Last weekend the supposed people-reader Shawna told me I was 'extremely' confused. At the time, I didn't feel confused at all, and kind of mentally laughed at her people-reading bull. And I still don't think much of her people-reading prowess. But I might be confused. Maybe.
I know I've changed a lot from the person I used to be. That's only natural. It would be intensely weird if I were no different now than I was when I was thirteen years old, or eight, or four. Change happens, I understand that. But I have to wonder if the person I am now is really just an older, more mature version of the one I was then - or someone else entirely.
Some things haven't changed, it's true. But some very significant ones have. I used to be a girl, unquestioningly so. I used to genuinely be attracted to boys. Now I claim no interest, sexual or romantic, in males, and am considering socially transitioning to a male identity. What happened?
My worry arose when I started considering introducing myself under a new name when I go off to college next year. The thought had occurred to me before, of course, and in fact I have introduced myself to people under that name, but they were always people I would only see for an hour or two in my life. And the name - I don't want to write it here, inconveniently, for fear of being Googled, because I'm paranoid that way - has always been a pseudonym for me. Not my name, but that of my assumed persona. It doesn't even go with my born surname, but with my assumed one, MacAvity.
And yet gradually, in all ways but name, I have taken on that persona all the time. I have, in effect, become what was once a sort of costume, a casual masquerade.
So my question - to which I doubt a satisfactory answer can be easily found - is this: Is my new identity a mask, suppressing my old, true identity until she can no longer be recognised? Or is my new identity the real me, finally exerting himself over the old one, which was merely the product of others' expectations? Or...something else entirely?
The new one started off as a fictional character. I've written about him before. But was he an expression of the person I didn't yet know I was? Or is he a separate entity, with no right to exist, insidiously taking over the body of his creator? I don't know. If the latter, I don't know how I - whoever that is anymore - will master him. Or, perhaps, is this all born of my envy for Solace (whose nineteenth birthday it is today, incidentally), who so resembles the mask I've assumed that it's hard to remember that he wasn't the original inspiration?
No, forget that about the fictional character. That just sounds crazy.
But if the mask that has fused to my face, so to speak, is really just a mask...who is underneath it? How can I take it off? Should I even take it off at all?