Who are you?

Jonathan - Pleasant Grove, Utah
Entered on March 27, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

Have you ever been yelled at and beaten, but then in the next minute been offered cookies? That’s my life. I have a bipolar sister who has a hard time getting by. I have friends who aren’t themselves when they’re away from their family, or maybe they aren’t themselves when they are around their family. They act like my sister even though they don’t have the disease. It’s a rough situation and thus, I believe that you can’t be more than one person.

Bipolar is a genetic disorder, so we’ll leave it alone. Although if you’re concerned about it, you can learn to control it. You shouldn’t, however, attempt to convey two different, especially not conflicting, personas. When you perform holy ceremonies on Sunday, then beat up a police officer, vandalize city property and drink and take drugs at parties all until the calendar says Sunday again, it’s time to make a change.

My life has been drastically altered trying to decide which personality to think of as the real person. It’s a gut-wrenching process which may not produce results. If you think of a person as kind and gentle and they start kicking dogs, you’ll become confused. The same goes for when you think of someone as a rough, tough, unsentimental juvenile who suddenly starts chasing butterflies and prancing through meadows.

I’ve talked to these friends of mine and when I tell them that they can’t be two people without something eventually going wrong, they rationalize: “It’s fine.”, “I’m being me around you, but I just can’t act like this around my family.”, “Come on man, you know the real me!” sometimes even “It’s alright if my friends don’t know about the good me and if my parents don’t know the bad me.” When I try to tell them that their decisions are going to mess up their lives and they won’t know who they are anymore, I’m ignored and ridiculed because it’s “their life” and “their choices”.

Just recently, my friend who we’ll call Bob was caught for doing pot and cocaine and it was discovered that he was keeping a wide variety of liquor in his locker, which he was distributing at lunch. He was tried in court and had to pay a substantial fine and was thrown in juvenile for a month, then put through rehabilitation. He says he doesn’t know who he is anymore and although it would feel great an “I told you so.” just isn’t appropriate for that situation. When he returned home his parents wouldn’t talk to him, all of his “good” friends ignored him and the “bad” friends thought he was even cooler and praised him.

He was caught, his personalities conflicted. His life is approaching a cliff and it’s almost time to jump just because he couldn’t choose the person who he was going to be. This is terrible and people of the world need to acknowledge its effects. I believe in knowing who you are inside. This I believe, I believe you can’t be more than one person.