I look around me and desperately search for something familiar, but there is nothing. I know nothing. I reach and reach, looking to grab hold of something I know, but there’s nowhere to reach but inside. So I do. I reach inside. Surely, this must be familiar. Surely this heart I’ve carried through 22 years of life will feel like home. I reach, yet I don’t recognize what I see. I feel like an imposter in my own body. This house doesn’t feel like home at all.

Who is this person? How can she be defined?

The things that once defined me have been slowly stripped away over the past year.

I am no longer a brilliant student. I am not a victim. I am not the girl who never left Tacoma. I am not a daughter craving a relationship with her mom.

And lately, if I’m being completely honest, I don’t feel like much of a writer either.

My whole life I’ve been using context clues to tell me who I am. I have defined myself by the city I’ve lived in, the activities I’ve been a part of, and the people I’ve been surrounded by.

One month ago I hopped on a plane and moved across the world. Everything is new. Everything is different…and I must admit that I feel a little bit like I am drowning because using my context to define who I am no longer works.

You can’t use your context to define yourself if you can’t even define your context.

So you are forced to reach inside and figure out who you are when everything is stripped away. When there’s no one around you to tell you who you are and no landmarks to point you in the right direction. When you can’t define yourself as anything other than “you.”

That’s where I am.

That’s where I’ll be for the next 11 months.

Figuring out “me.”