Cliques and Checklists
Remember in High School when each of us pretended we didn’t really belong to a clique. We were individuals, self defined. We had quirks and no one else in the world was like us. Remember when we went out and bought the exact same jeans as every other girl in class because we just couldn’t be the only person without.
At what point does it stop? When do we get to be our own selves without making sure those around us approve. When are we truly ourselves without influence from others.
Whether we like to admit it or not, I don’t believe it ever stops. Sure, there are more moments that are purely ourselves but anytime we are around another person we naturally turn into who we want them to believe we are or who we think they would most accept.
And it’s not even that bad most of the time. We don’t want to spill our darkest secrets to a mere acquaintance so we just chit chat and to them we always be without depth. The us they create is only the smallest part. Thats okay, we only let them into that part.
Those who know us intimately, we share everything with, well they have a different take on us altogether. They know our flaws and imperfections and if they love us they will love us in spite of them, but they will know them and define us by them.
For me it has always been a strange balancing act. Since I have moved a lot throughout the years I have had many opportunities to define myself. And I’ve noticed how my need to define myself has changed through the years.
When I was young I needed to be accepted, so I fit in the best way I knew how. Then in the teen years it was all about being in but outside. It was a strange time. In my twenties I wanted to be completely and independently me. No one could define me, I refused. In itself it created strange definitions.
I know it’s hard not to check the boxes. When we first meet someone, there is a series of questions we must get through before we can move on. Job, check. Husband, check. Two kids, check. Hobbies, check.
What happens after the checklist, that depends on who we want to be. It’s true. Every new person is a blank page that fills in their own version of you.
So where does that leave me now? Now I’m happy to just be the me people know. I am able to accept that the definition is on the outside. I don’t get to define myself. Other people will always be doing that for me. Being able to accept that is the only way to truly be myself.