I Define Me.

If there was a book called Art of Interviews For Dummies (and there should be one!), the first strongly recommended interview question would be – “Define yourself in one word.” 

This is one thing that almost all of us have braved at some point, right? The question also comes up regularly at several occasions other than a professional interview, like:

  • Social gatherings. The kind where you meet new people who want to know more about you. (They’re the worst, really)
  • Social media. We all know about the ‘Post it as your status for a week and get to really KNOW your friends‘ crap that goes on, right?
  • Online dating. Tinder. Shaadi dot com. Twitter (You’d be surprised about the dating potential here, but that’s dope for another post okay?). Snapchat. Kik. Whatever else that is hot with single and eager to couple-up people these days. Define yourself in one word, darling @MissHotLegs. Um, Hot? Bingo!  (Sorry. Shows herself out)
  • (Shows herself back in)
  • Meet The Parents situation.  Yeah, new gen parents are really in with it.
  • Miscellaneous. Playground-moms wearing Zara jeans, eying your sweat pants with generous baby food dabbing. Fellow Delhi-Metro traveler with a British accent (Don’t swoon, he was like, old and I was like, anti-dating at the time anyway). Your 2 year old girl, as in mumma what is your word? (I told her mom is Fab as in fabulous,BTW. Not fag as she keeps telling everyone. I’m all about cultivating general tolerance and sensitivity in kids so I’m not even objecting to it. Yet.)

Anyway, you get the picture.

And because it is predictable and almost mandatory for the interviewers all around the world, it is always met with a prompt response.
Define Yourself in One word. Accepted responses, in no particular order:

  • Confident
  • Independent
  • Motivated
  • Practical
  • Perfectionist
  • Thinker
  • Leader
  • Efficient
  • Organized
  • Achiever
  • Committed
  • Go-Getter
  • Risk-Taker 
  • Trouble-Shooter
  • Problem-Solver

(Yeah, the last few are often passed off as one word with a hyphen. I would know, I’ve had to explain it to one particularly particular gentleman who was interviewing me for an Internship. Didn’t get it. Not ashamed of it either.) 

So, the Define Yourself thing is almost un-escapable.  And it is a harmless, fairly
standard question that no one even sweats about. I mean, even the
interviewers with frown-y faces and impatient eyes don’t take your
answers seriously. Unless that answer is Wannabe Serial-Killer, obviously.

In fact, you are expected to smartly say one of the standard and globally-accepted replies and get done with it in an average of 3.40 seconds. Pick any of the words I mentioned above and you’ll cruise. Which is where the problem lies. If you say anything out of the Interview 101 booklet – something innocent like I’m Funny! or something brave like I’m a Dreamer – you are out of the short list, out of the running for whatever it was your were being interviewed for. Finished. 

So you see the problem here? You are supposed to define yourself, by confining to a pre-set list of qualities. Talk about paradox! It’s like the society telling you what you can and cannot be, deciding who you are and who can never be. It infuriates me that instead of letting us wonder, figure out, and decide what defines us – the world gives us a list of things that should or should not define us.

You can be an achiever, but not a dreamer because apparently dreamers can’t be trusted. You can say you’re a risk-taker, but stay away for mentioning that you want a career change in your 40s. By all means, tell people that you’re motivated but hey, never tell them you’re aspiring to be a best-selling author because that means you are not already a best selling author, which automatically means you are epic-fail as an author. What bullS#@t! 

The stereotyping is so nauseating, limiting, insulting and just plain wrong on like, a million levels, that it has successfully dragged me out of my self-induced blogging-coma and well, here I am, writing about what matters to me. Don’t get me wrong, I am no crusader of the poor-interviewee in dire need of self-expression, nor am I the poster girl for the Define-Me movement. 

No sireee!

I am just here to make a point, hoping that the next time someone casually asks me to define myself in one word, I can smile and say I’m ME, without being labelled crazy or weird – okay, so I’m already labelled those two so who cares, right? – but you get the point. I am not the one to conform to senseless social norms, you will neverrr catch me say I am a Practical Efficient Go – Getter Blah Blah to impress someone, to fit in or to get approval. I’m not that person. (I am this person in the picture below, attempting a pout, holding my book, looking slightly loony.)

