I am that I am (Exodus 3:14) is a common English translation of the Hebrew phrase. אֶהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶהְיֶה, ’ehyeh ’ăšer ’ehyeh – I am who I am.
Asked by Moses when he said to God, “What am I to say to the Israelites?”
“I yam what I yam and tha’s all what I am”, said Popeye, The Sailor Man.
I am who I am, is often a declaration we make silently through the way we dress, express ourselves. Or loudly, “Do you know who I am?”
We pass by people. The butcher splattered in blood, with his arm sleeves rolled-up revealing his love for Elsie, a barmaid, his first love. The baker who looks like a snowman. The candlestick-maker, aged, with dripping wrinkles.
A man walks by, you see a woman in a man’s body. You smell unwashed bedsheets. You turn. A hobo sits on the pavement, proudly displaying missing front teeth and foot long beard. He holds a placard, ‘Wife kidnapped by 6 Ninjas. Pls give R10 for Kung Fu lessons’.
You get distracted when a shadow looms over you. You look up. It is a large man; clean shaven in forties, you guess. He has a double pumpkin size belly. You stare. Of course you stare. He ignores you. His head about fifty-five scoops of mash potato. You think, he struts like a ex-paratrooper while his pumpkins shift from side to side. Beside him his Yorkie paddles at breath-neck speed to keep up. And around you, you hear screechy voices, constant harping, jibber-jabbing. All say, I am who I am.