Posted by: birdmaddgirl | 25 May 2010

Shadow on the Sundial

defining the self. it’s scary and hard to do.

i’ve always been someone who has an easy time not defining myself by my job. i can also keep from identifying as my interests without much fuss. i have a bit more difficulty seeing past cultural and social influences and the effects of my experiences, but i understand in principle how that works (even if i can only apply it unevenly). this serves me well. i tend to get over disappointments fairly quickly, partly because i can see that they are not essentially me. they are something other than me that will pass.

but, oh, the people in my life are a whole other matter. most especially my friends, because there’s more choice than with family. when i am exceptionally close to someone, i am fiercely affectionate and unabashedly enthusiastic. every close friend i have ever had, regardless of gender, i have been asked if we are dating. there’s a small number of people in life who have the potential to be lifelong companions. i want those few amazing souls to know how much i value them, and that’s how it manifests for me.

i end up identifying myself largely by who is in my life. if you ask me what i’ve been up to, chances are you will hear lots of stories involving one or two people. i see myself as an extension of those relationships, of what i expect to endure. dangerous territory: expectation, endurance. these things, too, pass. friendships pass. and with them, passes a version of my self, and – much as i hate to admit it – a fair chunk of my sense of self worth. to fail a friend is, to me, to fail at everything. it’s something i have yet to figure out how to cope with.

and so, big scary difficult life lessons happen. and maybe one day i’ll learn to give and take without selfishness, without worrying about the self.

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