To be completely honest with myself, my own personal identity resembles a jar full of silly putty. It is constantly being altered depending on the hands it is ultimately placed in; as opposed to being both consistent and predictable, it is instead something that can be easily molded within an instant. In a way, this is what I prefer. If my personal identity instead resembles a concrete cement block, one that remains unchanging despite the various people and experiences I continually encounter during my life, how will I ultimately grow as an individual? Every single situation that is forcibly shoved in my face- whether that experience be positive or negative- ultimately aids in my personal growth, encouraging me not to be trapped in a stationary state of mind.
Some scholarly philosophers state we resemble dry erase boards, claiming that when we wake up, everything is wiped clean, including the person we previously were. I feel as if we are not dry erase boards, but merely white boards that are continually being written on in permanent marker. The minute we open our eyes and sit up in bed, we are not starting fresh, but rather given the opportunity to add on to who we are in a collective manner. All the various events, situations, and individuals who have been introduced into my own life at one point or another compose the differing scribbles of ink on my personal whiteboard that played a role in shaping who I am. Who am I? Who is anyone? I feel as if individuals are constantly looked at in a scrutinizing manner and told that “they’ve changed.” Since when has the metamorphosis of a human being been assigned a negative connotation? Changing due to what you’ve been through is merely evidence validating that you’ve truly lived. And have you really completely changed? Maybe you’ve merely transformed; the basis of who you are, the foundation of your soul, can still be found hidden beneath the additional qualities you’ve acquired over time.
And anyway, what leads to these “changes” in the first place? Or rather, who leads to them? Personally, I morphed into an altered version of my previous self late last summer when Jhahon Massey boisterously strutted into my life; it was he who took my identity within his own two hands and pulled it apart as if it were nothing more than playdoh, significantly impacting who I was and who I was about to become. Jhahon Massey’s dominating presence exerted an evident control over me as an individual; he was inexplicably and undeniably my foil. He was the person I enviously gazed upon from afar, possessing all the characteristics I was obviously lacking. He was my contrast. While I was rather calm, collected, and timid, Jhahon was a fiery ball of unpredictability; he would enter a room both loud and boisterous, tossing a basketball back and forth in his hands as he hyperly paced around the perimeter. Jhahon played a big role in who I have gradually become; he effortlessly taught me that you can’t take everything in life so seriously, he taught me the importance of courageously trying new things, and he taught me that you’re life should be brimming full of nothing but laughter and love.
Suppose you don’t want to change. Suppose you want to remain stagnant and unchanging throughout the entirety of your life, without being completely affected by people or places or things. Suppose you desire to wake up, day after day,with a clean slate like some philosophers allude to, completely unimpacted by the monumental decisions you made the previous night. Here’s my take on that. Every individual event in my life that I have endured over the years- whether that event be attaining an A on a Pre-Calc test or getting into a car accident- have aided in my general metamorphosis into a better human being. I have accepted my past- the good, the bad, and the ugly- while simultaneously accepting my future. I have gradually learned that instead of obsessively attempting to erase who I used to be from my own whiteboard, I should just learn to accept it. Sure, there are some parts about myself from the past that I don’t like. But I don’t want those parts to suddenly be obliterated in the vast array of empty space… I want to embrace them. Because they have aided in my general development. It is not necessary for me to delete those parts of myself, the parts that have played a role in shaping my overall identity, but instead I can simply add on to them, filling my personal whiteboard with more of who I am.