[Written by Nina Panter]
[Image by Tosca De Wilt]
Picture this scene; you are in your friend’s car on the way to god knows where, or enjoying some simple pre’s in a flat and music is playing; it’s an old pop song that was on the radio a couple years ago, it’s silly but catchy, and life feels good. As the song ends, your friend turns to you and says; “Next I was thinking we could put on a song you like! What’s your favourite band?”
A simple, mundane question, and you feel your stomach tense up. “Who IS my favourite artist?” you repeat to yourself. The truth is, you have no idea. Heck, what even is your preferred genre of music? At the speed of light your brain goes through what music you’ve been listening to lately; Vivaldi’s four seasons, an obscure album from a metal band your dad liked four years ago, this song you heard in an advertisement for the new iPhone… none of those things fit together at all! This doesn’t make ANY sense. The feeling of not knowing who you are slowly submerses you until there’s nothing left for you to do than mumble your habitual “Oh I don’t care, keep playing your music.” Later when you go home, you are still trying to figure out who your favourite singer is. Or not even just that, but your favourite book, your favourite movie? Too many options, and once again they are all so different from one another that it seems completely random and invented.
“Invented” you repeat. That’s what it all feels like. You throw a glance at the room around you; old vinyl’s, Harry Potter books, a “Kill Bill” poster, a couple of quotes from Plato and Ross from “Friends”, all bathing in the aura of cheap candles failing at creating an ambiance. Apparently, even your style itself does not seem to fit into any specific category. Some days you wish you were a “chill hipster”, the one who always goes to obscure gigs and art exhibits, or you hope you could transform into a model student always so cute and prepared, colour coding their notes and playing violin in their free time, or maybe you even wish you could be more of a dark and mysterious artist who spends their time behind the lens of a camera. Sadly, none of those personas truly fit you. You’re a bit of them all, and a bit of none of them at all. Your personality and tastes don’t seem to piece themselves together like a puzzle; you just seem stuck in the chaos that exists in between them. Do you even know who you are?
The answer is actually “yes” no matter how lost you think yourself to be. Life is not like one of those
cheesy American movies in which every individual is a pure cliché and only acts in a way that reinforce the persona they are meant to embody. Everyone has certain things they enjoy that don’t fit into the personality they wish to present to the world, and that’s okay. After all, who can pretend to be someone else for prolonged periods of times? It might be a fun game to play but it gets tiring very quickly, as finding friends and building social relations is much easier when you are being true to your unique personality. You may think of yourself as a crazy painting colored with the wrong shades of blue, red and green, but soon enough you will start to realize that those colors are yours, and that being all over the place is more interesting than erasing some parts of you in order to be more like the rest.
Embrace those differences and the freedom that arises from being able to navigate in between styles and personalities, enjoying different things and ideas.
[Image Description: A collage featuring a candle, a Harry Potter scarf, a Friends-themed phone case, a vinyl, cup of coffee, DVD of Kill Bill and a book about Plato.]