When I Became Me
On the Honeymooners’ television episodes, Ralph Kramden presented three distinct personas: the fumbling, meek individual when in the presence of authority, the brash, loud, in-charge individual when in the company of friends, particularly with his upstairs neighbor Ed Norton (his Sancho Panza), and lastly, the at-times, also brash, loud, firm husband who ACTED like he was in charge (but knew better) to wife Alice. It was the brilliancy of actor Jackie Gleason that Ralph Kramden was able to consistently delineate these three separate-but-equal characterizations from one scene to the next. Gleason allowed his character to conform to the social backdrop that presented itself, assuming viewers would understand the real Ralph Kramden existed within the confines of his humble apartment.
The real you: it’s a personal journey. Though that statement appears self-evidentiary, simply because it is so personal is what makes it undiscoverable to anyone else. No one can comprehend the mindset of your intimate thoughts, experiences or emotions. Words can only express so much of the inner soul.
From very young it becomes a quest to discover ourselves. Family, culture and environment all play an integral part towards molding the identity you will become. There are those who “find” themselves early; gifted individuals who have a voice from a young age and maintain that voice throughout their life. Brilliant and highly creative people generally fit this description. But for most of us, maturity is usually the defining apex of learning who we truly are. Until then it’s common within the human experience to present muliple personalities, each one adapted to a role that comes to the forefront depending on the social situation we find ourselves in.
Life, much like Ralph Kramden on the The Honeymooners, requires us to wear many faces. Particularly in the fast-paced world of the early twenty-first century. The who-we-are that we draw forth is predicated on the where-we-are, or the who-we’re-with. Finding ourselves tongue-tied is often the result of being in a situation unfamiliar to any of the multiple personalities that reside in our psyche, waiting to take their place as us when called upon.
Aging, and/or maturity (often not the same thing) is a potent factor in self-discovery. Aging simply because our responsibilities become greatly diminished, our social contacts minimize. The stored personas fade from lack of use and the lines between moral distinction fall away. What results is the melding towards one distinct voice, and the individual becomes who they really are.Whether it’s a pleasant, calm, soft-spoken and friendly person or a bitter, often nasty and beligerent one depends on the individual life experiences and what vociferation they allowed to become dominant.
Maturity singularizes your presentation to all people and situations by allowing you to realize the strength of one voice, presenting a united front and dismissing any consequences by refusing to surface anything but who you definitively are.
Bottom line is: never stop seeking the single voice inside that represents you in all facets of living. Streamlining your personality into one inclusive persona will allow the world to understand and accept you for you. If they don’t, then move on; there is no need to offer an alternative you to please anyone. Be yourself. Always.
RjCook is the author of The Road Behind Me & Dream Lover and Other Tales. Click HERE for info.