Take this week’s poll. Read the question carefully.
This week, you only get to choose one: Your best answer. Did you pick your answer? Good. Let’s examine your choice.
Really? Did you take the poll? Do it now. You will understand in just a few minutes why I want you to take it before you read any more.
Stranger in Your Midst
If I walked up to you on the street and extended my hand, asking, “Who are you?” how would you describe yourself to me, a complete stranger? (And for those of you who know me, you know I am stranger than most, so the question still applies to you!)
Hello, my name is John Q. Public.
Do all strangers begin with their names? Is this where our identity rests? Do we trust our parents enough to believe they chose the best name for us? Do we offer our name in hopes it will deter other questions?
I am [state your religion].
Are you proud to be a Catholic? Maybe you are a Child of God? Are you a devout Muslim? Maybe you are an Orthodox Jew? Are there any Druids in the house? How about the atheists?
Does your relationship with (or without) a higher power define who you are to yourself and others? Does Acquaintance understand what it means to be a member of your faith?
I am a [state your occupation].
Does your job exemplify who you are at the core? Are you always a firefighter? Do you practice law 24 hours a day? Is being a law enforcement officer fundamentally who you are? Can you state with certainty your occupation is the best descriptor of your life? Has it changed over time?
I am [state familial position].
What position defines you? Are you the proud Papa? Maybe you are Grandma? Is your primary descriptor Momma? Maybe you are the Big Brother? Or are you Baby Sister? Are you happily married Mate?
If this was your choice, is your position in the family so stable this is a lifelong moniker? Or have you been displaced at some point? Will you outgrow this definition?
I am [list qualities].
Are you honest or an accomplished liar? Do you have courage and charisma? Maybe you are compassionate and kind? Are you Alpha or submissive? Perhaps you are protective or oppressive?
How often have you not felt playing this part? Have you ever abandoned a quality to pursue your own au moment happiness, fulfillment or satisfaction?
I am unemployed.
Or are you full time? Are you on salary? Maybe you are an entrepreneur? Or CFO of a Fortune 500? Are you seeking your break-in position in your industry while doing something you find disdainful until you do?
Did you bring a copy of your latest three (3) tax returns as validation? Does your gross income define who you are? How do others receive or respect this descriptor? How often has this position changed?
I am a lifelong [insert political party].
Do you embody all of the platforms? Do you agree without reservation to what the party does? Do you support all its candidates? Vote for all its drafted laws? Are you always in agreement with its leaders and actions? Do you decorate with the party mascot? Does Acquaintance know enough of the real story behind your party to understand this identity?
Not into meeting new people? Afraid to reveal yourself? Uncomfortable giving information to strangers? Protecting your identity and the innocent? What makes you recoil from such a basic question?
Not Even Close?
Are you something else entirely? What is it? How does it translate to your new acquaintance?
You only got one: Why did you choose that one?
© Red Dwyer 2011
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