It is becoming increasingly apparent to me just how easy it is to lose oneself - no, for the sake of avoiding cliche - to sacrifice intrinsic aspects of one's sense of identity for the sake of another human being.
There is a draft sitting in my blogger posts folder that I believe I began writing early last year, just after I moved out of home. I have no recollection of its conception. I bear no resemblance to the girl who wrote it. I have changed drastically in the past eight months, and that little bit of reason left in me is starting to hint that it wasn't for the better.
Back then, I wrote with more eloquence and clarity than I currently possess (and admittedly, some odd metaphors).
Sometimes I just wish I were more like Mr Potato head. No, not because he was the first toy to be on TV, or because he's acted in film and been spokespotato for many different causes. Not even his removable moustache lies at the core of my wish for a plastic existence. It's because he has no confused face; he may wind up a bit all over the place at times, but he's designed to be used and thrown aside so he's okay with it.
Mr. Potato Head in the 1970s.
I, on the other hand, am not. Like any other human being, I consider myself more than a play thing or a temporary method of amusement.
The relationship I have been in for the past few months has left me feeling like I can't stake a claim to those words. It's the type people tell you you'll be in if you marry the wrong man; the type you wind up in if you think you can change the person you want to share your life with. No-one ever told me that trying to help someone get out of a bad place and be a better person was the same as trying to change them, and, naive as I am, I realised it far too late.
Don't get me wrong - so much good has come from this relationship too. I learn how to love with my body and a spirit that I don't believe I have; how to forgive, how to communicate, how to work with someone. I learnt the difficulties of living with someone you're in a relationship with, that I just don't give up when I should, and I finally understand what my mother meant when she told me she stayed with my father just because she loved him.
But I don't think I can learn any more. It's almost at an end and everyone involved knows it. My potato features are worn from rough use and I can't complete my uni work because my mind is always elsewhere. My father lives alone now, and because I compromised crucial aspects of my identity due to the fact that they didn't align with those of the man I loved, I can't write. We all write who we are, create from the elements of our identities that can reflect something back into the world. And I just can't. I honestly don't have the ability to express just how much the drivel that travels from my brain to my fingertips and onto each page saddens me.
And I really don't know what to do. I've spoken to friends who blame lack of practice, and others who tell me I'm too stressed. But I've tried, and I'm not stressed. I changed for this man (don't let anyone ever tell you you can't change anyone; it's just rarely a good thing) and I don't want my love for him to end, but I know it has to if I want to find myself again. I can write more, which I plan on doing here (in the hope few will read it till my skills return). But neither of those things are a guaranteed cure.
In all honesty, I'm scared shitless that I've lost the one thing I've been doing, been aspiring to do, since I was eight years old and scribbled a horrible rhyming poem about my family and a cat in a journal I was gifted for my birthday. I'm twenty-two now, and I've grown into my skin almost completely - I can talk freely to people without fear that they think I'm stupid, I hate my body far less than I used to, and my teenage obsessions are all but gone. But the ideals and things I fought for so fervently and was so passionate about when I was a year younger have fallen by the wayside. Can I just reassemble myself, grab all my pieces and slap them in place like the brave face I've become so good at? I think I might have grown into the wrong person, and I'm terrified that it's too late to go back.
Image from the Mr. Potato Head 1970s Advertisement.