Melded: An Ode to Being a Different Person

Illustrated by John Lisle
Photographed by Christine Hahn 

Humans are not born inherently one way or another. Rather, a way is imposed upon us based on our inherent aptitudes, and we simply never learn (or care) to shake our skin of these outward perceptions. To put it less generally, I find that who I think I am internally and who the world perceives me as externally rarely coincide with each other. There are two different versions of myself, which starkly contrast. This tension between my “external” self, or how the world views me, and my “internal” self, or how I view myself, often presents me with two distinct outcomes when dealing with any given issue. 

This is not a situation topical to only myself—no, we all battle this inner sense of difference when juxtaposed with our outer selves. Personally, my outer and inner selves could not be any more different. I feel as though externally, I like to have all my business in order. I am driven, I am ambitious. I am a young woman on the path to achieving the biggest of my goals, and there is nothing that can intercept my path. I like to dress the part as well: trousers, A-line skirts, and chic, sophisticated pieces, even when uncalled for. Contrary, however, I don’t always feel this way internally. In fact, if not for the way others saw me, and the way I clothe myself, I don’t believe I’d be half as much of a high-achiever as I am on the outside. 

Inwardly, I never have it together. There are days when I can barely get out of bed even though I know I have work to do, even though I know that my laziness is only going to make me suffer later when external-me comes and performs damage control. I despise having to wake up early to get things done and would much rather wait until the very last minute. The main priority of inner-me is simply to watch television, eat junk food, and blow off all responsibilities until I can’t ignore them anymore. I find that I’m ashamed of how I am internally, my inner apathy and lack of care coming in the way of performing a task that external-me would have otherwise done with no questions asked. Inner-me is okay with being lazy and sopping up what external-me left of an idling Sunday afternoon, milking the spoils garnered by outer-me’s winnings. The contrast between these two parts of myself is embarrassing, causing me to feel like a phony for even admitting that I’m not always the person I appear to be.

However, the beauty in having conflicting interests is that I can have both. Life isn’t so black-and-white that I’m forced to make a choice of who I want to be every waking second of the day. I am never forced into wearing a hoodie and sweats on a day when I want to wear culottes and a blouse to school; I don’t have to agree to go shopping if I can’t muster the energy to leave my bed. My personalities are melded together, regardless of how much the outside world gets to see of each. There’s no rule that explicitly states I can’t be a Netflix-binging, work-forgetting borderline slob on one day and then a business-savvy, fast-paced, and focused champion on another—it’s all give-and-take. Because of this, I find I can make decisions based on both parts of myself. I am no longer guilty to admit that I’m not always motivated and put-together, and really am as much of a sloth as anyone else could be. I can openly find peace of mind in a relaxed Friday night rather than a world-class study session because both situations are a part of who I am.  

With that being said, I can’t force people to see something that they don’t want to see. Just because I know about my private tendencies doesn’t mean the rest of the world wants to identify the disparity between my outward and inward portrayals. By this, I mean that it’s usually easier for onlookers to draw their own conclusions on the type of person I am because of the way I act externally. A lot of the time it does feel like I’m pegged as one thing or another, because it’s easier for spectators to classify me as such. And that’s okay. I don’t mind being seen as a purposeful go-getter, because that is who I am. It may have been something assumed of myself at too young of an age, but it also helped to guide my interests into something bigger than expected (and for that, I couldn’t be more grateful!). I can honestly say that I love being the person I am, regardless of how I came to be her.  

And so, I return to the point: we all vary in how we are seen on the outside and who we truly are on the inside. The person whom we are seen as is often the result of a label placed upon us from our childhood habits, but I don’t think it has to be permanent. In my case, the person I was labeled as was someone that I wanted to be, and I acted to embody that label. Similarly, I believe there’s always going to be a part of ourselves that we keep separate from our outside lives. It’s difficult to expose one’s personality to its true extent, and I think that’s another reason why we leave it up to the world to determine our labels for us. After all, we are the ones who choose to listen.  

So, I leave with this: it's a beautiful thing to be two kinds of people. I think you’ll find that the ways you are will naturally combine into one seamless person that you can be proud of, a perfect meld of all things unapologetically you.

By Sophia Moore

1 comment

  1. Great read. Very insightful and totally relatable!