To be completely honest, ever since I was a little girl, as small as 7, I was a chameleon soul. My earliest memories were filled with rigorous attempts to rearrange my thoughts, ideas, specifically actions so that I could be like someone else whether it was one of my teachers, schoolmates, or even the random snack-selling lady I came across on the street.
Everywhere I went, I would try to discern the vibes of those around me, and tailor myself fittingly resulting in me having the ability to fit in almost every situation as long as I wished to.
Some would say it’s a good advantage in life- being able to blend in.
It certainly is, but the price was certainly too high, too. In return for the ability to blend in, I lost myself. I lost my original thoughts and ideas. My inspiration was borrowed, thoughts stolen.
You see, you’ve gotta find a balance between being able to blend in, and still keep pieces of yourself intact. I was as far removed from the said balance as one can get.
Until, in highschool, there was this popular girl I was trying very hard to imitate. I would say my imitation process was near completion until it hit me. I thought, “When I succeed, I will be the second her. How about the first me?”
That was when the agonizing, yet somehow exciting process of self-rediscovery started. I had to forge my own opinions on everything all over again. I had to come to terms with a lot of things, some life-defining, such as the fact that I am not so straight, or the trivial ones like the fact that I hate chocolate (yes, this is not a joke).
Although it has been five years since, I am still walking with feeble legs, prone to crushing and imitating the forces around me. I am still trying to get to know me. I still sometimes question my own sexuality. What if I turn out to be straight after all? And also my dessert choice. What is wrong with me? Why don’t I enjoy chocolate as much as all my friends seem to do? What if my conclusion was wrong, my taste-buds not as good? Though putting on a brave face, my self-reassurance is still on feeble grounds, prone to a fluttering moment of confusion and anxiety as soon as it receives any criticism.
This tendency to doubt oneself also leads to comparisons, a lot of them. Since you doubt your own journey, you are more likely to admire the journeys of those around you with envious eyes of the green monster. Goddamn, why is the grass so green on the other side? In my mind, I know for certain that comparing oneself to another person is wrong; it is detrimental to self-compassion and mental health. However, my mind still automatically made the comparison anyway.
That is until a few days ago, when I read (and re-read, and watch, and re-watch) the creator of brainpickings.com, Maria Popovo’s beautifully- written commencement address. She equates the word “soul” as the place where our thoughts, actions, and ideals come from. Essentially, the moment one compares oneself to another person, one vacates one’s soul, ejecting oneself to a kind of “limbo” that is neither one’s nor the other person’s life.
Now, I truly realize everybody has a soul, a journey of their own. I, also have a soul, and a journey of my own. To compare, to be jealous of the lives of others only mean I am betraying my soul, and putting my journey on hold. One should try to go on one’s journey with a pace dictated by one’s soul. Let the others scoot past you as far as they wish; that’s their choice.
To all the chameleon souls out there, maybe social pressure, parental attitudes have made you disregard, discredit your own thoughts, and ideas- your own soul.
It’s time you packed your bag, and started your journey to discover your soul again, reintroducing yourself to yourself. How? I don’t know, but maybe finding out whether or not you really like chocolate is a good place to start.
Complimentary reading: thoughts on what part of your soul you should keep, and what you should improve.