I've learned that I am whoever someone wants me to be.
Growing up in the South you know exactly where you are supposed to fit. As a child you are seen and not heard. As a girl you are helpful and accommodating. As a black person you are vigilant and hardworking. As a queer person you are silent and invisible. Being at the intersection of all these identities, I learned how to transform into what my surroundings required me to be.
But I'm no longer in those surroundings. And I find myself still following some of the same rules.
If I'm in a mostly white space I'll pull up my white culture mask. If I'm in a mostly male space I'll put on my either flirty or "don't fuck with me' mask. But I only allow myself to be my full self around a small amount of people if I'm not alone. Dating is when I segment myself the most. I'm more likely to give a potential partner what I think they want from me, and while majority of the time I'm right I'm not necessarily happy about it.
It's easier for me to give you what you want or need than to give you who I actually am.
Because if I give you who I am and you don't want it, I'm not only pissed (because you have no idea how much work I put into these damn personas) but also sad that I missed the opportunity to be true to myself and find a meaningful connection. Convincing people that I'm great based off of my representative isn't really worth it. When I eventually drop the facade, what will they do? Be understanding?
As usual, I don't know what I'm going to do with this information. But maybe we can have discussions about how you guys feel.