Everything You're Not

Why giving people false identities just isn't healthy.

Written by Priscila 
Illustrated by Christian

In my early teens, I often found myself falling for and building friendships with people who weren't particularly good for my health. It is one thing to find someone intriguing and want to learn more about who they are and what they are like, but it's a completely different thing to find something appealing and try to sculpt them to your liking, as if they were some sort of alluring package of Play-Doh.

With admiration and love comes a selfless and honorable task: making sure you admire/love someone for who they really are, not who you have envisioned them to be. When you mold someone's path and personality for them, you are not allowing yourself to experience your life with them. You can only spend so much time dreaming up your perfect fit, before you come to terms with the fact that the person in front of you may not be who you dreamed them up to be.

So why do we try and change people we find attractive, charismatic, etc. etc. into our favorite movie characters, our fantasy partner, our best friends? At times, it's easier to push everything aside and have everything go your way: as human beings, we have a strong desire to be in control of everything that enters and exits our lives, even at the expense of our own comfort and happiness.
The thing is, that in the grand scheme of things, your happiness is worth more weight in gold than any one person who looks like a supermodel, or your teacher who makes you swoon with every lecture you're not actually listening to. (Okay, I suppose that is more of a me thing.)

Forcing myself to believe that my partner during my junior year of high school's derogatory slurs and blatant desire to be physically dominant was just a "downside" to the perfect person he was, the perfect person he could BECOME, as long as I toughed out the little "bumps in the road" and fixed myself on visions of ultimate happiness and wholeness, only lead to disappointment and grieving over the death of a "hidden personality"; one that had never really surfaced at all throughout the length of the entire relationship, at least the last time I had checked.

Adolescence is a complex and hazy time to form relationships in, because a lot of the time, we are seeking cement that can fill the cracks and gaps in our life that were left by incidents of loss or a sense of not belonging. And sometimes we come across a temporary binding for such strong defects and missing pieces in our lives, and attempt to turn it into a permanent solution for things that need to be solved with so much more than the presence of a person in our lives.

Now, I am not saying you are not free to love, and that you should not date, or make new friends, or get closer to the ones you already have. Such is youth. However, do not paint someone's story, someone's personality, someone's path, with your own brush. We are all free to decide for ourselves, the owners of our own personalities and beliefs. The truth is, we cannot force someone to be the person we are daydreaming about, the people we write about, the boy we saw on the subway and wrote a short story about. We do have the privilege, though, of finding someone we adore inside and out, at the right time, in the right place.

Something we see a lot of in films and books such as 500 Days of Summer or The Great Gatsby is a seemingly endless longing for something that isn't as glamorous or amplified to us as it seems to the character who longs for it. However, knowing the frustration we feel watching somebody hopelessly lust after someone that isn't right for them, why do we continue to imitate such art in our daily lives? While I cannot give you the "right answer", or say that I am telling you the truth, my philosophy lies in the ideal that we want to live our lives vicariously through the people we think will make our lives beautiful and important. Coming to realize this does not justify it, nor should it be romanticized. Rather, it creates the reminder that you, as an individual, can do substantial and amazing things all on your own, without the requirement of having someone else present in order to feel memorable or occupied. One of the most beautiful parts of your life will be constantly evolving into the strongest lead character you can be, all on your own, without help from the supporting roles. •