Who the Fuck Are You, Anyway?

by Samantha Capps

It’s a question I keep struggling with: who the fuck am I? Part of the answers is what I do. Another part is what I want to do. Another part is how I think, what I’m good at, what I’m not so good at, the things I’ve done in the past, the thing I want to do in the future, my flaws, my contradictions. Who the fuck am I anyway?

I am a twenty-two-year-old college graduate living in her first apartment with a friend from high school. I work in a library, which is the bees-knees, though I spend a lot of time working with homeless or impoverished folks who don’t have a lot of computer skills, which is frustrating and challenging and rewarding. Last week I had my first experience of a patron thanking me for helping him create a resume that got him a job. I have a cubicle and an e-mail address and my own phone line and my own designated parking spot in biggest metropolitan area in North Carolina, which is all very strange and feels too adult-like for me.

I am a late bloomer. I had my first kiss at 18. I didn’t get my driver’s license until I was almost 20. I never had a job before college. I am shy, self-conscious, always comparing myself to others. I own a hell of a lot of books. I get panicky in new situations. I have an irrational fear of making phone calls which has gradually become less severe. I cry a lot–I’ve cried in class, at work, to people I barely know, to my best friends, while driving, while in the shower, during sex, after sex, while having a conversation with the editor of my favorite literary journal.

People say I’m smart, but I often feel like I am only smart on paper. I make a lot of dumb mistakes. I am gradually learning to forgive myself for this and surround myself with people who don’t judge me for it.

I am a daydreamer. I spent a lot of time in my head. I get a lot of enjoyment out of simply sitting and thinking. Sometimes I wish I could stop thinking so much.

I have an extensive background of psychological treatment. I saw my first therapist at age seven. I was put on anti-depressants at age ten, and since then have taken just about every psychiatric drug on the market: Prozac, Zoloft, Abilify, lithium, Seroquel, and on and on. I have spent a little over a month in total in psychiatric hospitals. I have been off meds for almost two years now. Last week I got a new therapist. I worry a lot about what goes on in my brain and what it means for my future.

I once went to Catholic school. In high school, I became an atheist. Now I’ve started praying again to who knows what.

I want to go to library school. I want to go back to France. I want to get the heck out of North Carolina.

I get attached to people too easily and too quickly. I am not good at good-byes.

I spend a lot of time being sad. I spent a lot of time not wanting to get out of bed. And interspersed between my bouts of melancholia, I have many beautiful and joyful moments that I struggle to remember when the sadness hits me again.

I am terrified of failure.

I can finally look at myself in the mirror and think that I am beautiful.

I spent a lot of time in doctor’s offices for pain problems that I am afraid are going to stop me from doing what I want to do with my life.

I have some pretty amazing friends, which makes me think that I must be doing something right.

I wrote my first short story at age fifteen, after refusing to write for my creative writing class out of a belief that I was the worst writer ever. I wrote my first novel the following summer. I spent a lot of times doubting my abilities. I have had to slowly teach myself not to care if what I write is good or not. I have about fifteen rejection letters from literary journals saved in a drawer in my room. The most recent ones are the most encouraging ones I have received. Last night, in one of my now frequently-occurring drunken spells of self-pity, someone told me that he believes I am going to be a great writer some day. Two days ago, I started another novel.

I spend a lot of time wondering what the fuck I am dong and whether or not I am doing it well.

Sometimes I ask people who they think I am and whether or not I am living my life well.

I know no one can answer that question for me.

I am a person like everyone else that wants things and does things and eventually isn’t around anymore to want things or to do things.

I am a fucking writer. Today that feels like a good enough answer.