Photo by One AM Media based in Milwaukee, WI
My name is Ashley Marian, and I am the creator of Phases. My pronouns are she/he/they.
In the book, The Untethered Soul, the author, Michael A. Singer, labels a chapter “Who Are You?”. In this chapter he proceeds to ask this exact question to his audience. Initially we think, I am [insert your name]. But your name doesn’t define who you are, it’s merely a label, he writes (Singer 23).
Sure, sure. But as the author continues to keep asking, the audience keeps identifying with labels others, or they have put on themselves. Labels that aren’t consistent throughout their existence, so it can’t be who they are, right?
I’ve sat with this question since I’ve originally read it three years ago as of 2023. I kid you not when I say every day, I think about this. Who am I? Initially I said I am a fighter. I’ve fought hard through some of the worst days to get here. But have I been always a fighter? Will I be always a fighter in every scenario? No. I am a woman. But do I always feel feminine like a woman? No, so what does that mean for me? Some days I feel masculine, some days both, some days neither. Every day I can come up with different scenarios of whom I think I am, but ultimately, as the author wrote, we are souls in human vessels experiencing human life. What a thought and conversation starter if you ask me!
Now, that being said, the more I thought on it, the more I have actually enjoyed the labels because I could create who I want to be for me. For years and to this day I am breaking down the societal labels and codes our society has put on me, and I am defining who I am by my own means on my own terms. Even though I’m just here experiencing the human experience, I can choose who I want to be in it.
I am a fighter. Every day I fight to keep breathing another day in many forms; spiritually, mentally, physically. I create space for myself to work through my emotions and thoughts to learn how to let them go.
I am queer. I love people for their souls vs. their anatomy. And although that makes me different in other’s eyes, we all belong here. 😉
I am a survivor. I have survived physical and verbal abuse. I have survived suicidal thoughts and actions. I have survived every single worst day of my life to be here today. I choose me. Always.
I am someone who makes mistakes. That one has taken me years to grasp. It seems so obvious, but it’s hard to not feel like I have failed when I’ve made a mistake. But growth requires mistakes.
I am connections. I am here to make connections with people who have gone through similar things. I want to connect with people who have lost themselves and are trying to find themselves again because that’s exactly what I’m trying to do.
We all have our own stories and journeys. As you will hear mine in my upcoming blogs, I want to hear yours too. I, and Phases, are here to push you to keep going. The world is better with you in it, and you are not alone out there. You belong here, and I am here to remind you of that.
So, I ask again, who are you? That’s the question I’m asking you today and every day going forward. How do you define yourself?
Welcome to Phases! 😊
Singer, Michael A. The Untethered Soul. New Harbinger Publications/ Noetic Books. 2007 pp.23-29