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Nose Rough: Check Chapped Upper Lip: Check

April 19, 2013

I know I’m supposed to give up on the past but, I thought I’d share a conundrum I went over in my head as I was taking the first shower I’d had since Wednesday (I’m sick, shup)  and thinking (showering is my muse, it definitely frees my mind to think) about a time from high school. See, in 10th grade English we were paired up in groups and I got paired up with my friend and crush at the time (if you’re reading this…sorry …err…A?).

I don’t remember the full details but the one bit that really struck out: Describe your group partner. That was what I’d been waiting for for a year and a half, finally I’d know what she thought of me! So…what did she say: “You’re just John.” Yes! Wait, what? That’s it? Aw goddamnit. What does that even mean?!, were my immediate thoughts. Then I pressed, “What does that mean?” Stammering a little, “You’re just….you.” I felt she was avoiding giving an honest response, but I didn’t press it. I moved on, momentarily embarrassed. Then the thoughts and questions came: What the fuck does that mean? Is there really that little to me? Why didn’t she say more? Maybe I should ask later. No, she’d think you’re crazy. Maybe I am crazy. Why is this bothering me so much?! To this day that response still rattles around in my head from time to time. I’ve kind of skimmed over it before in this blagh, in fact.

At the time I remember that that response was really insulting to me and I felt this shame over that fact. It hurt because the ambiguity allowed me to mentally come up with just what precisely it meant.  It meant I wasn’t really someone worth giving a deeper thought about. Or at least that’s what I’d told myself to justify the way I felt. I’d hitched my wagon to one person and they sort of were really ambiguous about me. So that was my conundrum that I’ve continued to struggle with: Who am I?

When you’ve been dealing with people in school since 3 years old you kind develop some awful habits which mostly just go to hiding who you are. Kind of showing your public face but in private being a different person. Yes, everyone does this, but I feel that extra time has made the public face all that I have–until I lost even that. Now with a public persona gone, a crush gone, and still no answers I do feel kind of lost, but I’m actually quite accepting of the ‘you’ label. Chiefly because there is just me. I’m whoever you think I am and that’s mostly because I’ve also accepted the fact that no matter what I do someone’s always going to have a different opinion of who I am.

That last bit always frightened me for some reason. I recoil at the notion that I’ll never honestly know how people see me to me I always thought if you asked someone how they thought or felt about you that you’d get a genuinely open response, but I question even that now. Sure, they’ll give you plenty of adjectives that probably do describe the finer points of you, but it’s mostly generic. There’s no personal touch and maybe that’s all people really want: to feel good. So generic generalities work for them, but in my new opinion is that people will truly show you what they think of you by how they treat you.

I know that’s not a new or even novel concept so I hope no one pretends that I think that it is, but it’s a shifting opinion and one I’m trying to stick with. Sure, I’ll probably still apologize needlessly because in my mind I’ve done something wrong or I fear they’ll hate me for some reason. However, I think we’ve all got those sort of stumbling blocks despite wanting to incorporate a new thought or opinion into our daily lives. That’s just how things go so if I slip occasionally then there’s a reason for it, this shit is really wrapped up into who I am.

I’m just thankful for who I am these days and hope to never try to become something more than I am, because that’s not really living–trying to live up to what other people think you should be or should do.

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