Who are we?
Based on all of the experiences and relationships we each have had and have, I believe that while we are all unique, we are puttied together by all of the people who surround us. This brings up two ideas I have often thought about: mimicry and disguise.
When I was in grade school, I had a friend who copied a lot of the things I said, wore, and did. I would get so frustrated and end up talking to people about how she didn't have a mind of her own. Then one day, as I complained directly to the girl at her own house, her mom said to me, "Jennifer, you should take it as a compliment. She copies you because she likes what you do."
As a second-grader I didn't initially have this positive outlook, so she was able to change my perspective for a bit. But I was still annoyed.
I've always marveled at the sight of a group of girls at school or the mall who are dressed the same way and essentially look the same to me. I imagined them as brainless clones who were anything but individual. But when people act and dress alike, there is a sense of belonging and togetherness. Sometimes,it's not that they can't think for themselves, but that they share something and thus, "mimic" each other. I don't know that I will be completely accepting of girls who wear matching outfits to the mall, but I hope the synchronization is due to something other than a Queen Bee giving directives.
Next on my plate: disguise. As we are a product of our surroundings, it is hard to not try and camoflauge into them sometimes. I find myself accommodating to meet the needs and interest of other people, almost subconsciously. But when I change the way I act because of the person I am with, am I losing pieces of myself?
Recently, I had dinner with a friend who has certain rules she lives by and I caught myself trying to live by them too, but only for the moments that we were together. I arrived to the café earlier than she did, but I didn’t want to order my dinner yet, so I figured I would start with a drink. As I was already highly-caffeinated from the workday, I voted against coffee. The obvious choice then was beer. I thought to myself, “Does she still drink beer? What will she think of me? Will she think I’m unhealthy?” Then, instead of doing what I might have in the past (ordered water or tea instead based on the idea she would judge me), I decided to go for the beer. To heck with it, I thought.
Then my friend showed up and saw that I had a yummy beer and said she too wanted a yummy beer. And there went all of my preconceived notions and anxieties. She was going to drink beer too. So then I felt glad that I didn’t sell myself short and try to impress her with water and hydration. But it was still in the back of my head that I even thought about it.
Have you ever done something or not done something because of the person and circumstance you were in? Do you think this is selling yourself short?
Part of me thinks yes, under every circumstance you should be yourself. Part of me thinks you can let certain parts of you show and let certain parts of you rest depending on the situation. Then I wonder, who am I? Maybe the part of me that filters my behavior and speech for specific situations is part of who I am. Or maybe it’s a front.
I'm curious to know other people's thoughts on this--they can have a hand in puttying me together.
Another thing about me is that it pleases me to please other people.