The BBQ lunch from hell turned out to be little more than a boring and seemingly never-ending Sunday lunch. Though it started off inevitably rocky, mostly because I was somewhat hungover (yes can you believe it, I actually had plans for last Saturday night!) and also as people arrived they felt it only courteous to ask me how I was and how life had been treating me. But it honestly ending better than expected. And by that I mean the focus was promptly taken off me entirely and I was left alone at your food laden dinner table to ponder life’s greatest mysteries.
Well, not so much life’s but my own. I happily kept to myself, getting lost in thoughts and a new story I had created earlier that morning. But soon I ended up tangled in a different belief.
Who am I really?
I describe myself as a creative type, a little bit quirky, lover of the printed word and at my center a nomad soul. But is this truly who I am?
I’ve spent my entire life creating a character, observing mostly and tailoring myself to fit in to my surroundings; like a chameleon of sorts. Allowing myself to be easily influenced by others, watching how they interact, what they say and do, feel and wear all in the sake of fitting in to some ideal, conforming to some stereotypical idea of what a ‘cool’ person is.
I struggled when I was young. I was an impossibly shy and incredibly sad child. Unable to find a niche to click into, finding it difficult to make friends and only managing to secure no more than one or two friendships in the playground; a lone wolf really. I never understood why I didn’t have blonde hair or blue eyes, feeling that was the solution to why no one liked me or even noticed me. My then unusual name singling me out to Brooke the grade six school bully and Matt who sat behind me in class, constantly taunting me and stealing my stuff. My chubby cheeks rendering me an unappealing teammate, casting me aside and being the last child chosen for those team sports every time, despite my strong athletic abilities.
It wasn’t until grade six when I suddenly found myself in that popular crowd and began rapidly transforming myself to truly belong with this gang of kids. I’d been watching them my whole life so I knew what to do and how to act, all it required was coming out of those shadows and out of my protective shell. Once I had done that I knew there was no going back no matter who I hurt along the way.
I’ve been a follower for so long and even now I wonder if that is what I am still doing. Following. Despite feeling like I’ve found myself and feel somewhat comfortable in my own skin I really question if that is the case. I am at an age now where social gatherings take place within the walls of someones home as opposed to those barely lit spaces of bars and clubs. We’ve swapped cheap beer and 3am kebab cravings for wine, extravagant cocktails and cheeses. Being ‘smart’ is considered to be an attractive and desirable trait, reading classic novels or just reading in general is trendy as is using big words when trying to articulate a point. Letting out that androgynous side in not just fashion but attitude is the new norm. I’ve really embraced all of the above and felt like this is who I am but I start to wonder if this really is me or if it’s just another character I’ve created in an attempt to fit into society yet again.
I’ve been a follower my entire life so what makes now any different?
It’s trendy to be a nerd and weird so is that what I am trying to actually personify? Working so hard to keep this charade up, just to belong? To look cool? And belong to what exactly? Who am I trying so hard to impress?
Maybe it’s just that sad inner child desperately fighting to fit in because she does not want to be excluded by her peers, terrified of truly shining and standing out. The again do we all do this? Am I not alone in this or are there honestly people out there who are 100% themselves all the time? If there are, well I have to applaud them because I don’t know how they do it. How they truly find who they really are, the essence that makes them the person they are, their individual fingerprint in this crazy world of ours.
Then again, am I just over thinking and looking into this way too much? Are we human beings on a path of discovery that spans our entire lives and even then as we lay on our death beds never truly have the big picture? Maybe we’re just a culmination of circumstances, situations and lessons, forever changing, perhaps easily influenced by those around us whether its via the media or the boy next door, adapting and shifting to whatever life hands our way. Maybe we’ll never truly know the real person within, only what makes them happy and sad and maybe that is enough.
Life is meant to be lived in a happy state, at least that is what I believe and want out of it. So maybe that is all that really matters here, not that I follow trends like a faceless sheep but that I am just happy.
Can it really be as simple as that?