#20 Posted by Chop (1996 posts) -

God

To be serious, the first thing that pops into my head and the first thing I tell people is "asshole". Strange, I know, but that's how it goes.

#21 Posted by mlarrabee (2929 posts) -

@Tim_the_Corsair said:

@mlarrabee I'm a cunt... Ok now that the clean and respectable is out of the way...

Oh, I'm totally cool with that. I'm just trying to keep the "I'm a Buddhist/Christian/Democrat/Republican/Pro-choice/Pro-life" posts from being followed by terrible @replies.

#22 Posted by Dagbiker (6974 posts) -

BATMAN

#23 Edited by UnrealDP (1222 posts) -

@Gamer_152 said:

Honestly, if asked outside of any context I'd ask them to clarify what they meant. But, if forced to choose one defining label, I guess I'd say I'm human, anything beyond that would feel too specific.

Totally. It's a super boring answer, but the only thing that comes to mind is "human", also "you first".

#24 Posted by Scooper (7882 posts) -

I am.... annoyed by that ridiculously vague and pointless question.

#25 Posted by BoOzak (908 posts) -

@Jimi said:

Nerd

That's a pretty broad category, but I cant think of any other way of describing myself without going into depth...

#26 Posted by Jimi (1126 posts) -

@BoOzak: I'm a pretty broad guy.

#27 Edited by benspyda (2033 posts) -

I hate people who ask that question because they judge people on their career path (or hobby) and not them as a person.

#28 Posted by BrickRoad (702 posts) -

I'm the heir to the Luna Throne. Well, I will be once I *wink* knife *wink* those who stand in my way. Oh wait, I winked but still said the incriminating word. Ah whatever, what happens on the Moon stays on the Moon.

#29 Posted by supermike6 (3561 posts) -

Some guy once asked me "What's your thing?", and I responded with, "I...like...videogames?". As for what I am, I am an anime character. You can tell because I'm crazy.

#30 Posted by the_OFFICIAL_jAPanese_teaBAG (4308 posts) -

I am not a human

#31 Posted by Jeust (10559 posts) -

@BrickRoad said:

I'm the heir to the Luna Throne. Well, I will be once I *wink* knife *wink* those who stand in my way. Oh wait, I winked but still said the incriminating word. Ah whatever, what happens on the Moon stays on the Moon.

You're Video Game King's son! Nice to meet you!

#32 Posted by beeftothetaco (422 posts) -

My friends call me Edge, because I live on it.

#33 Posted by habster3 (3595 posts) -

Time bomb

#34 Posted by mlarrabee (2929 posts) -

@Video_Game_King: You should watch out. This guy wants to kill you and take your moon throne:

@BrickRoad said:

I'm the heir to the Luna Throne. Well, I will be once I *wink* knife *wink* those who stand in my way. Oh wait, I winked but still said the incriminating word. Ah whatever, what happens on the Moon stays on the Moon.

#35 Posted by ajamafalous (11964 posts) -
@Tim_the_Corsair said:
I've always projected an air of slightly self deprecating self-confidence, but just like your favourite movie dickhead with a heart of gold, I'm secretly very unsure of myself and forever questioning my self-worth or why anyone would ever take me seriously or like me (or, at the risk of getting yelled at by my fiancée, why anyone would ever love me). I'm cold and distant naturally, yet warm and tender with a select few. I'm naturally peaceful, but have been horribly violent. I'm a fantastic liar, and take some pleasure from it which probably makes me morally bankrupt, yet it's that same ability channelled that allows me to write. I think I'm just rambling at this point haha. Short answer is, honestly, I don't even know. Functional, maybe?
Are you me?
#36 Posted by ajamafalous (11964 posts) -
@beeftothetaco said:

My friends call me Edge, because I live on it.

Man I just laughed super hard.
#37 Posted by Patman99 (1580 posts) -

Depends on the context. If I was talking to a person outside of my country I would say that I am a "Canadian". If asked inside Canada, I would say that I have a French and Irish heritage. If talking about occupations I would say archaeologist. Really depends on the context. I dont think I could sum up my existence with only one word.

#38 Posted by Jrinswand (1705 posts) -

I don't know. I'm a lot of things. What a silly question.

#39 Posted by TehFlan (1944 posts) -

I'm christian.

#40 Posted by Tim_the_Corsair (3065 posts) -
@ajamafalous
@Tim_the_Corsair said:
I've always projected an air of slightly self deprecating self-confidence, but just like your favourite movie dickhead with a heart of gold, I'm secretly very unsure of myself and forever questioning my self-worth or why anyone would ever take me seriously or like me (or, at the risk of getting yelled at by my fiancée, why anyone would ever love me). I'm cold and distant naturally, yet warm and tender with a select few. I'm naturally peaceful, but have been horribly violent. I'm a fantastic liar, and take some pleasure from it which probably makes me morally bankrupt, yet it's that same ability channelled that allows me to write. I think I'm just rambling at this point haha. Short answer is, honestly, I don't even know. Functional, maybe?
Are you me?
Maybe I am
#41 Posted by PenguinDust (12499 posts) -

I am what others perceive me to be.

