I used to get so stuck on this question, people would come into my life and I would start to emulate them. At times I it was unknown to me that I was even doing but then at other times it was concerted.
Right from the start I was a blank canvas needing splashes of colour, I felt for the most part without personality as if it was stripped from my soul, bare, empty.
Growing up I looked to the adults for guidance and mentorship, I looked to them to know how to act, how to talk and how to be human. What I found though was that their actions didn’t suit me all to well, their personalities didn’t fit mine nor did acting like them feel right.
All the role models in my life were abusers by nature, either of substances or other humans and animals (both human and four legged). These adults held little respect for each other and it showed. I knew all along that that was one of the things that was intrinsically wrong, it was something that I couldn’t emulate or take on as a personality trait for I was opposite. That was the first thing that I knew about myself, who I was.
As I grew up I collected a range of people from which I learnt certain traits, how to act under certain situations. The years past and I became a chameleon of sorts, my accent started to change depending on who I spoke to, my posture, my body language, how I acted, everything would adapt. I became the best actor, my masks were many and people often got confused when they saw me around other groups because they would see the changing of the masks.
It was second nature to me and slowly the splashes of colour I picked up for my soul’s canvas started sticking more permanently although always interchangeable. When I left SA at the age of 21 alone for the UK I stepped onto British soil with all my masks in place all tightly woven together and colourful. I was me, a patchwork quilt of others personality traits and wonders. I was “whole”.
Those masks lasted a few years but as time progressed I slowly built up the confidence to start allowing the true me to emerge and see the light. At first those in my life weren’t to happy about the changes, they thought that I was having a mental breakdown and that I was going mad. Perhaps it is easy to come to that conclusion for as the masks started to fall I started to feel lighter than ever before. I was more independent, more assertive and more creative.
I let myself be, I started to look more and more inward to see who I was, what I really liked and what I really didn’t like. I stopped taking others bullshit as fact and I started to stand up for myself and stopped being a doormat for everyone. See why people didn’t like my masks falling? What seemed like “overnight” I stopped just accepting everything and started questioning everything.
Awakening not insanity
Growth not mental instability
A butterfly emerging from a cocoon with true real pure colours no longer a worm picking up scraps off the floor.
Who am I?
It took a long journey of self discovery, it took many nights sleepless and covered in tears, pills in the hand, empty discarded bottles of alcohol, 20 hour painting sessions, ink covered fingers from writing books on my emotions, my likes my dislikes.
A long journey but worth every second.
Who am I now?
I am me in my entirety. I still emulate accents, when I talk to you I will often sound like you, use similar grammar and speech patterns. My true accent is not South African and confuses most people to the point that they can not pinpoint my country of origin, I have been American, British, Australian, Canadian, Irish, Scottish and a New Zealander. Yip it’s that bad.
I am a kind and compassionate soul who can cry just seeing a street kid begging on the side of the street. I have no shame in taking off my socks and giving them to someone who needs them, I have lost many pairs of shoes for this same reason, coats, clothes, anything and everything. I can’t stand seeing someone suffering no matter what age.
I am empathetic, open and loving. I will hug anyone that needs a hug even when they don’t think they do so be warned. I am not ashamed of this trait either. This is who I am.
I am easy to talk to and people find it easy to tell me their life stories because I am the keeper of secrets and hold trust dear. I have had absolute strangers come up to me in pubs, clubs or on the street and have heard their life stories, their trials and tribulations. They become fast friends and call me their sister with ease. This is who I am.
I am a learner, I learn everything and anything I can though never from a book. I am useless learning from a book, seriously. I can absorb information at an incredible rate, understand it and translate it to real life but don’t put me at a desk and I will fail beyond reason. I am hands on and practical.
I am an artist, give me a paint brush and a few paints, an empty canvas and I can spend days without sleep, food and even bathroom breaks. I get absorbed by art and feel true freedom through it. Give me a camera and I am just as bad, I have been known to take hundreds upon hundreds of photos in a short space of time.
I can be full of shit as well, if I see something I don’t like or an action I feel is immoral or wrong I am known to stand my ground. Don’t raise your voice unnecessarily or worse yet, don’t raise a hand and you will see me change from the docile peace loving SF to a lion protecting her cubs. Split seconds and it gets scary. I have no fear in losing friends through this either because if you can’t treat another with respect or decency then there is no place in my life for you. Whether this is wrong or not it just is.
I am a hard worker and will do anything for anyone even if it means I don’t sleep for days in order to help you either through a difficult time in your life or another problem. Helping others makes me happy through doing what I love to do. My soul gets touched by the sunshine on another’s lips, a hearty laugh and a twinkle in the eye. If I make just one person smile in a day it is made.
I have a sense of humour that can make a person cry big tears in agony as they grip their stomachs. This is not an ego thing but merely who I am, I love making others laugh and am known to do duck walks in streets for sad kids, pull faces to random sad people and talk with sharp wit that gets people off guard.
This is who I am and I am not ashamed of any of it, I have both good and bad traits, I am happy with every single one of them. The bad ones I work on to make myself a better human but then it is for me and only me, I do not emulate others personalities in order to form my own anymore. There is no point because I like who I really am.
I love being unique, being who I am and if others don’t like it then they aren’t worth my time, plain and simple.
In my mind no and in reality that is all that counts is it not?
I am me and I am growing.