Sunday, July 15, 2012

It's strange the way we carry all of our relationships around inside of us all the time.

How we live them and breathe them as we live and breathe ourselves. How we are living and breathing for and because of them. How we absorb the things that are closest to us, but somehow become only more ourselves, like how a sponge seems "right" only when it is soaked and full of water. 

It fascinates me to think of the things from the people I know and have known, love and have loved, that I have adopted as parts of myself. They say imitation is the highest form of flattery, right? Well, then some people should be quite flattered, because I have taken pieces of them and called it myself. 

Is it plagiarism when you don't realize you've done it until it's too late?

If so, then I've been plagiarizing my father for as long as I can remember. My mother never ceases to be annoyed that I adjust my glasses when they're sliding down my nose in the exact same way that he does. It never ceases to annoy my mother.

There is a hand gesture of dismissal that I stole from the first character I played in a one act play in college. She was a Black nerd from Harvard who took a field trip to Harlem to try to learn about "Black culture," and she was kind of partial to me, maybe because I was engaged in some Black culture(s) 101 myself, or maybe just because she was the first. Anyway, when I make that shooing motion, I am ever reminded of her and then. 

I picked up "hella" from my niece in the two days I spent in California with her when I was 18 and never let it go. I have taken things like "extra" from my little sister. "Nervy" and "deets" from FO. "Fascinating" from KS. "Hey ho" from SH. "Hey girl heyyyyy" from various Black 2012 girls. Various guttural sounds of disapproval from my mother. 

I steal hairstyles from people on the internet allllllllllllllllll the time. I pick up quotes and phrases and save them in some part of myself for use later. 

And most conspicuously recently, I have started expressing disapproval of something by frowning slightly, bowing my head, closing my eyes, and shaking my head no. I had a moment of realization a little over a month ago that this action was not my own. It has KS written all over it. But like all these other things from all these other people, I have adopted it and made it mine. Like the scar on my left forearm from my Wawa days, it's a sign that a relationship has left its mark on me.

I wonder how many more of things I consider to be parts of myself, I have actually quietly stolen from the people who are important to me. It seems to me that I am a Self partially constructed of Others. I carry your mannerisms in my own, feeling I and we simultaneously. I am individual and yet the result of hundreds of "us"es, which never cease to inspire me, no matter the years or miles.   

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