As a child, I watched people. I watched and studied their personas; how during Monday through Fridays from 8-5 they had a certain look, a voice, a style, a color, and an agenda; and after work and on the weekends I watched how they reinvented. I watched how others never varied anything, not one thing about their persona. They wore blue all day long, and at dusk, they wore a darker shade of blue, and then more of the same on the weekends. They responded to every question with the same response, and although I saw something different just behind their eyes, they never took a moment to see themselves.
Then there are the ones who were frenzied in everything, no moment repeated, no pattern found, no single color, only a kaleidoscope, no words, or songs written to their beat. They did not match or conform. They were who they always meant to be, every minute of every day. Of course, there were other variations in between these three types of people, but these frenzied types were measurable, and easily recognized.
At eighteen, I set out to create my persona. It was on my to-do list at sixteen but I had to wait until I was out from under Marshall Law to experiment.
I was READY! I had to be something, to get somewhere, where I wasn't sure, and the what or who I might become was even more of a mystery to me. Still I had a plan. I began my quest for those precious little pieces that would make me whole. My journey took me to places not so far from my door, but it also all saw me travel to places so far I had to take planes, boats, camels, and canoes. In some places, I had to hunker down so I could lay out all my pieces. The journey was shaping my image of my 'persona', but it was also creating conflicts. I had to leave wherever I was because life, my life, wasn't waiting for me, it moved on and I had to pack up to keep up.
I studied my pieces. Too often, I had to rearrange my precious pieces to make them fit into the mold I had selected for myself. It was like putting together a ten thousand-word puzzle. The edges I finished in a snap. It was everything, just everything I wanted to be, and what I wanted others in the world around me to see in me too. I held firmly to my ideal, but the journey became more and more exhausting. The conforming, and moving around was less like a journey, and more like a stint in Changi Prison.
When it came to the middle section of this puzzle of me-my inner core-I struggled. Like the puzzle, some pieces looked a good fit but did not quite fit into place. Others, I jammed and trimmed. Regardless of what I did, no amount of alteration worked. The piece I pounded into place only popped out like a rubber band. I collapsed on my bed and cried until there were no more tears.
I breathed my last breath, this is it I thought, I've failed to find the pieces that will make me–me. I closed my eyes and let sleep take me. My box of pieces fell from my hand, and broke when it met the marble floor. I had no strength to scramble down and put everything back in order.
I woke later forgetting where I was, is this after life I thought. In the moonlight, I saw the box and its contents, and a woman I had never laid eyes on in the moon's reflection. She took my breath.
It was I-the frenzied one, the one I was always meant to be. And, I was beautiful, and complete, with no missing pieces. My pieces were inside me all along.
When I am writing I explore what I know, but also what I observe in others. Although most of the feelings conveyed here are original, the metaphorical road travelled reflects the journey anyone might travel to find themselves.
Did you encounter any surprises on your journey?