Let me be clear from the start: multiple personas does
I am not going to make a joke about having “multiple personalities”. That is a real psychological disorder and making a joke about it is tasteless, insensitive and stupid. What I am going to say is that I have several “personas”, as in different ways I portray myself according to who I am with and what I’m doing. With every group of friends, family, co-workers, and online platforms I have created many alter-egos. Despite some key differences in tone, vocabulary, hobbies, and “personalities” my core being doesn’t change. It’s true that I different side’s of myself that I show to different people, but at core I’m the same person despite the face I’m wearing.
Who I am doesn’t change, even if what I show does.
Anyone who claims they are 100% authentic 100% of the time is lying, but they are also telling the truth. As paradoxical as that statement is I promise you that I’m not trying to be some vague sooth-sayer. What I mean is that authenticity, like truth, is situational. When I am in class and being my “student-self” I am being completely honest about my goals, my beliefs, and my intentions in that moment. When I am with my family and playing “supportive sister” and “fun aunt” I am being just as genuine to that persona as well. The same applies to my “work-self”, my “dating-self”, my “writer-self”, and my “friends-self”. Who I am with changes the subjects we are talking about, the language I use, and the goals I have in that time. My nieces and nephews don’t see me the same way my sisters do, or the way my co-workers do, or my friends. They know me in different contexts, but that doesn’t make any of those personas more or less “real” than the others. At my core I am the same person.
I have a firm sense of myself in all of my personas. I know that I deeply care about people, though I’m naturally introverted. I know I am highly compassionate, but also opinionated. I know I value education, learning, growth, justice, fairness, and hard work. I also know I am anxious, obsessiveness, and prone to burn-out. I am sarcastic, and funny (in my own opinion), and also I’m realistic, and practical. I enjoy exploring new places, meeting people, and talking a lot. I am both serious and fun, and I am both introverted and friendly. All of these traits can co-exist within a person and shine at their own respective times. I am complicated and multifaceted, just like you.
The truth is, humans are complicated.
It took me years to reconcile my many personas and I am still figuring it all out. When we are teenagers we are told we need to “figure out who we are”, and we are expected to be pigeon-holed into a “type” with their own stereotypes and expectations. The problem was, I usually failed to fit firmly into any one label. At first I thought this made me special or unique, or maybe a little weird. I figured that everyone was a little different from everyone else, but I was the most chameleon-like of all (teenage mentality at it’s finest) but as I’ve gotten to understand people better, I’ve found that this doesn’t make me different at all. No one is a perfect “type”.
Every single person is multifaceted and that’s what makes life interesting.
Personally, I love that I have different groups of friends my different interests. I have some friends who enjoy partying, some who love talking about books and writing, some who love to hike and workout, and some who just like to stay in and watch movies. Some of these interests and groups overlap, and some of them never do, and both are okay. I don’t go to parties with my sister, and I don’t talk literature with my hiking buddies; but that doesn’t mean I hold any of those friends or interests in high esteem than the others. I do still enjoy spending nights by myself reading a book, or binge-watching documentaries on Netflix. None of those interests have to conflict. Being able to explore all of my interests and all sides of my personality by myself or with different people helps me learn and grow. I embrace sides of myself and you can too.
You don’t have to choose just one side.
If you want to choose one label or one face to show to the world, that’s great! Do whatever makes you feel complete, whole, and fulfilled. I am not telling you that you have to have multiple interests, hobbies, or goals. I am not telling you that you have to be like me. I am telling you do do what makes you happy, even if it means showing different sides of yourself. I am telling you to embrace all parts of yourself, even if it doesn’t fit the mold you were put into. We seem different in different situations, but that doesn’t make us fake, weak, or unsure. It just makes us more complex than what meets the eye.