I never thought I was that influenceable. I mocked it in others; I had a friend once whose personality changed with whomever she was dating. I’d inwardly roll my eyes with each new beau, knowing that our studious, church-going pal was about to become quite the socialite now that she was dating the partying football player. And yet I sit here listening to this music I’m trying to like, trying to claim as my own because I know he likes it. To find some kinship with someone in something they love even when I think it may just be a costume disguising my true identity as a fraud.
How do we choose what is ours and ours alone? What part of us is authentic, original, uninfluenced by the preferences and choices of another?
When people meet and start dating, there’s a natural give and take, a normal, almost subconscious merging of predilections, likes and dislikes. He hates sushi; you find yourself avoiding Japanese restaurants. Your CD takes center stage on road trips; for me, it’s imperative that they understand what moves me, especially in music, and it’s only natural that I look for reciprocation. The give and take, this blending of people, is what adds life to the relationship; yours becomes his becomes ours.
And so I sit and breathe in these lyrics, trying to understand him more, through the distance and the many miles that separate us, trying to identify with his joy and pain and see what is at the very crux of who he is without having to ask. Because I need to know him, need to know this, need to know what could become mine, and if that’s even something I want.