Whenever I didn’t know how to articulate my thoughts, I did like what any other angsty teenager did in the early millennium – I copied out song lyrics, television quotes, passages from books, or any other voice that I could find, and titled the excerpt as its own blog entry (which is perhaps why I have become great at picking out quotations for essays). No explanations. No anecdotes. Just something caught between quotation marks. It seemingly provided me the needed distance in avoiding any real acknowledgment of my emotions, and provided whatever audience I had a general idea or direction to “better understanding me.”
Hiding behind these voices perhaps allowed me to find some solace in affirming that I wasn’t alone and that there were indeed others who felt the same way that I did. And while such behavior can be seen as healthy sometimes – since one is merely looking for a means to reach out and connect with others – I allowed it to consume me. Now I’m not saying that I wound up compulsively reciting Dawson’s Creek’s lines and somehow working them smoothly into conversations (which would have been amusing), but I did heavily rely on the words of others to define and narrate my story.
Reading old blog entries on my closed-off Xanga (there being a story behind this too), I realized that I drew many of my conclusions about myself through song and literature. There were always certain details that didn’t tie down exactly to me, but I would accept it regardless as truth – truth about my identity, attitudes, and fates. And so boldly would I dare be to defend these characters in our literary discussions at school or listen to the same song as though it were my mantra, I did something that I hadn’t meant to. I wanted to merely express myself but in doing so, I wound up adopting someone’s expression. With that said, there are the days that we find a song that speaks perfectly of our moods, we have to remember that there is so much more to a person than a chorus or a paragraph. We are human, and we can share a similar range of emotions, but we don’t necessarily share all the same experiences.
Image courtesy of howtolearnenglish.co.uk