“Find Yourself.”

While doing chemistry homework in the eleventh grade, I came across a problem that I wasn’t familiar with in class. Naturally, I asked some classmates, and they, too, were at a cross. We decided we should ask our chemistry teacher the next day.
“I’m sort of lost,” was how I ended the question.
“Well,” she began in her soft voice. “Find yourself.”
I don’t know if my chemistry teacher knows it, but that -funny, saracstic at the time – phrase would be her signature phrase years after we left that classroom. However, today, at this moment, that phrase applies to more than just a difficult checmistry lesson.
It is hard to try to find oneself in the midst of the chaos and madness in this world. It’s even harder when one begins that search. Many standards are put up for people to follow, and if they do not follow them, they are looked upon as outkasts…that ugly look people give when someone follows a different path. It seems as though those people giving their red-eyed stares think that one thinks he/she is better than anything that walks the earth, but I do not believe that is the case…It isn’t that way for me.
I believe I began the search for “myself”, and I’m usually at a crossroad with all my identites colliding into one – or at least, trying to – but they can’t. Each one wants to thrive on its own. All I know is that each one wants to be different than the standards that were put up for them.
Perhaps, that is why I identified with Margo Spiegelman from John Green’s Paper Towns. I didn’t see the “white girl” drama that my dear friend saw. I didn’t see a rebel who doesn’t listen to her parents and doesn’t care about her friends. I saw someone trying to find herself away from the very ones that were preventing her from doing so unknowingly. I saw someone trying to cut through the box that everyone was in. I saw someone trying to breathe for her own…to make a statement on her own, even if she didn’t have a word to say before she left.
When someone goes on a search for something, they usually know what they are looking for: solitude, happiness, wealth, education, love…The list can go on. I, like Margo – or perhaps the Margo I saw – am on a search for myself (and maybe all of the above things).
I never thought that my chemistry teacher’s words would speak to me so loudly. I never thought “find yourself” was going to be one of the most important phrases I were to carry around as I make choices.
I don’t know when I’ll find myself, Mrs. N, but the search must go on.


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