Identity crisis?

A collection of Polaroids depicting teenagers and a house's exterior, scattered over a grassy lawn.

Each time I am asked to describe myself, nothing about me comes to mind. Rather, I think about Taylor Swift. I think about singing in the shower and romance novels and New Girl.The whole of me can be found in lyrics and YouTube videos, and sometimes the whole of me can be found in the whole of others. I reckon with the idea of a stolen personality and try to erase my own patchwork identity. Confusion overtakes me as I fight to prove that everyone is made up of everyone, that it’s normal to see hundreds of beings in your reflection. Maybe that’s why I hate the mirror so much. I never quite see myself in the wavering glass. I click my heels together like Dorothy and wish to go home to somewhere only I inhabit, to a home where I could find a personality. I wish to transform into one of those characters I love or find myself or find the missing puzzle piece. It’s hard to put myself back together when I don’t have the picture on the box. So I spend my days feeling a little too much and singing a little too loud. I spend 10,000 minutes on Spotify with Taylor and land in her top 0.5% of listeners. I reread my favorite novels until I can recite the most dramatic moments word for word. I laugh at New Girl again and again until some of the humor in the memorized jokes fades. And I wish, I hope, that these forms of entertainment aren’t all I have. That they simply reflect the relationships I relish in the nonfiction world. The genres get mixed in my head. So I take a break, and I swear off Taylor Swift in hopes of being her, and I miss her poetry more than I knew I could, and I swing right back to her mesmerizing melodies, hating myself all the while.

Yet sometimes I take a step back and recall that Taylor Swift, she has made me a poet. New Girl, it has made me a comic. And books, they have made me a lover. My soul is woven with characters I have never met, and Taylor is stitched into my skin like my most comfortable friend. I feel most myself in the moments I emulate others, when I’m reading under the covers, when I’m repeating jokes I saw on TikTok, when I’m singing in the shower. So maybe I’m known only as the girl who loves Taylor Swift, but I’m not sure I see a problem with that anymore. The only things I’m sure of are that I would never have put pen to paper without my favorite writers, and I never would have discovered my own tune without the best lyricists. Perhaps I have found my identity, and so what if Taylor Swift makes up 90% of it? After all, she knows best.

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