I used to think I needed the past to define me, like it was me. Without labels and words I didn't amount to much, and I loved shocking people. In a way, it was a test. See how hard I can push people away before they eventually leave. The perfect self-fulfilling prophecy for someone who figures they deserve to be rejected anyway.
I don't make friends easily. I never have. Maintaining interest in other people is something I struggle with after the initial intense passion of meeting minds has subsided in the few people I've felt like I've connected with.
I'm better at striking up a conversation with someone at a concert, or at a bus stop, than I am with people I run into on a regular basis. There is something enticing about strangers. Maybe it's the love them and leave them logic of a one night stand. They don't really fulfill you in the long run, but for a moment it felt like magic. But like one night stands, idle conversation with random people is often just that, random and meaningless and empty.
I still do random conversations with people at bus stops because sometimes I am so starved for human interaction I just don't care. Though I no longer do one-night stands because I've come to see my body more as a temple, less of a public park anyone can crave their name on.
Friendships are no different. I don't do insta-friends anymore.
We clicked, she and I. And for a second it felt nice. We have way too much common ground that while it was like "oh, kindred soul" in the beginning, now I feel like I'm drowning in who I was. And I've come to realise that after many, many years. I'm not who I was.
I'm not the poster-child for mental illness and self-destruction. I'm not sure I ever really was, though at the time, in that place, way back in the past, or perhaps just yesterday, I was that person. I felt like that person, and I've spent most of my life trying not to be her, even while I entertained my demons and found clichéd ways of fucking myself like a groupie chasing the rock star that is madness.
And I realise now none of it matters. Not of the illnesses, or the labels, or the scars, or any of the million things I defined myself by. Those things don't make me more or less. They may have shaped who I am, but the sum of them all cobbled together like some bizarre mosaic is not who I am today. I don't have to define myself by those things.
I'm not a fifteen year old anorexic that people think starved herself for attention.
I'm not eighteen years old, taking my clothes off for money before stripper poles became mainstream cool.
I'm not nineteen and single and lost in a haze of drugs and booze and men, and the occasional woman.
I'm not twenty five crying on the floor, immensely drunk, with a knife in one hand and a beer in the other, wishing I was dead because I couldn't handle the fact that I was gay.
I'm not any of those things, and yet I'm all of those things. And while they might make for a good story they aren't the reflection of the woman in the mirror studying web development with nerd glasses, and a soft spot for comic books. The woman looking back at me today is something new.
© Indie Adams 2016