#42 Posted by TheWholeDamnShow (232 posts) -

I wanna be the very best, that no one ever was.

#43 Posted by ajamafalous (11964 posts) -
@Tim_the_Corsair said:
@ajamafalous
@Tim_the_Corsair said:
I've always projected an air of slightly self deprecating self-confidence, but just like your favourite movie dickhead with a heart of gold, I'm secretly very unsure of myself and forever questioning my self-worth or why anyone would ever take me seriously or like me (or, at the risk of getting yelled at by my fiancée, why anyone would ever love me). I'm cold and distant naturally, yet warm and tender with a select few. I'm naturally peaceful, but have been horribly violent. I'm a fantastic liar, and take some pleasure from it which probably makes me morally bankrupt, yet it's that same ability channelled that allows me to write. I think I'm just rambling at this point haha. Short answer is, honestly, I don't even know. Functional, maybe?
Are you me?
Maybe I am
#44 Posted by Little_Socrates (5675 posts) -

We all operate in multiple identity circles. To describe myself as simply "white", "straight," or "male" would be inappropriate, as in circles filled with straight white males I might take on the identity of "pop culture consumer," or I might take on the role of "grieving youth," or I might take on the role of "social liberal." We all have multiple social identities, as much as social institutions ask us to boil ourselves down further.

#45 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@Jeust said:

@BrickRoad said:

I'm the heir to the Luna Throne. Well, I will be once I *wink* knife *wink* those who stand in my way. Oh wait, I winked but still said the incriminating word. Ah whatever, what happens on the Moon stays on the Moon.

You're Video Game King's son! Nice to meet you!

Not exactly. I have no children, and ever since the Kingdoms united, inheritance of the throne was abolished in all its forms. Besides, even if he were to kill me (and that's a great if), that is no guarantee that he would become King. Very few are capable of handling the powers of the crown, and those who seek it and can't are doomed to death.

#46 Posted by OmegaChosen (644 posts) -

@Enigma777 said:

@Nonused

Cougar.

Panther

Tyrannosaurus.

#47 Posted by MetalGearSunny (6988 posts) -
@Aronman789 said:

I'm me.

Me be.
#48 Posted by Sweep (8845 posts) -

A slice of lemon, wrapped around a large gold brick.

Moderator
#49 Edited by believer258 (11814 posts) -

@Tim_the_Corsair said:

@Irishranger

@Tim_the_Corsair said:

@mlarrabee I'm a cunt... Ok now that the clean and respectable is out of the way, I don't honestly know how to answer this question. I could pick the easy answer and say 'writer' as I feel that is a single word answer that describes what I love, my work, and my personality to a certain extent. But that is almost a cheat, as it ignores the fundamental truths of who I am. I've always projected an air of slightly self deprecating self-confidence, but just like your favourite movie dickhead with a heart of gold, I'm secretly very unsure of myself and forever questioning my self-worth or why anyone would ever take me seriously or like me (or, at the risk of getting yelled at by my fiancée, why anyone would ever love me). I'm cold and distant naturally, yet warm and tender with a select few. I'm naturally peaceful, but have been horribly violent. I'm a fantastic liar, and take some pleasure from it which probably makes me morally bankrupt, yet it's that same ability channelled that allows me to write. I think I'm just rambling at this point haha. Short answer is, honestly, I don't even know. Functional, maybe?

Wow, it's like I just looked in a mirror. No bullshit. Honestly.

...what if I'm another personality living in your head? Think about it

Strangely enough, you described myself as well. Only I don't have a fiancee.

Which is weird...

#50 Posted by Tim_the_Corsair (3065 posts) -
@believer258

@Tim_the_Corsair said:

@Irishranger

@Tim_the_Corsair said:

@mlarrabee I'm a cunt... Ok now that the clean and respectable is out of the way, I don't honestly know how to answer this question. I could pick the easy answer and say 'writer' as I feel that is a single word answer that describes what I love, my work, and my personality to a certain extent. But that is almost a cheat, as it ignores the fundamental truths of who I am. I've always projected an air of slightly self deprecating self-confidence, but just like your favourite movie dickhead with a heart of gold, I'm secretly very unsure of myself and forever questioning my self-worth or why anyone would ever take me seriously or like me (or, at the risk of getting yelled at by my fiancée, why anyone would ever love me). I'm cold and distant naturally, yet warm and tender with a select few. I'm naturally peaceful, but have been horribly violent. I'm a fantastic liar, and take some pleasure from it which probably makes me morally bankrupt, yet it's that same ability channelled that allows me to write. I think I'm just rambling at this point haha. Short answer is, honestly, I don't even know. Functional, maybe?

Wow, it's like I just looked in a mirror. No bullshit. Honestly.

...what if I'm another personality living in your head? Think about it

Strangely enough, you described myself as well. Only I don't have a fiancee.

Which is weird...

What if we're all personalities inside someone else's head?

Maybe we are the darkness behind Brad Muir's omnipresent smile