While scanning radio channels today, I heard "In Da Club" by 50 cent. It's amazing how one song can remind you of complete periods of your life that you otherwise would have forgotten; they recreate sights, sounds, smells, emotions. This song was very popular the summer of 2004 when I spent too much time drinking and not enough time studying.
Until college, being myself consisted of following rules; so when I got a taste of living for myself and not for anyone else, I found I didn't know who I was at all. This resulted in trial and error of different personas. I bought CDs, not because I liked the music, but because people I knew did, and maybe I could learn to like it too. I bought black jeans (not punk ones, but GAP ones). I drank Hefeweizen.
Summer of 2004 was my clubbing girl persona. The girls I lived with liked to club, so I thought I could morph into that too. I'm sure it was quite comical to watch me try to bump and grind like a pro, when anyone who knows me can imagine what a trainwreck that would be. I didn't think, though, of the consequences of being a clubbing girl. Clubbing girls go home with clubbing boys (everyone pairs up at 1:51 am, to be precise). This was not a reality I was prepared to deal with. As a result, there were some awkward moments of driving complete strangers to their homes, only to snub them in the driveway and drive off to the comfort of my bedless room.
It took me years and countless mistakes until somehow, I was doing things because I wanted to. If I enjoyed someone's company, I was their friend. If I thought I would be arrested for merely being in someone's presence, I scooted away. After working at Black Angus, I realized black jeans are not something I would ever wear by choice. Thankfully, someone stole most of those CDs I bought that I never listened to. And I hate Hefeweizen.
So here I am: very sure of what I like and hate, what it means to "be myself." I lost some of my naivety and learned that a person isn't defined by simple epithets, but changes, matures, and develops as a result of different experiences. I could still become a clubbing girl, a punk, or a jock (stranger things have happened). But if no more changes come, and I'm done morphing and I die this way, that's ok too. I'm quite sure I could've made myself into a better person - but who I am today just fits.