As I get older, I get better at recognizing the moments that have changed my life. It is not necessarily the ones I remember the most vividly either. One of them happened not too long ago time wise, but it seems like a lifetime away.
Listening to the radio yesterday I heard the story of a Palestinian girl that fled Jerusalem when she was eight years old to live in England. She went to live in a different country where everything seemed so alien. She then grew up to try to fit in with the London girl she saw herself as, while always having her Arab roots just inside of her house.
I have found myself torn between worlds plenty of times, but I try to be the same person in both situations. I am very proud of being Colombian and do not hide my country of origin even though I am often confused with other nationalities because people have a hard time placing my accent.
Also on the radio, on an unrelated story that had the same undertone for me. A black gay man working in the Music industry just came out with a book. The book is to be autobiographical but what will probably make it sell is that he mentions, even though not by name, famous celebrities inside of hip hop as being gay.
I have often felt that people that live a double life must be exhausted. Trying to be different people in different situations has to be one of the hardest jobs you have to endure. While we all have our masks and professionalism for different situations, I personally though I was always the same person. I seriously thought I tried.
That is when my life changing moment came about. Hanging around with some very good friends I started joking around like I do. I am loud, and obnoxious, but most of the time my friends find me amusing. The person that I was in a relationship with at the time made a comment about how I had no sense of humor. My friend quickly replied with, “What are you talking about? This guy is joking all day long and smiling all the time.”
I do smile and joke a lot. Not many people used to get to see my sad or stressed face. I have changed that aspect of my life quite a bit and opened up to my friends, but back then I kept pain and frustration inside.
That incident made me realize that I was living a double life. I had changed who I was so much to make someone else “happy” that I could hardly recognize myself. That event was not the epiphany moment that later ended that relationship, but it was certainly an eye opener.
I am pretty happy now, and think I am the same person around my wife that I am with my friends. Even when I do get a little more obnoxious around Travis, I show my wife exactly who I am. Even if my wife thinks that Chimpotle, Meesha and I are third graders when we tease each other, I don’t feel like I have to hide it or be different around her. It is a good thing to feel free around those close to you, and even though some traits of my personality are only for some of my friends, I don’t feel like I live a double life anymore.