Post- Magazine

the fluidity of becoming myself [lifestyle]

getting to grow with one another

Now that I'm in college, where it feels as if I meet new people in waves throughout the day, I worry I'm not choosing who I can be, but instead matching the personalities of others. It can be exciting to navigate the journey of being your most authentic and genuine self, but occasionally I stray into a different persona that matches the current language and composure of whomever I’m talking to. Sometimes, I do this to the point where I almost don’t recognize myself at all. 

In the most broad sense, it feels like conforming yourself as you would for an interview. As someone just beginning to grow into their own—concentrating in what I’d like, experimenting with pink tights and flowy skirts, and becoming friends with people who make me endlessly double over laughing—it’s jolting and quite disorienting to be told to practice a script, plaster on a smile, and act as if this marketing internship in Ohio is predestined. 

I put on my lightest face of makeup in the morning before my first interview, silently practicing my starting lines so my roommate doesn’t wake, desperately willing my hands to stop perspiring as if someone is chasing me. Deep down, this act of being tested blurs the vision of my own identity. Do I really like this area of study or is it the most convenient? Am I actually a college sellout? 

So, when I step into the office, offer them my resume with my softest yet most assertive smile, and answer their interview questions perfectly (I spot a smile emerging from the corners of their mouths), I feel satisfaction, but also overwhelming unease. Is this what the rest of my life will become? A facade in the real world where all I really feel is a lack of belonging? 


But then again, what do I know? For now, I know how I fit in the outside world: I am meant to be soft and understanding, but forward when I feel like my opinions aren’t heard; I am to be hardworking and detail-oriented to the dot, but also to let other people help me in times of need; I am to be lovingkindmysteriousinnovativetallbeautifulfit so all of the corporations and friends will love me and I will love them back.

I’ve spent endless nights wondering how someone would really get to know me to the point of affection, desire, and maybe even love. The only romantic trope that would ever work for me is friends to lovers. Coming to college, with a sea of new people to meet and smile at and flirt with, none have gone farther than a few dates or a few dimly lit nights in my room. I’ve never felt enough chemistry, or I’ve felt consumed with too many nerves to be able to hold a nice conversation. Most times, our ideal relationships haven’t aligned. 

I found myself (and others) trying to conform to what the other person wants, and because of this, my feelings have gotten hurt, more than once, to the point where I have deemed myself unlovable or not lovable enough to be worthy of a steady relationship. 

But life, to my dismay, is the most unpredictable, turbulent, and startingly joyous journey to be a part of. So, when I realized that my best friend had feelings for me and I shared them too, so many pieces of my self-love and self-worth made sense. I realized that even if I wanted to pretend to be someone I wasn’t, I couldn’t anymore. I had revealed too much of my true self—with my over-the-top jokes and acting like a child when begging to go on a coffee run—to go back and correct it. I found someone who not only likes me for all of my jokes and flaws, but whom I feel incredibly comfortable with, drastically different from my previous relationships.

The peace I feel with her now shouldn’t be so jarring, because when I lie with her—whether doing homework late at night, falling asleep at 9 p.m., or watching her wake up in the morning after insisting she wasn’t tired—I know that whenever I have felt lost, she had been waiting and learning about me. Not because she had to, but because she wanted to. 

Even now, months later, I find myself shy around her, looking away whenever she gives me a heartfelt compliment or goes out of the way for an act of service, knowing it’s my favorite love language to receive. It makes my toes curl, my nose scrunch, and my cheeks turn red. She’s patient with me when I’m not sure what to say, always waiting for me to speak instead of talking over me. She’s good at letting me reveal more about myself—the hidden pieces I hadn’t dared to share with anyone else up until now with her. She makes me so indescribably upbeat and peaceful, and for that, I must thank her. With her, there is no conforming, only growing, learning to be more comfortable, confident, and strong enough to embrace myself without fail.

As I continue to grow, falling over at times but getting back up with a laugh, I’m learning to be my authentic self from the start—without the buildup of having to peel away layer by layer, month after month, to finally reveal who I am to people. But knowing myself and the speed at which I let people really get to know me, I remind myself to be happy with how far I’ve come and give myself some grace. I know that those who care for me will love me regardless, and slowly but surely, those uncanny parts of me I hold so close will be let go, and into their embrace. 

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