Seeing as Halloween’s all about disguising yourself as someone else, I’ve been thinking a lot about the way we try to be different things to different people. I’ve found myself at separate times trying to be a friend, daughter, sister, mother, confidant, girlfriend, employee, co-worker, supervisor, mentor, advisor, teacher, student, and benefactor.
How can we be so many different things to so many people without losing sight of who we really are? And when and with whom, exactly, do we just get to be ourselves?
We like to characterize the people in our lives. I think we just feel safer interacting with someone, if we know what to label them. It’s like we put people in little glass boxes we can break open whenever there’s a need for that type of person in our lives.
Have you ever known someone who was totally unpredictable to the point where you found them unreliable? Where you just couldn’t find the right label for their glass box? For a while they’re your crazy friend or weird uncle, but eventually, you phase them out. It’s not wrong. It’s human nature. Who wants chaos in their life? They’re just no longer a person you choose to spend time with. Well, I never wanted to be the person that got phased out. So, I put on the masks, fill the roles, and wear the labels.
I think on some level I’ve always believed that as long as I had a role in someone’s life, I had a place in it. It’s like I have this fear that if someone doesn’t need me, they won’t want me either. Am I the only one who feels that way?
Everyday, I put on my makeup, so I look pretty. And I don’t take that slice of pie, so I can fit into my costume. I sometimes smile when I’m sad. I put on a brave face when I’m scared. I am who I think people want me to be.
As someone who always thought I knew who I was, I’m suddenly asking myself the question: “What if all I am is only the sum of all the parts I play for others?”