Self Identification

People really have difficulty identifying themselves these days. It involves a lot more than simply writing a name down on a piece of paper or looking at a reflection in the mirror. No, people change even the most simple characteristics about themselves. Almost everyone embellishes their natural qualities. Normally I would not find this problematic, but recently I've taken to thinking about how extreme some people take these metamorpheses.

Most people know me as Aly, not my full name, Alyson. I have no problem with the name Alyson, but if people would begin to call me Alyson at this point in the game, it would feel strange because I have identified myself with the name Aly for years now. Some people knock out their first names completely and go by their middle names. Others have a nickname that sounds nothing like their first, middle, or last names. Some people create a name to go with a new persona that they have created for themselves. They want no remnents of the previous version of themselves, so of course they need a new name.

Now, onto the reflection part. Hardly anybody maintains the look that they had upon first waking up and peering into a mirror. To a certain degree, this is natural. My hair sticks up in all sorts of directions when I wake up sometimes, and of course I would not want to go out looking that way. Yes, sometimes I wear a little bit of makeup, but I don't wear it all of the time and it's not a lot. Others have turned makeup into a lifestyle, into something they absolutely (think that they) cannot survive without. People will not leave the house without their foundation, concealer, lipstick, or whatever it is they choose to use in order to change their appearance. Oh, how could I forget about bronzer? Some people feel the need to look tan even in the winter time. Snow on the ground? Who cares? These people still need to have that skin tone; pale went out of style. Forget bronzer, what about tanning salons? People lay down on a bed (or stand up in a booth) and allow dangerous rays to seep into their skin just for the purpose of what they consider beauty. Some people look completely different, almost unrecognizable, after these transformations.

This occurs in photography at well. Some of the most beautiful people hardly ever find satisfaction in pictures of themselves. Well now, nobody needs to worry because we live in the era of Photoshop. I have even used it for the purpose of removing red-eye from otherwise perfect pictures. Others take it to a higher level. Bad picture? Don't discard it, change it! Erase all of the imperfections and replace them with perfect features. These new features do not genuinely belong to you, but what does that matter? Your picture looks the way you wanted it to now. Does that present a problem? Do too many people have the desire to look like someone else? Even models in magazines have their pictures airbrushed time and time again. Half of the time, the picture probably looked decent before the change, but people strive for perfection instead of reality.

What happens when it comes time for people to describe themselves? I got bored last night and went on Myspace and read some peoples' "about me" sections. Many people (not surprisingly) have trouble filling out a short description about themselves. How does anyone know which qualities to include and which to omit? What one person finds important, another person might not care about and skim over instead of reading carefully. Besides, can reading an "about me," or an "about the author," or anything like that, really introduce you to a person's character? I don't think so. I think it takes a lot of effort from both parties to actually get to know someone. I just don't know how many people are up for the challenge.

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