Do you ever look at someone and wonder, How are they so themselves?
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This is something I’ve struggled with for as long as I can remember. Back in second grade I remember rebelling against the universal love of the Spice Girls because everyone liked them. Even though I would secretly jam out at home and, admittedly, had a shirt of theirs, I still claimed that they were ‘overrated.’
I think I did this because I wanted to be different. I wanted to feel like an individual. I wanted to be the rainbow fish in a sea of matte swimmers (before he gave his scales away).
Finding my identity turned out to be a weathered path, not dissimilar to finding a matching pair of socks. No matter how hard I looked, I could never find the exact right match, and my pair was always off-kilter.
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So here are some of the weirdest things I tried in pursuit of the organic Me:
Getting a Bad Perm
This would be a decision I would regret immediately. I was in elementary school and my hair was not quite straight and not quite curly. One thing was certain, it was thick as hell. I remember begging my mom to get it thinned out (where I gleaned the knowledge of ‘hair thinning’ from I’ll never know). So I got a perm instead. And my thick as hell hair became thicker. As soon as I stepped out of the salon I tied it back in an as-slicked-as-possible ponytail and went to basketball practice where everyone awed over my avant garde bird’s nest.
Wearing My Dad’s Shirts
In fifth grade I decided to make a statement. I wore one of my dad’s shirts to school. It was obviously huge on me. I’ll never forget it was baby blue with navy pin stripes, a collar, and three buttons trailing down the chest. I was the talk of the school and whether it was positive or negative, my philosophy was that ‘no press is bad press.’
But the weirder part is that the next day I felt obligated to wear another one of my dad’s shirts. That if I didn’t, it would be like a surrender, or an admittance of embarrassment. This would turn out to be another wrong move.
Kissing My Best Friend’s Enemy
When I was in high school, I was journeying through the process of ‘coming out.’ I came out as bisexual but had only had boyfriends and was naturally curious. Not a whole lot of my classmates were out in high school so finding someone to share that experience with was, well, limited.
I ended up kissing my best friend’s enemy because she was on my side. It was a selfish move to say the least but my best friend of then is still my best friend today so I don’t think I messed up things too much. Still don’t condone this choice though!
Accidentally Deliberately Dying my Hair Black
I’ve maintained up until this very moment that I accidentally dyed my hair black. I bought a bottle of deep brown at Rite Aid and, when applying it, left it in longer–much longer–than I was supposed to. When I rinsed the chemicals from my head, my hair was jet black. I was going through what one might refer to as an ‘emo stage’ and thought my light brown hair didn’t do justice to the look. Hair is a big part of self-expression, I just wish someone told me to wash mine more often.
Changing the Spelling of My Name
The summer before college I decided to start spelling my name with an -ie at the end rather than an -ea. I can’t really explain why I did it other than to say I’ve never liked my name and, for some weird reason, I thought I liked the sound of it better just knowing it ended with a cute, flirty -ie.
I know that sounds crazy but bear with me: Do you agree that the word ‘coal’ sounds different to you than the name ‘Cole’? Maybe it’s just me.
So I changed the spelling on Facebook after making an announcement to my friends I would be doing so, and I still haven’t lived it down (and probably never will). A couple people from college still spell it -ie despite the lie only lasting a couple of months.
I’ve left most of these weird moves behind me. While I’m still trying to figure out the person I want to be and the way I want to express that person, I’m no longer making strange, strained attempts at being someone I’m not.
Never say never, though. I’ll keep you all posted!
For more embarrassing confessions, check out this article on memories that shaped the future HERE