Perhaps, there is an advantage to being many-sided:
People don’t see all of my flaws.
One may know me as particularly introverted
But others will have never seen me outside a group.
One may think I speak too much
Because they have never rendered me speechless.
I am a person of many friends of many types in many places.
Most have never met each other.
Most never will.
For each, I have adopted a different persona
So diverse that my teammates would not recognize me at camp.
It’s nice at times
Because my secrets do not spread.
But at the same time, it’s exhausting
For in a new environment
I do not know who to be.
Who am I, anyway?
My classmates would call me “smart,” whatever that means.
To them I am a hyperfocused, self-driven dictionary
An Ivy League-Bound A-making machine.
They miss the endless nights spent toiling over papers,
The tears of frustration when I cannot keep awake the next day;
The pressure to create a scholarship-worthy record,
And to show my overachiever family that I’m an equal;
The meticulous manipulation – I have it down to a science
That I employ to keep my teachers on my side.
My teammates would call me “spontaneous,” with an emotion-dictated demeanor.
To them I am a know-it-all of techniques and terminology
A reference book of who placed with what score and when;
To them I am an athlete who trains independently rather than resting, every night of the year
Who on a good day could lead the team to Nationals;
But they also see me as the first to crack
Falling like the Hindenburg when more than a ribbon is at stake.
They miss the pain I undertake in hope of improvement;
The agony of knowing I will never win in a sport that I started too old;
The fear of losing opportunity because of a strained coach relationship;
And that I lose myself there because I hold myself together everywhere else
Because for me to lose face would bring doubt to my friends
And even merit punishment at home.
My parents would call me “introverted,” and naïve to the ways of society.
To them I spend my days alone
Conversing only to ask where my book is;
To them I am abiding
Taking their rules as law, and living a life of premeditated caution;
They would be the first to claim that I actively avoid society’s realm.
They do not see my favorite moments
My laughter-evoking memories made with others – too embarrassing to share
But worth a smile simply by mention.
They do not see me when I rebel
With days that would not only get me grounded, but probably disinherited
Because to them I am a bundle of innocence.
All it takes is puppy-dog eyes to convince them
That I have never lived.
They also do not see my regrets
That a life of singular success is solitary –
They do not see that I am lonely.
Who am I, anyway?
Am I dynamic and thrill-seeking,
Breaking every rule laid out
As anyone who traveled parent-free with me would know?
Or am I static, stoic, silent,
Like my teachers and parents believe?
Am I an overthinker,
Held back by awareness of every existent hypothetical repercussion,
As my camp friends would complain?
Or do I not think enough,
Letting impulse guide me through twisted paths,
Which my teammates strongly feel?
Am I friendly or not?
Am I smart or not?
Am I a good person?
How can I know, if each person I ask knows a different me?
My multigroup friends – those who know me in two places, would call me “weird.”
How could they not?
They see me as a contradiction.
They see the girl who withholds eye contact nine months a year
Resort to aggressive displays to keep from being physically attacked in the other three.
They see the girl who talks herself out of eating food dye due to small risks
Involved in a romantic relationship four days after meeting the person.
They see the girl who shies away from uncomfortable discussions
Transforming into a pillow and a punching bag for struggling friends.
They see the girl who is chronically deprived of sleep
Take on more intense schoolwork, more intense training, more intense obligations.
They just can’t figure me out.
I don’t blame them.
I can’t, either.
Who am I, anyway?
With more sides than a casual political discussion
How can I know which one is right?
Does being polydimensional make me sophisticated
Or does it make me a lost being – bouncing between personas with no body to claim ownership of.
Does it make me an everyone?
Or does it make me nobody?