Defining Me

6 June 2019

When I was little, it perplexed me, even frightened me, that I could never see my own face. I thought, What if mirrors and photographs are only illusions? Though I have learned to trust the generally accepted laws of science, there has always been that inkling in the back of my mind that I may never know who I really am.

If there were a dictionary that defined every person I know, it would be a book as tall as each person standing on top of the other, with the topmost person holding a kite made up of all the ribbons in the world tied together. I often muse about how much people have in common. We all need food, love, and humor once in a while. I’m no exception. But there is something that distinguishes me; I can tell by the way people treat me.

My attitude is generally calm. When a rumpus of shouting and stomping because of petty drama and boundless energy overcomes my classmates, I usually relax on the side and go swimming in my thoughts. But I do socialize, making cracks and dancing for the reward of a smile or a laugh. I’ve been called weird by almost everyone, but I’ve learned that it is a compliment. I lend my ears to friends, offering advice or sympathy in times of trouble, and in return they listen to my rants about life’s confusion. I highly value kindness, as long as it is sincere; it can brighten someone’s day. The way I interact with others certainly offers part of a definition of who I am.

But there’s a whole different life in my head. It’s like Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, except it will never be fully exposed to the public. It’s a side that no one will ever see clearly, because my mouth doesn’t adequately communicate the strange thoughts in my head. I voice them to my friends all the time: “Have you ever imagined the world as a jellyfish?” But I know that they’ll never understand what I mean. They’ll only understand what they think I mean, because their mind is in a different galaxy. My thoughts and memories are true vampires – they just aren’t the same in the light.

So who am I? Who knows better – those who can actually see my face and shake hands with me, or me, the one who has inside access to my mind? The truth is, I could probably skip college, never get married, and spend the rest of my life in an empty room with no distractions and still not have enough time to figure it out.

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