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“What is it?”
I look up at the voice talking to me. I hadn’t realized it, but I must have been zoning out again.

“Just thinking.” I say. It’s an understatement, a disarming simplification. It doesn’t work.
“Thinking about what?” they inquire.

“Oh, well… I don’t know. Some deep shit. You probably wouldn’t want to get into it right now.” I really don’t want to have to get into it with them.
“I’m down. Tell me about it.” God damn it.

“Well… I was just thinking about myself, and like… who I am. And I came to the conclusion that I don’t really know who I am.”
“What do you mean?” I barely even know what I mean. How I managed to tell them is beyond me.

“Well, you know like… when you break it down everything that I am is just kind of something I took from somebody else. I don’t have any defining traits of my own and I change the way I act around every person I talk to.”

“And that’s a bad thing?”
“Why wouldn’t it be?”

“Well, isn’t that just what an identity is? Humans learn best through imitation you know. I’m pretty sure everyone builds themselves up out of pieces of people and things that they like.”

“You’re really sure?”
“Yeah, man. Besides, I don’t even know why you would worry about that kind of stuff.”

“Well I— I don’t really feel secure in who I am. I feel like I’m too fluid and I don’t even know how to make sense of myself and—”

“Calm down, dude. Anybody who tells you they can make sense of themselves is lying. Everyone’s fluid as hell, that’s just how people are. If we acted the same way around every single person we met, then we’d only be able to maintain a relationship with like, one person.”

“But why do we have to do that? Why can’t everyone just accept people for who they are?”
“I dunno, that’s just the way it’s become. It’s far too out of our control to worry about. For now, you should just focus on yourself.”

“Focusing on myself is exactly what got me into this whole mess.”

“Hmm… Well then, here’s my consolation. This is kind of the way I think about it. I don’t care about how I present myself to others because no matter how I act, I’m still me, right? And people can change me, and I don’t want to lose me, but as long as I’m me I’ll always have me. Me will always be me, no matter what anybody else likes to see. Does that make sense?”

“Not… really.”
“Mm. Oh well.”

“I wish I could just be stable in myself, you know?”
“If you were the same all the time, that’d just be boring wouldn’t it?”

“Yeah but—”
“Then you wouldn’t have to worry about things going wrong, right?”

“Yeah, exactly.”
“Honestly, I think that’s a pretty dumb way to go about living.”

“What do you mean?”

“If you live in fear of everything going wrong because of you, you’ll never do anything again. Sometimes you just have to take risks. You can’t get something good without getting something bad.”

“But I’m so afraid of opening myself up to people. I want friends, and for people to like me and stuff, but…”
“Humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return. That’s the first law of alchemy.”

“Pffsh, don’t you go and start using anime quotes to make me feel better.”
“Sorry, I had to. But I’m right though, aren’t I?”

“Yeah… I guess so. But every time I give something away I lose way more than I was intending to.”
“How so?”

“Well like, every time I talk to a person I always tell them everything about myself, everything that’s deep and important to me, and then they just go and wreck it all with a bat.”
“I think the problem here is that you’re valuing things like that a little too much.”

“How can I not? That’s myself!”

“Well, yeah, but you’re also really fluid and ever-changing. You’re trying to hold onto things as though they were rigid and important, but your brain tosses them out subconsciously anyways. I bet if you hadn’t decided to give that information away to someone, you would’ve never even thought of it again.”

“Maybe, but…”

“I don’t know. Maybe I’m valuing myself and my identity a bit too little, but it really helps me to just… not find the pieces of myself important. Cause after all, hardly any of the pieces were mine in the first place.”

“Yeah, but… all those little pieces are mine now and I need to treasure them.”
“But why?”

“I don’t know…”

“Mm. Well… I don’t really have any more helpful input to offer on this matter. Wanna go down and get some ice cream?”
“Yeah, sure. Then can we go to the theater? That movie I’ve been wanting to see came out recently.”

“Absolutely. Come on now, let’s go and just enjoy our lives instead of worrying over silly little things.”
“Yeah… Thank you.”

“Any time.”
I said that to them, but it was nearly impossible to stop thinking about it.

But oh well. The ice cream and the movie alleviated the pain a little bit, and I forgot all about what I had just been worrying about in the moment.

Maybe life isn’t as complex as protecting your own identity, and making sure you never got hurt or “lost a part of yourself.” Maybe life is just about living, and being happy. Finding happiness in all the little places, cause it’s just about the best thing you’ll ever get…

From now on, I think I’ll just be happy.

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