Featured Illustrations: Bahar Bayraktaroğlu
When I asked people this question, most of them said it was difficult to answer. It was only when I answered the question myself that I realized what they were saying was true: not only because this question was personal, but also because most of us really don’t know.
And even if we did come up with answers, people change, and so will their ideas and their answers. Maybe what matters the most today won’t matter tomorrow. I don’t really know if this is scary or a relief. It just is what it is.
Perhaps one year from now, we will be a whole different person. Maybe we will become the person we want to be and maybe not. We could be setting new goals, we might be where we want to be, or moving in that direction. We will probably fail a few times, feel hopeless or disappointed, but it is important that we learn from these mistakes.
We don’t know what the future brings. Nevertheless, this is who we are today, and don’t forget that tomorrow is a new day and you are always subject to change.
What is the one thing you are afraid to say out loud?
What will happen in the future? Will we be alive?
I’m not the person I look like. When I was little, I started acting like the person I wanted to be, and now I can’t stop acting.
The fact that I’m afraid of accomplishment.
I am an atheist (it’s hard and scary when you live in Turkey).
I don’t love you.
I have no idea about anything.
I do not believe in true love of any kind or any “must put effort and work on it” types of relationships at our age. I think love is just a name people have given to someone they share experiences with in order to feel special. But I do say this to some people, so I wouldn’t specifically count it as a thing I am afraid to say to others.
I like Zeynep Afşin.
I am worthy of love.
That I may not actually find love.
My opinions about the president(!) of Turkey. I don’t wanna be in jail.
I don’t fear saying anything out loud.
I value people’s opinions too much.
I am not enough.
I can’t do it.
That my idea of God isn’t what my parents want it to be.
Nothing came to my mind.
I am not afraid to share my insecurities etc. I thought a lot and maybe this is not the answer the question was intended for, but I don’t like saying things that will hurt others out loud unless it is a close friend.
I’m too afraid of saying it to write it here lmao.
Anything related to my mental illness and how I don’t like myself.
That I have a crush/am in love.
Saying what I’ve been through last year.
I don’t really have something I am afraid to say out loud. Maybe something that might break other people’s hearts. This is why I sometimes tell some white lies.
Who are you?
A slightly above average student.
Someone who is still trying to figure out life.
A nice introvert loser who is doing an act to look like a nice successful extrovert girl.
I’m no one.
An average person that people often like.
Bestie of Zeynep Afsin 😉
Unique versatile that everyone needs.
I am a Turkish teenager who is trying to experience life as much as possible.
I don’t know how to respond to this.
A young Black woman.
A goofy girl that enjoys little things in life.
I’m not sure, but I look forward to growing and figuring this out.
Doğan Tekeli (frd = future racing driver).
I don’t quite know, but I love the ferry rides, I love visiting museums, I love reading. I don’t like going to bars even if sometimes I want to, I lie and I am good at it, I hate sharing my feelings, I want people to understand me without me having to explain myself.
Just a traveler passing by.
I am a loyal friend.
Depressed artist and student trying to navigate life.
I’m someone in the process of finally becoming my own person.
I am a human being; that is, I am my consciousness controlling my body. I am a semi-introvert that likes to have a small friend group and hang out alone in my room from time to time. I am relatively successful at many things, thanks to my hard work, but I know if I worked harder, I could have used more of my potential. I am a person with lots of hobbies and interests that make me good at nearly anything and nothing at the same time.
Who do you want to be?
Someone who is capable enough to respond to the “who are you” question.
I wanna be certain. I want to be powerful and independent. Of course, I want to be happy, but I also want to make others happy.
My best self or the next drag superstar.
I want to be a successful man who can provide for his future family as well as a man who has found inner peace and happiness.
A kind person.
Someone who doesn’t procrastinate all the time + a respected artist.
The nice successful extrovert girl everyone likes spending time with.
A successful doctor.
I want to be someone who is trustworthy, independent, successful at her job, and has strong family bonds.
Racing driver or a professional photographer.
A better version of myself.
A successful and influential Black woman.
Someone who knows they’ve done enough, someone who is able to rest without feeling guilty, someone who is content with life.
I wanna be a CEO.
A well-known doctor.
I want to be a person who feels good to be around and talk to. I want to STAY as someone you can have fun with but also someone that can talk philosophy with you. I want to be at a point and place where I feel like I belong, in terms of my profession and social environment. Someone who will always add to herself and improve.
