"So tell me, who is Diep Anh?"
That's my name in Vietnamese, though most people usually just called me Diep (pronounced 'Zip,' hence the name you know of me today). I was into music since I was little, probably not as much as a professional singer nor I think I was good enough, but I always loved singing. One day, my dad introduced me to one of his good friends, who was well-known in their 'social hangout' parties for his one-of-a-kind musical talent. When I shared with him about my passion for singing, he told me, "Many people sing, but the ones who can connect with people the most are those who can deliver who they are through their music. So tell me, who is Diep Anh?"
I was fourteen. I'm sorry, but did anyone know who they were at such a young age? I know I did not. As quick-witted as I'd like to think I was, I refused to say "I have no idea" and forced myself into coming up with something ‘powerful’ instead, I said, "Diep Anh is a gift that God created and brought to this life, who uses her power to make the world a better place."
Danggggggg..... fourteen-year-old Zip was BOLD! That wasn't really what I thought of myself (I barely even knew of God!), I just wanted something that would make me feel special and sound 'cool' (at least in my opinion back then). To be honest, I still cringe when I reflect on it now haha, because twenty-seven-year-old Zip would rather say "I have no idea, but I'm figuring it out little by little every day" instead.
So yep, I've been trying to figure out who I am for more than a decade ever since I was asked that question. The real question I started asking myself after that incident, though, is how do we know who we are?
I didn’t know how either until recently, two weeks ago to be exact, I wrote: "You are not on this planet to find yourself but to create and recreate yourself."
Why? You may argue; we are always told to “find yourself,” and without trying to find ourselves, how can we possibly know who we are?
I’ll agree with you that we do need to put in the work, but how to get there is a matter of our mindset, which depends on whether we frame the process as a journey of “finding” or “creating”.
I believe that each of us is already a complete product of ourselves but can always be better. The Creating mindset allows us to acknowledge that we are a work-in-progress so we continue evolving from what we’ve already had, while the Finding mindset signals us that we are already at the fullest version of ourselves so our job is to figure out what is instead of what else could be.
Think of ourselves as an iPhone. The first iPhone was released about thirteen years ago. It was nowhere near the iPhones that we are using today, but it was still considered a complete, groundbreaking product and it paved the way for iPhone 3, 5, 7, 11, etc. as we have now. The Finding mindset looks for what an iPhone is made of, while the Creating mindset continues testing for trial and error after the first iPhone and explores all the possibilities of what else that the next iPhone could do. iPhone 11 Pro is still an iPhone, it wouldn’t exist if we never had iPhone 1, but it’s sure far more advanced.
I still think of my fourteen-year-old self again and chuckle. Would I ever be able to really know who I am or why I am here if I only focused on looking for an answer? Probably not. But I’ve definitely been learning more and more about myself each day by allowing myself to look inwards, look outwards, try something different, meet some new people, take some risks, make some mistakes… and just be. Plus, it's also more fun this way!
I hope you are enjoying the journey of creating and recreating who you are too ;)