I understand as an adult that varying my personality based on the situation is an important communication skill; that’s not what I am talking about here. I have created completely separate facades which I believed allow me admission into the different groups I have associated myself with throughout my life. However, when I think about who I really am, I’m left confused and unable to answer.
My name is Brent, and I’m a hot mess. I started this blog to help me find who I am and where I want to go. So far in my life, I have been fearful and uncertain about almost everything. I’m working towards being more intentional with my decisions and the direction my life will take. I think the reason I have been uncertain is because I’m realizing I interact very differently with different groups of people.
Maintaining the alternative Brents has left me even more curious about who the true me is at this point. I am not saying I have split personalities, as each persona has a little bit of me, but taken to the extreme.
My different personas gig started at a young age. When I was in grade school, I was short, fat and smart; the perfect fodder for being picked on. From about middle school on, I started creating different Brent’s. Each “me” had a different back story, filled with some half-truths and white lies to help me fit in better, and, for the most part, it worked.
By the time I reached high school, I’d created enough Brents to fit in with almost any group. I earned amazing grades without cracking a book, played 2 sports, worked 2 jobs and was involved in several other extra curricular groups. I kept myself so busy that I didn’t have time to think of the consequences having so many personas would have on my future. I just performed without thought because what I was doing really was acting.
I went to college 8 hours from home, at the University of South Carolina. While there, the pressure to fit in impacted me even more. I was a northerner living in the South (which is a bigger deal than most think), and knew exactly zero people when I arrived in Columbia. It wasn’t long before I created another me to fit in with the new crowd. I lived in the dorms and quickly became friends with the other guys there.
I became a one-upper for a while and felt pressure to do something a little crazier or better than the other guys. I worked at a church camp during the summer and attended a christian fellowship group during the school year, but often partied hard at night. With each group, I became what they, or what I thought they, wanted me to be. Through this time, I lost all sense of direction and purpose in my life. I dropped out of school, moved around a bit, and worked wherever I found a job.
I am the guy that likes the same music those around me listen to, and I enjoy the same food as those I am with. Think Julia Roberts’ character in “The Runaway Bride.” I mean, who doesn’t know how they like their own eggs cooked?
Recently I have been trying to find the real me, and after years of playing different characters, this will be no easy task. I’m planning to take you all on this journey with me. I am going to examine my different faces and explore unknown parts of me to find out who the real Brent is; what I like, dislike, what I want to be, and what legacy I want to leave with the rest of my life.
So far, there are a few things I know about myself to be true. First, I love my wife. She inspires me to be greater than I have been. She makes me a better me and this world a better place, just for being her. Next, I know I love Disney World, and the magic feeling being there creates. Lastly, I love to read; anything I can get my hands on I will devour. Aside from this, I will learn as I go, and let you know.
Have you ever been in a situation or interacted with a group that made you feel the only way to be accepted was to be someone other than yourself?