I just bombarded my mother with a gigantic rant, and I was reminded of a chain of thought that I have been processing for a while on and off.
I am Maria.
I am Mimi to my grandma.
I am M-Nelson to Aaron and those online.
I am "the freaky genius" to a lot of people at school.
I am a sandwich artist to the hungry.
But I'm not simply named these.
I am these.
But I am not.
But I am.
I am all and none.
I am a paradox.
I morph into what my surroundings think I am. I am a conformist at heart. We all are, it's inevitable. Who determines our personality? Not solely ourselves, I can tell you that much.
I have recently noticed a dramatic change in a friend who has been losing touch with the close circle in which we both were a part and instead finding another with which he fits better, apparently. It's not that they influence him negatively, it's that he has become a different person, fundamentally, now that he associates with them, than the person that I used to know and love. It amazes me how much I don't even know him anymore. I don't feel replaced; I don't feel abandoned; and I don't miss my friend because my friend no longer exists. It sounds conceited to say that someone needs me to be the person that I know, but it's true. I have no idea how others act when they're not around me. It's physically impossible. He is no longer who he is.
But we can observe the phenomenon from the outside, and, if we're strong enough, we can observe it in ourselves. Not that we can stop it, but we can recognize it.
The thing that annoys me most about my family is that they treat me like I'm ten years old, namely my dad. It's a cliché problem in our American households. We see it all the time in the movies:
Dad: "What! Are you throwing away your dream?"
Kid: "No, dad, I'm throwing away yours."
-A Cinderella Story
But it's true. It really is. It's embarrassing, and it's truly just disappointing. Is it not every parent's dream to raise a child who will grow up to be something great, to be an individual who will contribute to society on his own? But my dad does not allow me to be who I consider myself to be. I am not who I am.
As an outside observer, I have watched innumerable people undergo this phenomenon. My sister is really just not the same person when she is around my family as compared to when she is around my family plus a friend. She is weirder and she is more immature and she is not Patty. Of course, she is Patty to her friend and she is Patty to herself, but at that moment, to me, Patty is not Patty.
I think to find friendship means to find someone with whom I like who I am. I don't associate with people with whom I am someone I don't want to be, someone I don't think I am, fundamentally.
I think we consider ourselves to be a single person, or at least similar when amongst everyone, because we gravitate toward those who make it so. I fraternize with those who would describe me similarly, though the circles of people themselves differ dramatically, and therefore, I am similar amongst everyone. I become those similarities. They are me.