"Ever since I've had alopecia, my parents and my family have been the people to make the big/major decisions for me. I can't rely on that and for this past year I've been trying to do it on my own. They're scared. I'm scared, but I need to move forward by myself...It's hard to be the person I 'want' or' hope' to be when I know I shouldn't wish for that constantly. But Na's right - soon I will be on my own, making decisions for myself and figuring out who I am. It's up to me to stop letting other people define me...I don't want to wake up in 10 years and regret the choices I have made (and will be making) in this period of my life...I know I have made a lot of bad/not-so-good choices in my life, but that doesn't mean I have to let those things define or change me or cause me to dwell. I am who I am today even due to those bad choices." (Mar. 16, 2007)
Question: Can people ever truly be convinced they've "found" themselves? Life - or rather, living - is an ongoing process and I would like to think (and hope) that we gain something new out of it every single day, whether it's something good or something bad.
I was a different person three years ago. You were different too. We were even different just three months ago. It's cliché to say it, but it's true: Most people don't end up where they thought they'd be and nobody remains the same in one lifetime. Reading old journals is always interesting because it's strange to see how certain I once was about things in my life. Who knows, maybe I'm still the same in that aspect; maybe I haven't changed or grown out of that yet. I was convinced I knew exactly who I was when I left Loretto but I'm even more convinced right now that I have no clue who I am.
So how does one "find herself," and does it all even really matter? We spend so much time "searching" for bits and pieces of our lives, something to give us an identity and a purpose. We create personas for ourselves based on what we want others to see. Our favorite movies say something about our sense of humour or our penchant for drama; our favorite bands hint at our general moods and tempers. Whether the reading lists we rattle off are filled with Fitzgerald and Hemingway or chick lit can instantly tell the person across from us everything they need to know: you're either a hipster or a Carrie Bradshaw-wannabe. Even our appearances, from our t-shirts to our shoes, brand us with a dreadful stereotype.
|A row of lockers at Loretto|
(photo by yours truly)
Those are the facts, but what do they really say? It's a fairly typical description. Here I am now in 2010 in a place I call "home," just having unpacked those boxes once again into a new apartment. No more uniforms, yet I still have it packed away in a drawer. Am I still as involved? Probably not. Obsessed with GPA? See previous post. I've lost "best" friends and gained some too. Nothing lasts "forever"? You bet.
And yet...that's alright. More and more recently I've come to realize and accept that transience isn't so bad. Things don't last forever for a reason. We can figure out parts of our identity and slowly piece them together. We can be inspired by the people in our lives, be motivated by affliction and let ourselves become broken by emotion. I think that's how we start to really "find" ourselves, and that's something that doesn't happen until you separate yourself from the identity you think you've created for yourself.
"Have I really changed that much? Or is it the world that's swept me forward?...I don't need my old journals to tell me some of the more obvious things, but it surprises me by what I find sometimes. Did I really think those things? Did I really say those things?...These days are different and I don't know whether to be excited, scared, nervous, or sad. All of those old memories seem like light years away. That was before I had to worry about being on my own, dealing with finances on my own...just being on my own in general...I changed a lot throughout high school. I think everybody does. And soon it'll be college for me--Will I change a lot too?" (Aug. 28, 2007)