The Person I Am

Words are so powerful. You can manipulate as many times as you want. Words can be used to hurt someone but it could also be used to heal someone. They hold so much meaning. They can be interpreted so many different ways. People say “pictures hold a thousand words.” I say “words hold a thousand memories, feelings, and thoughts.


Photo ©2006 by din bcn[CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]

Q: How come we can never fully express ourselves with words?

In the essay, Words Don’t Mean What They Mean, Steven Pinker poses the question, “Why don’t people just say what they mean?” My answer is, because when people say what they mean, others get hurt. Throughout the novel, Holden is very careful with what he thinks and what he actually says. This changes however in chapter 17 when Holden tells Sally, “You give me a royal pain in the ass, if you want to know the truth.” Holden knows what he thinks would hurt people’s feelings, which is why it keeps it to himself. But of course when he slips, we see the aftermath as Sally cries and refuses to let Holden take her home.

I, myself, am a pretty blunt person. I don’t like cutting corners and straying away from what I want to say. I do this for two reasons. (1) It saves a lot of time. When you’re clear about what you meant then you did not have to use up a lot of time beating around the bush and explaining what you REALLY mean. (2) It’s easier. Why waste some energy to think of a way to the harsh truth into a euphemism. That’s just too much work. Now, after I said that you would probably think I’m some kind of immoral girl who was raised by monkeys. But of course, I know when is not the right time. Take this for an example. I’m doing a group project for one of my classes with two other girls. One of the girls won’t listen to anyone else opinions and does the project the way she wants to. Ok, that’s not so bad. Then she makes the rest of us do the work and she doesn’t really do anything. Alright, now I’m starting to get angry. So do I bluntly tell her that I think she’s selfish and ungenerous. Hell no. I keep my mouth shut. Why? Because that’s the point of a group project: to work together. There needs to be harmony not conflict. I just need to find a nice way to phrase what I actually want to say.

A: When we fully express ourselves with words, we say what we really mean. But that hurts people, so we be careful and only partially express ourselves.

Like Pinker will say, I “do a lot of role playing, side-step, and shilly-shally, and engage in all manner of vagueness and innuendo … and expect others to do it, yet at the same time [I] profess to long for the plain truth.” Hey, I might be a hypocrite but let’s be real. We’re all hypocrites.

Q: What expressions/feelings can words not describe?

Holden calls a lot of people phony, which is ironic because he himself is phony. Whenever he meets someone, he will take on a different role. When he talks to Ernest Morrow’s mother, he is Rudolf Schmidt and whenever he goes to a bar, he pretends he’s older than he is. According to Grain, he is a “poser,” someone who “trick people into liking them by being something they weren’t.” Holden struggles between childhood and adulthood. He is insecure and has trouble telling people what he wants to say and getting people to listen. Even when he tries to tell Sally, she doesn’t understand. Sometimes you’re expressions and feelings are so complex it’s hard to express them.

I’m no stranger to this. I find it extremely hard to express myself and get people to listen to me. In English class, my teacher would always tell us to show our work. One way of doing this was writing blogs. And to be honest, I dreaded blogs. I didn’t want to write about myself and the topics I like. It was too difficult. This is my reason why:

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I was never a really expressive person. Growing up, I learned it was better to not say anything at all. Because there was no one to listen. There was no one to care. But even when there was, they would just brush my opinions away with the wave if a hand. Maybe that’s why I’m so blunt to others, because I am able to express my opinions about others without showing people who I really am. It’s not like I don’t have a lot to say. I really do. I just find it hard to start; to put my pen down and write.

Although I don’t like to write, I did.

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My first true blog was titled, “I Live With An Avenger.” In that blog, I told myself to just say what I wanted to say and not to hold back. Still, I held back. There was so much more I wanted to write, but I couldn’t do it. I was too scared. Hopefully one day, like Holden I won’t be stuck anymore and would be able to move on.

A: Words can’t describe who I really am. They are a way of expression but they can also be used to hide what I really want to say. I can manipulate them to hide the true meaning. Words can hard to describe the complex thoughts and feelings I have because I’m afraid to show people what they are.

This brings up the final question.

Q: How is who I am different from what I feel?

A: Who I am is what I show people. Like Holden, I have different personas when I talk to people. What I feel is who I really am on the inside. The person I am hiding from the rest of the world. Like Holden, they are the thoughts I do not speak out loud but say in my head.


Photo ©2008 by din bcn[CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]

Words are everything. All I have to do is embrace them and use them.


Like Pinker will say, I “do a lot of role playing, side-step, and shilly-shally, and engage in all manner of vagueness and innuendo … and expect others to do it, yet at the same time [I] profess to long for the plain truth.” Hey, I might be a hypocrite but let’s be real. We’re all hypocrites.


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