I have absolutely no idea who I am. Now before I begin this overly-analytical, self-deprecating, and all in all melodramatic little rant, let me just tell you — I know that I am stubborn and love to read and have really dark, equally stubborn brown hair. My eyes, on the other hand, are just as identity-confused as I am. One day they’re brown, the next they’re green, sometimes even gray…one simple color isn’t good enough for those bad boys. But simultaneously, I know this about them and many other, small, concrete things about myself.
I have been struggling with identity ever since I can remember (a shocking, never before seen sentiment, I know). But now, as I am about to graduate and enter into an entirely different world and chapter in my life, the gravity of my identity crisis becomes more and more apparent every day. Even my plans for this upcoming summer reflect my general confusion in life—hiking trip in Maine, obnoxiously overpriced music festivals, binge-drink week at the beach, and a random few days in Disney to somehow conjure up what I lost in childhood (don’t judge me, okay?)
But now, recently, I stumbled upon a blog written by three old friends of mine and they are exactly the same as they have always been. Sickeningly witty, achingly intelligent, and overall the coolest people I ever knew. They have been that way since we were children. They were the first to burn me an Of Montreal CD, they let me play tambourine in their “experimental funk” band, and they taught me that being different was the most beautiful thing a person could be.
Then I moved to a new town and we all moved on and we haven’t spoken in years.
Seeing (or reading, I suppose) them now casts even more light onto my utterly despondent circumstances — just who the hell am I?
People have always told me that I’m good at being a chameleon. People have also always told me that I am fake and manipulative. I never try to be any of those things—I just seem to naturally adapt to different types of people and circumstances. The loud city streets of my childhood will burst out of my mouth in a vicious Philadelphian accent the moment I am aggravated or surrounded by the old, Italian paesano of my past. I will straighten my spine and smooth my skirt before talking about absolutely nothing with the trust-fund babies from high school. I will be a hippie and preach my vegan ways around my new-age friends and argue politics until I’m blue in the face with my bound-for-Wall Street buds. The list goes on and on, and at the end of the day, when I’m lying in my appropriately arbitrary, not too cool, but still unique enough bedroom, I ponder what the hell I am doing. Is this who I am-many people rolled into one mess of a person — or is this just who I am for now? Will it all hit me one day like a ton of bricks, that “ah-ha” moment, stun the other me’s into silence, and set me down my actual path? Who knows. A part of me hopes so, a part of me doesn’t.
There is a certain thrill to being able to mold yourself around your environment. There is a certain entertainment to knowing that you are not limited by who you are — sure, I’m a girl who first read Kerouac in the 6th grade, but why can’t I enjoy a good episode of Long Island Medium every now and then? I am a self-procclaimed fierce feminist who still shops at Victoria’s Secret and has to remember to bite her tongue before calling Kim Kardashian fat. I am a woman who hates showering and loves whiskey more than…there are no words. Yeah, I know, how earth shattering of me. A woman who refuses to fill her societally determined mold, avoiding traditional gender roles, trying to find herself by losing herself…I should have gone to Brown or something. While my cynicism is already my loudest and most vicious critic on this article and the self-directed question in general, I can’t help but slightly obsess over it. Do people notice I have absolutely no idea who I am? Does it show in my choice of clothing, my lack of consistent mannerisms, my disconcertingly large range of accents and slangs? I hope not. I don’t want people to notice and then figure out the real me before I do.
That would simply be too easy.