Confession. I got a comment the other day that really made me question myself.
It was so simple, the person just said “I really miss how you used to dress boho. I hope you go back to dressing like that. I miss it so much. You have changed.”
And totally, my style has changed. My lifestyle has changed, my wardrobe changed with it. I now take the subway three times a day and walk an average of five miles across crooked sidewalks and run across the street as the LED red hand blinks faster and faster. I’m dressing more practical, sneakers that I can run to catch a train in, t-shirts that are easy to toss on, denim because stains aren’t as noticeable. But the types of garments I am attracted to, the colors I like, the styles I’m into? Those are completely different compared to even two months ago. Am I a floppy trend follower? Or is this just because of my recent city switch?
But I feel like this often. I am finding that aspects of my personality are too fluid, and that two people who know me very well might describe me entirely differently. So often I fill the role of what I need to be for a person, or I figure out how I fit into a group and assume that position. I wish I was one of those people who was unwaveringly the same in front of absolutely everybody, but I’m just.. not. Some would say I’m an introvert, others would say I’m an extrovert. Some would say I’m hilarious, and others would say I’m “really nice”. The me I show completely depends on you, and my situation.
Sometimes I jump to hear what other people have to say about me. Not because I want my ego to be stoked, but because I’m looking for those common nuggets of what make up Emma. What is my foundation, what is my base? How is it possible that I love the Beach Boys as much as I love Kendrick Lamar? That I could live forever in isolation by the seaside, but also be a city dweller until my dying day? How can the same person constantly conflict themself?
Haley (my roommate from LA & one of my best friends) and I are usually on the same wavelength, so when she texted me that she was feeling the same way, I wasn’t surprised. We are both pisces, born just a few days apart, and often discuss the fluidity of our personality and emotions.
Identity is tied to ego (read a New Earth!). And Haley and I once contemplated planes of existence over avocado toast sitting on the floor of our kitchen for a few hours. Basically dissecting how human interaction is happening on so many levels: verbal, action, intentions, thought, reception, assumption, etc. We affectionately call them “planes of existence” and they hardly ever align.
Underneath everything, what it boils down to is: you are your thoughts, more specifically, you are your intentions.
The manifestation of yourself may burst in a lot of different ways, making it seem like you’re always changing. And you can never, ever predict how somebody is going to receive you, which adds another layer of identity crisis. Combining all of these elements… expressing your authentic self all the time seems to be a near impossible task.
My authentic self feeling like a butterfly, evading me the more and more I try to catch it, and then softly sitting on my shoulder when I am unaware of it and in the middle of just living life. Sometimes I feel I know myself “like the back of my hand,” and other times I look at myself in the mirror and hardly recognize her.
And that’s okay. I allow myself the freedom to redefine myself daily. If I was steadfast and so sure of myself, I might miss out on a lot of experiences that are “not me” and a lot of self discovery. Personality traits are just words after all, and they could never fully encompass a person. If somebody were to ask me to describe Haley, or anyone else I love in my life, I would have a hard time. They are multifaceted, dynamic, and ever changing humans. They are so predictable but at the same time so surprising.
You have to experience their presence, in the same way you might experience emotions. You can’t confine sadness to the word “sad”. It’s truly felt in tears, in sighs, in aches in your heart, in feelings that you can’t shake, and the way your head spins like you just rode a tilt-a-whirl.
So experience yourself. And don’t worry too much about defining yourself.
This goes for you too, Emma.