Again and Again.

I want to nail down who I am. I am old enough now. I should know. Maybe I do. It just gets lost at times.

I want to weed out what I want to be. Smother how I want to appear. Crush who I think I should be. Drown how I think others see me. Let comparison crumble under self-assurance.

What do I like? What makes my upper lip curl in disgust?

What isn’t in my line of focus? What is and shouldn’t be?

What is surface in my life? What could be swept away with a quick gust of air?

Lose that.

Add depth. Red wine and tough questions. Answers that are difficult to speak, but breathe life after tumbling through the air.

Mainstream is crowded. Less overgrowth, yes. But visibility is limited due to immense population.

Sometimes I want to belong. I want to jump in that thick stream of people. Often when I do, it is horribly uncomfortable. Like when you buy shoes that look amazing but do torturous things to your toes.

I once bought shoes because they were 10 bucks. I knew they hurt, but they were cute. I have worn them three times. Once my feet enter, my joy is completely stolen until they are kicked off.

In my early 20s, I bought overpriced clothes from Urban Outfitters. (Okay, sometimes I still do.) I remember wearing some of these clothes around my unfiltered friend, Becky. Without hesitation, she told me I was wearing what had to be the ugliest thing she had ever seen. “But somehow you pull it off,” she said. I choose to believe this was a compliment, although the “somehow” left a bitter taste in my mouth. The clothes I was wearing had absolute no bearing on our friendship.

Our friendship was based on more than appearance and surface level connections. We spent countless hours discussing Jesus, homosexuality, and our nightmares. We laughed loudly over tequila mishaps and cried quietly over our failures. We had a legitimate friendship. We weren’t merely riding downstream next to each other.

Good friends help you find your path. They help you bushwhack through the overgrowth until you find a less crowded dirt path where you can stretch your legs and spin in circles if you see fit.

Those friends can point out what is in your line of focus. They spot what shouldn’t be there. They can probably see who you are better than you can. They will let you know how ugly your shirt is and then still go out in public with you anyway.

Friendships should be a way in which we see ourselves for what we truly are. They should bring clarity to how we see ourselves, but in a loving and thoughtful matter. So subtle and quiet that we barely recognize it, but we always feel it.

I feel different around certain people. My clothes feel itchy or suddenly tight. My flaws and insecurities begin to scream obscenities at my sanity, hoping to unhinge its foundation, knocking me off balance.

Sometimes those people are unavoidable and placed around us to make us more aware. Problem is, sometimes I listen to those screaming insecurities. I turn to gossip. I turn to self-hatred. I turn to anything that will distract me from the screams.

So, again, I want to nail down who I am. While I am old enough now, I think it defies age. Once you pinpoint who you think you are, the wind picks you up and sweeps you far out from what you know. So far that you are forced to relearn over and over, time and time again.

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