Sometimes, when I have an existential crisis like everyone does some time in their life, I turn to Dictionary-dot-com and search myself up.
This is what I see:
Iris P.—noun. /ˈaɪ rɪs pi/
1. A set of numbers: Social Security, State ID, School ID. Lines of binary. A barcode on a high school’s card. Faceless, intangible, a data point among countless others.
2. A list of numbers and letters: All available transcripts. Teacher comments. Highest SAT score. Highest ACT score. AP scores. GPA, weighted and unweighted. Still a data point among countless others.
3. Someone you see on the street, or in the school hallways. Short and unassuming. Maybe she’ll smile at you if you catch her eye.
4. A student. She will try to do well in your class. But she is shy, and she does not speak unless she is sure she is not wrong, that she will not fail.
5. A musician. Sometimes you see her perform in concerts, parties, or other events. But she is just one of the many people in those ensembles, and maybe you forget her.
6. A friend. She will love you, help you, and be there for you when you need support. Sometimes she tries to be funny. You don’t realize she looks at you and feels herself pale in comparison to your glowing light.
7. A sister. She will love you in her own way. But you don’t see how much she is annoyed by how dependent you are on her. She wonders if you respect her as much as she respects you.
8. A daughter. She will love you, hug you, talk to you, but keep her secrets to herself. Sometimes you tell her your own fears and worries, as if she is a fellow peer, a person you can really trust. She will cry every time and not say anything, because she doesn’t know what to tell you. The truth is, she is not a fellow peer, no matter how many times you call her mature. But she tries—she tries.
For others, the list often stops here. But I crave more, and I think, and I finally add one of my own definitions to the list:
9. A human being. And because she, no, I am a human being, I have the right to my own person. I am my own person. I may be defined by all of the things above, but there is much, much more that the world doesn’t see.
I am undefinable, always changing, never stopping. And that’s a good enough “definition” for me.