I want to unleash my full potential. I want to be a person that gives all of themselves while completing a task or doing anything, really. I want to live my life to the fullest. I wish to become a person that can focus on certain interests and be good at those instead of my current chaotic self. I want to be a person that my 7-year-old self would be proud of.
I want to be a person that leaves a big positive impact in the world and one that creates unforgettable change.
A good professional and artist with a nice life.
A person who lives and dies happy.
Are you proud of yourself?
In certain aspects, yes.
I think so.
I am, up to a point.
Somewhat. Up until now, I have done stuff I should be proud of. I am definitely proud of who I am. I am proud of myself, but I could have also done a lot better because nowadays it is more important to be the best at one job/thing rather than being good at several things. I am good at several things but unfortunately, I don’t feel like I am the best at something I do. This sometimes makes me feel insecure and worried about my future so sometimes, these insecurities about what I want to do in the future prevent me from feeling proud of myself. At least I am very proud and confident about my character and wouldn’t change a thing about it.
No, because I don’t think I had enough experience to do something I am proud of.
Most of the time yes, rarely the opposite.
Very much so.
Yeah, for sure.
This depends on what aspect of my personality and experiences we’re talking about.
Nonetheless, I think I am proud of myself overall.
Kinda, (not academically), but in other aspects, yes I think I am.
Yes, but not all the time.
Yes, I am.
Yes, and I am proud I can say that.
Not really but I don’t feel disappointed either.
I have a lot of room for improvement but I am proud of myself for how much I have grown.
In a way, yes, but I still bring myself down a lot.
Sometimes… most of the time. I feel like even though I could do better, I do work hard when I have to. So when my hard work pays off, I do feel proud of myself. When I fail though, I feel insufficient. So I would say when I achieve some goal I feel proud, but when I fail I don’t feel proud of myself.
What is the best advice you will ever give to yourself?
Take a break! And learn to say no to some things — you can’t do it all.
Sometimes fear is helpful.
You don’t have to be yourself to love yourself.
Believe in yourself and go for it.
Don’t be afraid.
Life is a one time offer. Use it well. Enjoy every moment of your life.
Don’t procrastinate stuff. Whether it is homework or a social event, do it now, or as soon as possible. Time passes fast and in a short while you might not have the opportunity anymore.
Don’t care what others think.
Don’t think too much.
Never trust people more than you trust yourself.
If you give up on yourself, others won’t believe you.
You are young, so it is okay to make mistakes.
Work hard, never give up, get your shit together before it’s too late.
Love yourself first.
Always be cool, calm, and collected.
Take it one day at a time.
If you don’t help yourself you won’t be able to help others, and you can only help others if they want to be helped.
Don’t care about what people think of you, just be yourself.
Don’t be afraid to make connections with people and be brave to be social.
Stop oversharing to people who don’t care.
Don’t let anyone downplay your accomplishments, especially yourself.
What is the biggest lie you ever told yourself?
I know what I’m doing, I don’t need help.
I am sure there is at least one, but I can’t think of an answer.
That I was straight hahahahaha + that I had motivation for stuff even though I was exhausted.
🙂 You want to change 🙂
It is not my fault.
I love women.
I have done enough.
I tell myself that I don’t hold a grudge.
You can’t do this.
That I don’t care about what other people think of me.
It’s the last time. You’ll never drink/smoke again for your health.
That I’m not beautiful.
I am not worthy of acceptance or affection, I won’t ever be. Uncovering this lie is why I am alive and better than ever right now.
That I did my best even though I didn’t.
Nothing. I’ve never lied to myself.
I will study.
I’m already feeling better.
Just one bite won’t make me gain weight… (It almost never ends with one bite).
Today I work hard.
Not the biggest, but “I’m not gonna catch feelings for him.”
I don’t care.
Have you ever been in love?
I wish, but no.
No, I am too young to be in love.
I am too young and inexperienced to give an answer to that.
Ma’am this is a Wendy’s… no.
No, I don’t think that was love.
Yes, but I’ve never dated anyone.
I think I was.
Haha, see Question 1.
I don’t think I have.
I don’t think so. I guess I would know if I did.
Are you happy?
Not always, but I try to be.
