I firmly believe that no person can truly be summarized in one list; we're a kaleidoscope of eclipsing identities. Each situation highlights a different aspect of who we are. (Which is what led me to writing this reflection as an article.)
I've never understood those "Must Haves In My Future S.O." lists. Do you know the ones I'm talking about?
It doesn't make sense to me. People might check all the boxes, but you are forgetting everything else they bring with them. Someone who is kind and smart and funny might also bring an addiction. Someone who is studying to be a doctor and speaks three languages might have been in a toxic relationship before yours. Someone who might seem perfect, probably has a lot of scars.
I feel like those lists attempt to make what is complex simple. But the reason love and companionship are so attractive and desirable is because they are complex. There is no way to simplify a person to a list nor a way to turn a list into a person.
At least, that's my opinion.
But sometimes I catch myself wondering if my future S.O. has a list like that. I wonder if he wrote down "green eyes and curly hair" or "goofy sense of humor" or "struggled with body image issues in middle school." Two of those sound more likely than the other to be in a list, but they're all accurate. If you look at me as a person, I think I'm a fairly good person, or at least I try to be. But if you look at me as a list, I'm a mess.
Who I Am is too complex to be simplified to a list or a word or an essay. Who I Am is the result of the perfect collision of environments and people to form an individual who is resilient, ambitious, funny, anxious, opinionated, and incredibly stubborn. I am a mess of past memories and future ambitions.
I am a person who has changed her dream job more times than I can count. I am a person who has a habit of picking at my cuticles when I get nervous. I am a person who loves to write, but isn't always sure what to say. I am a person who depends on other people like a bird depends on the wind.
Who I Am is a very complex concept. My identity is not a straightforward sentence. It is a string of questions with no answer. It is the acknowledgment I know who I was, but not who I will be.
Life is a bumpy, rocky road. A road littered with potholes and detours. A road you think will take you to a mountaintop, but first it will take you through the valleys. A road that will be missing streetlights when you most need them.
Who I Am is a result of every step I've taken on that road and who has walked alongside me. Who I Am has no true answer--I exist in each person's mind in a different version. What my best friend thinks of me is different than how my teachers think of me is different than how my ex-boyfriend thinks of me. But each relationship I've had has cultivated a different flower in the fields of my heart. Whether they failed to flower or grew taller than my ego doesn't matter.
Who I Am is a question mark, an unfinished remark. And I am quite okay with that. I'm okay with looking in the mirror and seeing the marks on my shoulder from carrying my past. I'm okay with accepting that I will not always be so okay with not knowing the future. I'm okay with still building Who I Am.
There's no real lesson here. Except maybe to try and accept what cannot be known.
and don't be afraid to talk about this stuff.