I often move through my life feeling as though I have no walls – no resistance to the personalities and pop culture surrounding me.
For years I absorbed the opinions and styles of everything and everything else so much so that I had trouble getting a handle on who I was underneath it all. My opinions and reactions were just a collection of easily identified demographic influences – everything to do with what I consumed or the image that others projected on me, and very little to do with me.
I often manifested this uncertainty of self by acting out – needing to grow out my hair, or to wear flashy clothes and makeup, or to be the loudest most-opinionated person in a room. I still like doing all three of those things from time to time, but now I see that – taken as a whole – they were just my way of trying to create a tangible, distinguishable identity. No one could ignore or forget the long-haired boy in body glitter and black vinyl arguing with you at the top of his lungs.
My outgrowth of that phase might be why explain why I have given up radio and television altogether. People often express shock and horror at the fact that I don’t watch television at all; it’s as if they cannot comprehend even the idea of it. Too many people define themselves by the television show they spend the most time watching, and as a minor-league obsessive-compulsive and a major-league fan I was primary amongst that demographic.
After over two years of media deprivation and gainful employment I feel like I have a better handle on “me” than ever. I’ve found enough of my own opinions, tastes, and stories that I no longer need them to be sublimated by the tightly written copy of others.
However, aside from locking myself in my room I still haven’t found a way to resist the influence of people, and how they make me feel so fuzzy around the edges as their traits osmose into me. I pick up other people’s handwriting as if I am made of silly putty, the curves and splines of my letters easily influenced. My manner and style of speech is just is easily swayed.
I like blogging because it is a way of taking back me. I’ve always been the most comfortable with the written word, and keeping a written archive of my experiences and feelings allows me to re-experience – re-absorb – the aspects of me that matter the most. It makes it easier to get back in character because it represents the most crystalline, most consistent version of me.
I might not ever have a defense against the barrage of media and opinions that greets me each day as I set foot on my front step, but I now also have something much more indelible at my center. And that’s a good feeling.