Identity crisis

For a little while there, I actually began to fear that I was losing my sensitive nature. I’ve been a busy girl, and I haven’t been much of a writer lately; nor have I done much of anything creative in the past few months. The things I’ve been busy with have all been positive, but I wondered what was happening to me in the midst of it all. If I was starting to define myself by the activities I engaged in and the people I spent time with, then what would be left of me in my solitary moments, especially if I was not spending those moments being reflective or expressive?

This confusion seems a natural part of my ongoing transformation into Happy Kristen. I don’t think I’ve ever been as genuinely happy as I have been during the past year of my life, except for a few obvious hiccups. What this means to me, above all, is that I don’t view sadness as my default state. That’s one of the things depression does to a person: makes you think that good feelings are all lies, and that they only come along sporadically to distract you from the bleakness of your foundation. I don’t buy that anymore. My self is all of my own construction, and I can be as good as I want to be.

Anyway, Happy Kristen has been filling her life with small adventures and has had remarkable success in being sociable. This is a new way of being that makes Real Kristen wonder if she is misguided—as if being social and active are futile attempts to make up for the emptiness inside. The emptiness couldn’t possibly have gone away altogether, right? Also, Happy Kristen has not been writing much, which is worrisome. Does this mean she is no longer taking notice of the world around, or of her emotions, or that she is no longer even feeling powerful emotions?

I like being happy. I’d like to stay this way, more or less, but I haven’t figured out how to make space for being a writer.

Then, today, I was listening to music at my desk when I heard a song that made me cry. It has probably been a long, long time since a single song has made me cry without having a memory associated with it. I listened to it a second time later, and teared up again. Its chorus is still stuck in my head. I think it’s a love song; I hope it is, because that would put my feelings into an appropriate context. Or maybe not, since I’m not sure what my feelings are. I just know that they are making me think. Perhaps they’re a result of good timing, since I’d already decided that today I was going to give myself over to rest and reflection. Either way, I’ve been feeling enough to know that I am still deeply alive. And I wonder what it is that I’ve really been longing for lately. Maybe it’s not necessarily creative satisfaction. Maybe engaging in creative pursuits (writing and art) is not the only way I’m meant to share myself with the world. There is so much that I seem to have trouble translating. I need somebody with me who can feel what I feel, without my having to write an essay. I need another soul to share with. I need somebody who can give me a quiet home when I’m tired of socializing and volunteering and working at my job. I need somebody to amplify my joy.

And so my solitary moments are not always particularly happy or satisfying. This is no cause for complaint; I just realize that there are some emotional gaps that I cannot fill alone. That actually takes a bit of the pressure off my stifled creativity. Whatever I do to express myself, I know it can’t be expected to encompass everything. It won’t, because I’m not a solitary being. I am not always enough.

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