Friday, May 27, 2011

Who You Are

Lets start with the basic assumption that everyone has an identity. We all have a core of immovable values, morals, ideas, and thoughts about ourself. This core defines the decisions we make and what kind of person we become.  Who you are is such a difficult concept though. How do we even know who we are? Life is constantly changing. We change sides of the political spectrum, we meet new people, try new things, believe and see different things. It would see foolish to peg who we are down to one set idea, because we always grow and change as life goes on. Yet, there is that solid aspect of who you are, there is always that characteristic that is distinctly you. For me it might be that I talk too much, but I like to think of it as my compassion. I want to try and live a life where I treat everyone with kindness and compassion, but I struggle with it daily.

Sometimes who we are isn't "socially acceptable". Sometimes who you are wouldn't or doesn't fit in with the "popular" crowd or the people you work with or even the people you live with. It's always hard to gauge when you should stuff it and just get through the day or when it's a good time to let your freak flag fly. I don't have much experience in the work situation but I imagine keeping your job is rather important. So obviously disagreement with coworkers over fundamental moral issues..probably not the best thing.  However, I do have some experience as far as social experiences come. Who among us hasn't struggled to fit in or find friends? Who among us hasn't conformed or changed something about ourselves to better fit the mold? Who among us has tried and failed?

In middle school I was a nerd. Not to brag but I was kind of the "teacher's pet" and the "smart girl" if you will. I had struggled with fitting in since I was a little girl. I was pretty much unwaveringly blunt in my opinions and I saw no reason not to be, but my peers didn't really agree. While most girls my age were starting to dabble in make-up and boys I was more occupied with the genocide in Darfur and the newspaper. I was pretty much socially incompatible with my peers, part of which was my fault I will admit. I was so frightened of people getting close to me that I would push them away with a ten foot pole. My pole of choice was, and remained so for a long time "I'm smarter than you. I know more than you." It was very effective at pushing people away, yet I always wanted to fit in. I wanted to be like these popular girls.  I tried too. I dressed in American Eagle and Hollister. I straightened my hair and got bangs, I tried to enjoy the things they did, but to no avail. I was always the odd one, probably because I was so uncomfortable in my own skin that I made others uncomfortable in general.  And eventually I just stopped trying. There was no point. People didn't really like me and for good reason. I was angry and a loudmouth and very "high and mighty". I saw it as the only way to protect myself from getting hurt. I saw what these girls did to their "friends" what they still do and what we all do. (Its so much easier to talk badly about someone than to look in the mirror and admit to yourself that you're insecure. Something I personally struggle with, something I think a lot of us struggle with.)

I didn't want to be alone but I didn't want to give up what I believed either. I chose to keep myself apart. I chose to be less socially compatible than to give up what I felt was more important, and by the end it paid off. I learned to be happy on my own, but I didn't learn to be comfortable in myself...that came 4 years later. It was an agonizing wait...

In my previous blog Get it Right I talked about my relationship and how that changed who I am and how I changed who I was to make the relationship flow. Because let's be honest...a very opinionated liberal agnostic dating a conservative born again Christian? Probably wasn't going to go over's times like these I wish I had written a pros/cons list about Matt. I'm pretty sure we wouldn't have dated. To be blunt: our relationship was doomed from the start. But I didn't want to lose the attention he gave me and the security of having someone there to hold me, so I stuffed it.

I stopped arguing with him. I sat passively during his dad's racist and chauvinistic remarks. I converted to a religion I thought was ridiculously overblown and (in some cases) over-commercialized and fake (not saying that about all Christians. I don't have an issue with most Christians but not gonna lie..Christianity in some cases is used more as a social marker than a life choice). I became a complete shell of who I was. I'm a very opinionated, blunt, and stubborn person. In some cases it's a virtue in others it's a character flaw, regardless of that though it's who I am and I let that go. I stopped talking to people who I loved to be around and I abandoned my core principles. I stopped asking questions and pushing myself to learn. I became the girl you see everyday, meek and quiet with nothing much to say. I let my hair get blond and I stopped wearing the clothes I loved to wear. I was too scared that Matt might not like them and in turn not like me...It was a brutal cycle and it didn't break until we broke up.

It wasn't until I looked back that I realized how far I had fallen, how far i had drifted away from who I truly was and I know I'm not the only one who has gone through this so you aren't either. It's so hard to be true to yourself and I get that. The world makes it so hard to be an individual, to stand by what you believe without persecution or being socially ostracized. But, if I've learned anything over the course of my life is that life is too short to waste any of it being someone you're not and that it doesn't matter how great you are at conforming, one day who you are will come out. One day you'll wake up and you won't know who the hell is looking back at you in the mirror.

That moment when you realize that you can't even recognize yourself is so heartbreaking. it's so scary realizing that who you are isn't there anymore; that you have essentially drowned yourself in this sick batch of ideas that aren't even yours. It's the most dramatic wake-up call one can have, I believe.

So, words of wisdom (basically this entire blog post summed up) :
Don't lose who you are in the blur of the stars
Seeing is deceiving, dreaming is believing
It's okay not to be okay
Sometimes it's hard to follow your heart
Tears don't mean you're losing, everybody's bruising
There's NOTHING wrong with who you are. 

Peace Out,

1 comment:

  1. what a wonderful writer you are; I just love your blog!