I guess this summer it finally hit me. I spent the last four years of my life in a relationship, and I relied on that relationship to define myself. I never realized it until I introduced myself at a Sunday school meeting of our group, Limbo, as “Christina, and I’m Joseph’s girlfriend.” I wanted to immediately erase that from having just happened, not because I was ashamed or anything, but because I realized then that that was just a shitty way to introduce myself. Why not just “Christina”? What was wrong with me being…well, me?
Then Joseph and I ended our romantic relationship, and I felt like I really wanted to reintroduce myself. I wasn’t going to say something cheesy like, “I’m Christina, and I am a strong woman with dreams of living a comfortable life,” but I wanted to erase the part of my introduction that tied me to another person. Why would you want to be tied to another person’s identity as your own? As clichéd and often as we hear it, we really are our own unique selves.
I don’t really know why I introduced myself like that. I don’t want to ever sound like a broken record regarding my father, but his cancer-caused death when I was eighteen really changed things in my life I didn’t know he even affected, and I think one of these things was how I viewed myself. The transition from high school to college is a huge one anyway, but when the middle of the first semester of such a transition is tinged with a parent’s death, it’s even more difficult to find any kind of footing in the world. But I used my relationship as a crutch, and it took something like a meeting with a group of people I’ve all come to be acquainted with, who all knew who exactly Joseph was, for me to realize this.
Note to self: don’t have a crutch. Don’t rely on the identity of others to define yourself. Don’t define yourself if you feel uncomfortable doing so. Leave an introduction open-ended. Be YOU.
It’s okay for me to not have an addendum to my introduction. It was silly for me to think I had to in the first place, but at least I recognized it now. It’s just another chapter in the life of a twenty-something college student who’s learning to live with a little less regrets.
Hi, I’m Christina.