Social Media has been overrun. At least three times a day I see a related post. Thanks to sites like Buzzfeed and Zimbio, all of us who are lost can get one step closer to finding ourselves by taking a quiz and finding out such soul-shaping information about ourselves like which Beatle we are, which character on Parks and Recreation we would be, and which Disney Villain we are most like. The past couple of days has revealed a “Which Food Are You?” quiz–I’m seeing a lot of cheeses out there. People don’t seem to be too happy about that. I’ve come across which breed of dog are you, and rumor has it there is a “Which Girl Scout Cookie Are You?” I’m thinking my good friend and Girl Scout mom could find a way to use that for marketing purposes. Just an idea.
It’s fascinating, isn’t it? Aub and Mess Cat and I spent a little while on a lazy Sunday afternoon with Aub clicking through quizzes and asking us questions. It never failed. My answers always led to the most mellow of characters or the ones you barely remember. I don’t know why. Ahem. I just shook my head and swore off any more quizzes. When you get the one Disney villain that gave your Mama nightmares as a child, it’s time to stop the game. (The Queen of Hearts from “Alice in Wonderland.” I don’t even know, y’all.)
Why are so we intrigued by finding our identity in fictional characters or animals or food? There are even quizzes that pinpoint where you should live. I do not have time for that one. Some days I barely find the resolve and wherewithal to leave my house–I certainly am not going to be able to move to a different state, based on a quiz telling me I don’t belong in Georgia. (Which are fighting words, by the way.)
I think we are always looking for connections. Links to others, a string that joins us, hands to hold–so we are not alone. If I’m like “Hey, I’m a chocolate chip shortbread” and you say, “Hey me too,” then we are connected and I am not alone. If the synopsis of said cookie says I’m a really, really superb human being, and you nod and say “It’s true, so true” well, then bam! Validation right there. Thank you very much.
Then there are the quizzes where I get someone or something I don’t think is accurate. (Or wish it wasn’t most likely.) Guaranteed I’m gonna retake that thing. And hope for a different answer. It’s madness, isn’t it? Who am I–but tell me who I want to hear, not who you are really programmed to link me to.
We are always seeking more information.
But from on-line quizzes?
I don’t know why, but that feels a little sad to me.
I know many of these quizzes are just for fun. I’ve taken a few just for kicks. But down deep, I wonder if it isn’t symbolic of us looking for ourselves in all the wrong places, to paraphrase Johnny Lee’s song. We are taking quizzes, and haven’t we been doing this for years? What are you on the Enneagram? What season are you? What color is your best? Who is your ideal mate? Remember the INFJ/ESTP personality tests? So many questions, all leading up to the one answer we are seeking.
Who am I?
The truth is I have found out more about myself, my authentic and true being, on a long walk on a dirt road. Mama used to have mowed paths out back at Blackberry Flats, and walking those I dreamed, I sang, I cried, I talked to God, and I talked to myself. And I came away with a little clearer sense of who I am and who I want to be. And peace. When I was at Wesleyan we had some great places to walk where I could clear the cobwebs in my brain. Sometimes with a friend, but often alone, walking off with questions and returning with one or two answered. One of the best days of clarity and peace and feeling in touch with ME came when I was sitting on the swing out by the pond at my alma mater on a sunny spring day with a notebook and a pencil. Just me and the geese. And quiet.
I’ve lost touch with that way of seeking answers, of reaching inside myself and coming back up in touch and at peace with my life. Or with a game plan to get to that point. I’ve not found a place to walk and wander and wonder. To shut out the noise and messages and commercial interruptions in my life. And just be. Instead I’ve let life wrap me up in busy-ness and day to dailies. The quizzes are fun…..and funny. I am curious going into the quiz, but truthfully, I know what I’d like the result to be. Most of the time I find myself left with a lingering sense of “Do what?” or “How is that even possible?” with only an occasional “Nailed it. Yes!” When it comes to really knowing who I am though, I’m still left with a sense of longing.
Do we ever really get it? Do we ever really fully know WHO we are or figure out exactly what we are supposed to be doing? One of Mama’s favorite shows was “The Greatest American Hero,” about a guy who was given a superhero cape but no instruction manual. Or did he lose it? Regardless, he had no directions. Mama found that very ironic and funny. We are put down here to live our lives, to build and nurture relationships, and to do the best we can with what we have. No instruction manual. And while it’s funny and a great Facebook post or conversation starter to know that I am Jerry from “Parks and Rec” or a number 2 with a 1 wing on the Enneagram or a Pug, none of that is going to bring me peace or help me look in the mirror tomorrow morning. None of these results are going to help ME keep becoming ME.
Will I take another of these quizzes? I’m not promising anything. (After all, no joke, as I was writing this another one popped up–“Which one of Jesus’ disciples are you?” NO WAY am I touching that one!) But what I do know is that this is the next quiz I will be taking–
Where is the closest and quietest dirt road to walk on around here?
It’s time I go out and do some “wondering” around again.
I’ve been missing me lately. So I’m packing up the 2, the pug, Jerry, INFP, Fall, Lumiere and Cogsworth, and chocolate shortbread–the whole lot of them–and we’re all going to have some time together with ME. It’s time we all got together again. And just be.
In case you haven’t been exposed to the world of these quizzes, here are some links:
for the INTJ/ESFP quiz: http://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test
for the Enneagram quiz: http://www.enneagramquiz.com/
Just promise me you’ll take a good long walk or soak in the tub or something just you yourself afterwards. Don’t let them mess with your mind or define you. Because they will try–they’re crafty like that. And one quiz leads to ten. Not that I know this personally or anything. Ahem.