Yes, I am happy. I have many close friends, a loving family, many great memories and I feel that I am loved by my friends and family. I don’t see a reason to be sad.
Yes, of course, I am happy. There is no reason not to be.
Yes, and I am grateful, too.
In the middle haha. Not 100% happy but getting there.
Yeah, why not.
As happy as I can be in the current political climate. My personal life is better than ever but the world continues to turn into hell so I’m conflicted.
I don’t know.
At the moment, yes!
Yes because I am living a comfortable life and I have friends and family who care for me.
Yeah, I am, but my head is a little confused.
Yes, I guess. I hope you are too. 🙂
Tell me something no one knows about you.
I wasn’t myself for a whole year and no one noticed.
I like doing makeup sometimes.
I believe in love at first sight.
I cheated on my final Turkish exam.
I’m a clown 🤡.
I am not sure if I still have feelings for him.
Instead of complimenting people I love, I tend to mock them.
I am hopeless.
I have a lovely family and so many friends but sometimes I feel like I have nobody and I am alone. I don’t why. It’s ridiculous.
I wanna learn surfing 😅.
I cry a lot.
I always dumb down my words and actions so I can be more understandable. I have Asperger’s.
I say I will study, but I never really study.
I’m a retard in the EQ (emotional quotient) department.
I always swing my leg while I am sleeping.
I love cooking.
I cannot, sorry! It’s a secret for a reason!
I’m a pretty open book with friends and followers so at least someone knows something about me. There isn’t anything I can think of that I’ve hidden.
I KNOW sometimes my thoughts about something are not self-formed and fully influenced by outer sources and I am afraid of these prejudices and expectations I hold. I break some of these prejudices nowadays…
I have a red pencil in my pencil case that doesn’t belong to me, I don’t know why or how I have it, or if its owner misses it.
I also can’t tell you something no one knows about me because compared to others I am a very open person. I like attention and I also believe in trusting people. I always tell everything about myself so I don’t have any secrets.
Umm… I sometimes write down emotional stuff I am going through in random notebooks or papers and get rid of them.
What is your biggest regret?
Losing my soulmate because of the smallest, dumbest things.
I have no regrets. I believe that regretting is meaningless because you cannot change what happened.
One is not really attaching myself to a particular topic/sports when I was younger. If I had spent more on one particular topic, I think I could have been one of the best at it by now. The second regret is letting it all loose after entering high school. I am still not working at all and I am furious at myself for this as I am putting my future in jeopardy minute by minute. Yet, I also can’t start to change this. I do not have any regrets about my relationships.
Not telling someone how I felt about them when I should have.
Not being able to set my priorities right.
Don’t say I love you to my first love.
Not being able to decide on what I want.
Couldn’t say a proper goodbye to my grandpa for the last time.
Not working hard during exam year.
Lying too much in the past?
I don’t live with regrets.
Overthinking about my grades rather than learning.
Not standing up for myself when people were being mean.
Not meeting some of the people in my life earlier.
Not pursuing my dreams earlier.
Not studying in high school/not starting karting at the age of 5 or 6.
Nothing. I know the consequences of my actions so I don’t regret it easily.
I try to live without any regrets. If I had to give an answer, it would be going to therapy again sooner.
Not being consistent and determined.
Not saying what was on my mind to people and keeping to myself for years.
Not talking enough to a friend when they were with me. They are no longer alive and I have so many things I wish I could have told them.
As I read these answers, I saw that there were moments I felt like that too, that I have the same thoughts, the same pain, and sometimes the same fear.
And Rupi Kaur’s poem poured out of my mouth: “The irony of loneliness is we all feel it at the same time.”
2 thoughts on “Who Are You?”
This is so touchingly inspired. I love how you’ve brought these people together in a single narrative, yet it’s so easy to pick them apart. I love how some people really think about the questions and come up with very personal responses, and others joke, or have charming, whimsical answers. This post is a gem.
I’ve been trying to do something similar but failed to yield results like these, I will definitely try again though. I love this post, it’s beautiful. I hope you have many more meaningful conversations, and I hope you share them with us.
Thank you so much for your kind words. It was definitely a unique experience. I asked some questions to face to face and It was hard for some people to open up but when they did, I had a chance to know them. Seeing people putting trust on me was beyond ordinary. Again I really appreciated your kind words. 🙂