What defines me is a long list that I can cut short to Top Five for you because a.) I’ve already typed about a gazillion-words-too-much for one post, and b.) you know I LOOOVE lists, right? I Adore lists! If Lists were a person, I’d totally be up for some flirting but that’s just me. Um, sorry it’s getting weird, let’s do them lists already, I say!

Things that define me (Top 5).

  1. My Writing. Nothing defines me more than what I write. I write not very often, I admit, and blogging has especially taken the hit – but whenever I do, I am brutally honest. I write the same way as I speak in real life, so people who know me personally, relate to it. I am social and these days I’m trying my best to be kind, though, so my chance at being straightforward is mostly limited to my writing. It brings out the best in me, so no one’s complaining (as yet!). Through my writings, I try to stay sincere, in a no-apologies way – something that I’m secretly proud of. So if you’re reading this – or anything I ever wrote, know that my words are pure me – minus any flowery thesaurus-worthy vocabulary, all the pretense of seeming better than what I am, and minus all the preachy slash show offish douchebaggery. When I write, I bare my sole. Thank God that I don’t write often, no? Haha. But hey, I did write a damn good (according to me and my sister) book. *wears fancy sunglasses and looks smug*. I’m surprised how am I not a celebrity already! Jeez.
  2. My House. Or Houses. Homes. Army Acco, or whatever you want to call them. I’m an Army wife and I had stopped caring about how much we move about 5 years back. Infact I kind of love it! New places, new experiences and all that jazz. I refer to all our 7 different accommodations over these 5 years as Homes because no matter how swanky/dilapidated or fancy/plain they have been, I have put my heart and soul into each one of them. From a teeny tiny quarter in a remote part of Assam, with lush tea-gardens on two sides, to a fancy new-construction (it’s kind of a biggie in fauji life, you know, like good karma etecetra) in Dehradun, and every other house in between – I have set up each house with a lot of effort to make each one a Home. I remember all 7 addresses to the T, and because I am a fool for memories sometimes, I even remember the names of all Army guest-rooms we’ve stayed in over the country. There are 21. No, I’m not telling you the story behind each, you’re welcome. Teeheehee.
  3. My passion for all the things that I was and I am, defines me the most. Past is a good teacher, Choices are great in the making of a person, but passion is the ingredient that makes you, YOU. Our past is a sum of countless memories, regrets, victories and questions. My past made me who I am today, because of my choices and my undying passion for making the most of things.

    Today is going to define who I will be tomorrow, it’s that simple and that complex. I am not defined by my scars.Today I am much more than what I used to be, because of my passion for everything that I am. Today I am:  

    1. An advertising girl
    2. A digital-media person (like every third person in the  world) 
    3. A new, struggling and not-famous-already author
    4. A perpetually stressed new-ish mom
    5. A crazy lover to my husband 
    6. A fanatic Army-Wife (a misfit, most times)
    7. An eavesdropper par excellence (apologies in advance)
    8. A book hoarder who reads like a women possessed
    9. A wannabe DIY expert (A cute dress from husband’s tee shirt? Count me in!)
    10. A easy-and-loud-laugher (is that a term? Well, it is now) 
    11. A sometimes give-upper (another term I made up. Just go with it, please?) 
    12. An always try-harderer (Yep. Another self-made term)
    13. A (failed) weight-watcher
    14. A street-foodie  (yes, you’re learning to keep up. Pats your back)
    15. An X-BOX Kinect freak (Call of Duty, oh yeah!) 
    16. A Red Color patron
    17. A girl with a dream so big, people laugh sometimes.  
    18. And finally, a girl who is going to try anyway. 
  4.  My Friends. I’m an Aquarian. According to Linda Goodman (hey, I was a teenager once, okay? They read all that!), the sign Aquarius is known to have a variety of friends. Friends that come in all shapes, sizes and types. I have always had zero problems in getting along with people. Any people, all people are my people, bitches! Yeah, I am the people’s person they talk about in books. My mom-dad and husband have to deal with a variety that often confuses and sometimes annoys them. I am good friends with this girl who failed her tenth class exam twice and is now camping in Mumbai, aspiring to be an actress. I am tight buddies with Physics Scientist (Big Bang Theory, Recent Noble, yes yes your GK is hot) doing frequent trips to CERN. One of my closest friends is majorly into spirituality, the Theory of Karma and the power of the Universe, while another one is a practicing DJ and believes that ‘The Only Redemption is Hard Rock‘. A college time BFF of mine is a famous Sales Head of a huge Cosmetic brand, while another is about to get her sixth permanent tattoo (this one is going to be spell-checked, she has assured me) and (probably) sells drugs. I’m just saying, you know? Just making a point here – and the point is not just the variety of friends I have, but the fact that they are all dear to me, they all define me. They say a lot about who I am, where I come from and where I want to go from here. And hey, I am a good friend (read Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs for detailed qualities), I am social and I am curious. I like to keep promises. I like having a good friend in all corners of the world. That’s me! My friends are my lifeline, and I love each one of them. (To my friends who are reading this – Chill, you guys! Your secrets are safe with me – and my blog. Kissy kissy!) See? I’m such a good friend.

