There was a girl I dated some years ago. It was a transitional relationship--a high school hang over--during the summer before my freshman year of college. I cannot lie--I like this girl. I liked every girl I ever dated. I am not--nor have I ever been--the kind of person who simply needs to date. So the relationship I had with this girl, which evolved naturally over my last year of school, was a genuine kind of puppy romance. And it ended, as so many of them do, with empty reasons of being apart because of: work, school schedules, the impending college years.
It all came down to this: we just don't have it. And that is fine in my book. More people should have that kind of foresight to know when relationships don't have the staying power. Then I needed these childish reasons.
For those listening, I don't care how old you are, if you need childish reasons to break off that which does not have the staying power, do it. You can never be too old to act young.
But back on topic. This girl was affable in her time, and together we had fun, more or less. But there was just something about her that drove me up a wall. Something I could not stand. It was how she considered herself: "So random!"
Like a badge of honor, she refused to stay on a single topic when on AIM. Did I just date myself with that reference? Her Live Journal was very much the same--oh boy, I am getting old, now, aren't I? Talking to her was often like reading the yahoo headlines. Many things to read but with very little substance behind it. And--unlike the yahoo headlines--there were no links for further information.
Being the impetuous young man that I was--by impetuous, in this context, I mean mostly spineless--I feared causing any kind of strife within any circle of friends, no matter how remote. So I went along with it. "You are. It's so awesome," and the like. All the while, I tried to avoid groaning with dismay.
It is not that I ever hated the idea. Why, random searches and the random feature on a CD player are two of the defining modes in my formative years. I don't even hate randomness as an idea, though recent years have been begging me to rethink this particular stance. What really got me was her own self awareness. Her practiced, purposeful, willful act of randomness. That I could not stand. Not. One. Bit.
All of us have our own phases in life, when we are trying to manufacture an ideal self for the world to see out of the little we have to work with as kids. It is very natural. But to claim something that was so obvious--without any nuance-it drove me mad. Mostly because--until this moment, with this one girl--I had already (the judges on the outside of my being had already decided) considered myself to be a random kind of guy. I will never admit to that publicly, though. That would tear down the entire illusion.
And her laying such a claim is, I think, indicative of a much larger trend of self-creation in the noosphere and the post-myspace.com generation.
It might be because of the nigh unlimited photo ops that we have in the filmless world, but I think that the real root is in the very simple "About Me" section of every personal webpage on the web: too early on in our development we are forced to put into words who we are.
I remember my own battles with identity. It took place every day in the real world: the home; the high school cafeteria; in the sad songs I wrote when I thought I'd be a rock star. My development came in waves of public and private.
Public: clothing changes; adapting vernaculars previously foreign to my speech; attitude changes toward anything.
Private: rectifying taboos in my own personality; fighting with depression and anxiety; that minutely brief sexuality question that, thankfully, went no further that, "Do I like girls?" to which my body heartily responded with, "Oh, yeah!"
It was at times practiced, but always natural feeling. Going back on a choice, changing my opinion, it was all okay back then, because--most importantly--within a few days it was all forgotten!
There was no digital record to throw back in my face by malicious internet trolls. No one was up in arms when I decided to shift from grunge to farm boy chic to punk and vice vice versa.
But now?--how is anything achieved with a panel of a billion plus judges waiting at your door? Anything I did way back in the day would have made me a fake--a fraud. I would have been ridiculed. Well, more so than I was back then. Thinking back on those days and how hard I took it, I cannot imagine going through it now. There would be no room for personal growth.
That just isn't right.