Well, I'm finally here in D.C., coming to you after a long weekend of pounding the pavement, riding the Metro, and meeting a lot of new people. A lot of things are strange to me here: the concept of a Metro, for example, or the advice to not go about by yourself, stay away from certain areas, among others, but I think the one that gets me the most is the complete amnesia of a new place.
Save two people, no one here actually knows me, either by face or name. It's a curious thing, the ability to re-present yourself to an entirely new group, rewrite who you are.
That isn't to say that's what I'm doing. Lying isn't on the agenda here; taking the opportunity to try new things is. Like being a good roommate, or being willing to talk about stuff you were either too embarrassed to talk about before. It's fantastic when new people become new friends, and those friendships develop--it's equally as good when you're just getting to know each other and your slate is empty.
Consider this: how often are we trapped by our own self-conceptions? Everyone sees themselves a certain way and act accordingly. At times, this becomes a license to continue hurtful habits. Hopefully, I'm not much into the practice of hurting people, but the example stands.
I've conceived of myself in the past four years as the cynical, sarcastic friend. These habits haven't managed to rid me of my friends, thank goodness, but the possibility of something else, of being a friend without being a cynic, or maybe genuinely expressing happiness or hope--with new people, that doesn't have to be known as the exception.
Perhaps in four months, when this is all over, I won't have changed a bit. I'll still be the cynic, the snarker, but as for right now, I like not being anyone at all.
Small Wonders--Battle of Pecatonica
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