  5. My Sense of Humor. Whatttt – you need me to explain this too? Jeez. Seriously, just read the damn post again mister/missy. My sense of humour makes my outlook brighter. It might not be the best, or cute, or even funny – but its my style and I totally own it. Infact, to quote my teenage cousin, In the world of wit, I’m golden yo!
What Defines me is as important as What Does Not Define Me, right? *drum roll* Here’s list two.

Things The Do NOT Define Me (Top 5):

  1. The mistakes I’ve made, because they taught me lessons
  2. The people I’ve hurt, because I’m not that person anymore (hopefully)
  3. The Mirror
  4. My Size or weight
  5. What “they” say

All those are self explanatory, and also I think I have exhausted the maximum word limit somewhere three paras ago. I know, too long a post! So I’m wrapping this right here. But first, let me reinstate that I know I cannot
be defined in one word, I am SO many things all at once. And if you asked me to define myself in one word, I’ll just say – ME. There you go. That’s my one word. 

Because darlings, definitions are confining. Norms are like restraining orders, keeping us from who we want to become. A multitude of things that make us who we are, because we can never be limited by one label. I’m a million ANDs put beautifully together.
And don’t come to me with this list 5 years down the line, or next year, or even next month because ME is always evolving.

I’m a work in progress, baby! 
I define me.

(Omg that’s so cool, maybe I’ll suggest it as my friend’s seventh tattoo. Stay tuned, lovelies!)

This post is a part of #UseYourAnd activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette Venus and I’ve attempted the ‘Things that define me’ theme.

Post Author: Aditi Mathur Kumar

Author of 2 books. TEDx Speaker. Travel Writer. Blogger. Addicted to Travel & Books. Digital Media Strategist. Social Media Girl. Army Wife. Mom. Curious. Crazy.

10 thoughts on “I Define Me.


    (January 28, 2015 - 10:03 am)

    Loved it. Very good.


    (January 30, 2015 - 8:52 pm)

    Read it twice. Can't get enough of this post. Love your writing.

    Aditi Mathur

    (January 31, 2015 - 2:14 pm)

    Thanks Krishna.

    Aditi Mathur

    (January 31, 2015 - 2:15 pm)

    Thank you so much Sachit. Glad you enjoyed it.

    damini grover

    (February 2, 2015 - 6:27 am)

    hey!just stumbled onto your blog and enjoyed reading your post!:)

    Danish Shahenshah

    (February 2, 2015 - 9:06 am)

    Nice one Adi (Baby)!
    To write that long a blog and still keep the reader hooked onto it till the end….Take a bow! 😉

    Aditi Mathur

    (February 3, 2015 - 7:16 am)

    Thanks Damini. Love your name. I once wrote a story where the lead was called Damini. She became an astronaut. And then started to live on a star.
    Yeah, I was 6 years old but it's still my favorite story. Thanks for the nice compliment. Keep visiting!

    Aditi Mathur

    (February 3, 2015 - 7:17 am)

    Big thanks. It's a damn good thing to read about oneself, and this particular oneself is pretty happy. *twirls happily*

    Suraj Saxena

    (February 5, 2015 - 4:09 am)

    loved it… 🙂


    (February 7, 2015 - 7:21 am)

    Really nice stuff !

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