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After a friend's graduation in May, I went to a bar where I ran into an old friend. We chatted about podcasts and identity. He said his family is in town, and it's freaking him out because who he is with his family isn't who he is with his friends. "Who are you alone?" I asked. He grinned and shrugged, I responded the same, while mentally thinking, Shit, who am I alone?
I have a theory that relationships happen when you're not looking for a relationship. Not on the hunt to impress anyone or match interests with the human sitting next to you, your guard comes down. The moat around the glass castle of your heart dries up, the bow-and-arrow men at the ready go inside for a drink, the gate comes down, and out blasts "All My Friends" while you dance in socks with your eyes closed and arms flailing.
An issue that I face is that I have a responsive type of personality. My mood, actions, and responses mirror that of someone I'm not too familiar with.
Are you a heady human being who talks about identity, recent books you've read, upcoming travels, creative outlets, and enjoys flirting for the sake of a good time? Me too, all the time.
Oh, you're a twenty something girl who just wants to drink and dance and eat at brunch places you can't afford? WOW, same here!! We're, like, best friends!
You like to hike, rock climb, meditate, listen to podcasts, discovering bands, and you walk around to clear your head? I do all of that and fit in a yoga sesh by 11 am.
While I enjoy all of those things, I hone in on a "type" and cater to the person in front of me.
Maybe now is a good time to explore who I am when it's just me and my dog. Here it goes:
I don't feel like my name matches my identity. Sometimes, at coffee shops, I say my name is Amber. I've never done that, but I've thought about it enough. I want to camp more, specifically around big trees. I love my family but sometimes they are too loud and I wish I had a hearing aid that I could turn off. I enjoy going to museums and galleries but often find myself more interested in the people looking at the art, or the artist's intention and mental space while making the art, than the art itself. I talk to strangers often, and somehow get them to tell me their life story. I wish I were more tenacious in my career / love life. I'm a notorious two-monther, whether it's the way I like my eggs, the genre of music I listen to, romantic crushes, kombucha, or deleting my instagram – I'm trying to get over this trend. Lately I've had an urge to work on a farm in New Zealand, where my hands will get dirty and blistered as sweat runs down into my eyes. I'll be smelly with no makeup and hairy legs, but I'll be happily hard-worked. I take a weird pride in my music taste, sometimes that bugs me. I love dancing, mostly alone but surrounded by people. One of my favorite things to do is search used books that have handwritten inscriptions on the first couple of pages (usually leather bound with a divine smell, a century old, and a "turn to pg 63" type of instruction). I hate how social media sucks me in. I don't really like alcohol. I'm getting over a weird relationship with food. I find an unmeasurable comfort in laying on the floor. I miss an intimacy I never really had, and recently I've had an intense urge to get out my watercolors and paint. It's been four months.
The takeaway is that I'm on a mission to be authentic with my whole self, not just in parts, to those around me. No more picking and choosing. If I feel like playing Santo & Johnny in the car while a Miguel type of guy sits next to me, you betcha "Sleep Walk" is going to be in my queue.