There isn’t an accurate biography out there. None of the autobiographies, not a single well-researched missive, none of it is accurate. There is no way a book can completely capture every single person we encounter in our lives. And every single person we meet forms us, whether we realize it or not.
As a human in relationship every single day (in the line at the grocery store when we choose to either engage with the checkout clerk or check our phones, at the gas station when we choose to either fight for a spot or let someone else go first, every moment we have online watching someone else’s actions and reactions) every person we meet changes something within us,
Yet sometimes we don’t even see the people that we meet.
We are woven together by so much more than our God-given natural inclinations. In the beginning, we are pulled out as a brand new screaming baby with innate tendencies, a base thread that will always be there. Then we are raised in a house that reinforces some threads, snips others, and our parents start to make our blanket. Evenually, every other silky, shiny thread, no matter how thin or thick, is given to us from the other people we meet…no matter how seemingly inconsequential.
We are shaped by a jumbled diversity of threads, even if we don’t realize we are. Every person we meet makes us broader, challenges us, asks us to define ourselves or reaffirms beliefs we already had.
In college, there were two dorm-hall friends who I never kept in touch with after freshmen year. We were girls who held each other hard in the trenches of freshman life but then, when the war was over, realized we didn’t have much in common outside of Swisher Hall 2A. Yet they formed me more than I ever gave them credit for. At the time, I wasn’t even aware of how much they influenced me and how meeting them changed me.
The girl down the hall was petite, hippie, free and skipped class to read Beat poetry while still passing class; my roommate had high-quality salon highlights, never missed her weekly tanning bed appointment, and taped General Hospital every day.
I took pieces of their tapesties, which were woven by the people they had met and the parents they had, and teased out the gossamer-strings I liked. Then I wound them tightly into my own fabric until a design I liked started to emerge.
I watched General Hospital every day with my roommate and learned to appreciate how she knew who she was and offered no apologies; I sat, smoking, with the girl down the hall while we listened to Bob Dylan and went to Rusted Root concerts with 20-year-old boys who were so free they wore skirts.
I am proud of both parts of my college-self, even though I ended up solidly in the middle of those two. Having the spectrum to explore was critical to my self-discovery and awareness. If I hadn’t met both of them, perhaps even if I hadn’t met both of them at the same time, I wouldn’t be the design I am today. I never realized how much they gave me at the time, and our meeting was completely happenstance, yet ultimately it was sincerely consequential.
My utlimate design is still in progress. It all depends on who I will meet next, I suppose. But I can’t wait to discover how they will change me, and what I will discover about myself through the richly colored and multi-layered threads they offer me.
And when I write my biography, it will be dense. And probably inaccurate. For who else have I met that I never really saw? Whose threads do I have that I can’t even identify? My tapestry is rich thanks to the people I have met.
This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post.
This week’s sentence is “The people that we meet…”
Finish the Sentence Friday is a link-up hosted by Finding Ninee where writers and bloggers come together to share their themselves with a particular sentence. If you’d like to stay ahead of future sentences and participate, join our Facebook group. Link up your sentence prompts below!