I think I gave up my search for identity a long time ago.
Let me explain.
From what I remember from Psychology 101, generally speaking, most people form their identities during their teenage years. They actively wonder who they are, what they will become, what their role in the world should be. They collect some ideas, choose some childhood experiences that correspond to and support these ideas, and sort of build an identity foundation with these large granite ideological blocks.
And from then on, it’s all just pebbles, really. Little stones here and there, whatever you can make stick, whatever you assign meaning to, whatever is the same color of granite you have already…that’s what you use to build the rest of your identity. Occasionally, you get some bigger stones – like at major life events – but mostly you build with small rocks from there until the end of your days.
Sometimes I feel like I’m made entirely of small rocks. Where are my cornerstones, my irreplaceable truths? Who am I? What has formed me? What do I believe? I have no idea. I’m like a child in a sandbox that builds something gorgeous one day, then knocks it down and starts over the next.
Gah, stupid metaphors. What am I really saying?
I gave up looking for Tricia. I gave it up long ago. I don’t know who or what she is, and – to be perfectly honest – I don’t care.
I suspect that this is abnormal; most people don’t live this way, they walk with both feet on the ground. One step leads to the next, one foot is always in the past, one foot moves ahead into the future.
Me? I jump.
The past is gone, over. It’s nice to look at and watch, to bring out and listen to as a favorite song or movie, and I cherish the people from my past, I do. As for the future, it’s exciting. I can’t wait to find out what’s coming…
But the present is always this detatched, suspended leap.
And I am always a different collection of experiences, the important ones are interchangeable, the sad ones don’t matter, the bright ones have faded. I can have or have not, I don’t care. And if I do care, then I care for today, or for this month, but next month I won’t. I will look back and say, “At that time in my life, I cared deeply.” And that’s as far as it will go with me. Already I will be devoting my attention to something else.
Former versions of myself seem like strangers to me now. I have some things in common with them, but I am not them anymore. And I don’t miss them. I miss very little. I need almost nothing that I don’t have, now, at this present moment. Plus, I don’t remember much. I think the memories might be in me somewhere, but I have to go actively hunting for them in my mind.
The point is…
I let go. I don’t know how not to. I let go of everything and everyone, beautiful or ugly, joyful or painful. Either “Tricia” is buried so deep in me I can’t see her or feel her, or she is always on the surface and shape-shifting too fast for me to know her well.
(And so if you love me, hold on to me. I just don't know how to hold on to you.)