I remember when I was in high school. When it came to fitting in with all the different peer groups that made up the school’s population, most individuals got along with everyone outside of their circle, but they always had that close set of friends that accepted their individuality and created a comfortable environment for everyone in the clique to just be themselves.

Yet there were always a few folks that stuck out like a sore thumb. Those individuals who for one reason or another never owned their distinctiveness or appreciated the idea of bringing something new to the table. They could be anyone they wanted to be and chose that road more often then not. There’s was a life of bouncing around from identity to identity, rather than opting to flourish in their own skin or relish in the unique beauty that comes with embracing one’s identity. Because of this, they seemingly subbed as a chameleon for whatever group they encountered during the duration of each school year.

Whether it was a Tuesday and they were organizing a PETA rally and eating tofu with their vegetarian friends, or contradicting their life as a vegan on a Friday, when at an Applebees swilling down cokes and smashing double cheeseburgers after the football game. Their life of swaying in the wind like a pendulum or flip-flopping around identities is where I realized the difference between adapting to your environment and changing who you are for the sole purpose of fitting in.

I learned to aptly refer to these individuals as a Quick Change Artist, because I believe there’s an art to masking one’s true identity for the sake of garnering an artificial acceptance. In reality, there’s nothing rare about art, especially when you consider the surplus of creations. But remember, not every painting gets sold, nor does every sketch go home to the highest bidder. So you can either be classified as a Work of Art for owning your individuality or likely suffer the consequence of living a life trapped in the Art of Confusion.

Take for instance life in the workforce. Our day-to-day journey will always bring about a promise of challenges and obstacles, so it’s a given that adjusting and adapting to different personalities is a major part of the territory. But also note that there’s a distinct difference between learning to get along with someone like the semi-racist who sits next to your cubicle, to actually joining them for lunch and pretending you agree with his or her level or thinking even when you know they likely despise you.

For the Quick Change Artist, living is a continual struggle even with something as simple as my example of encountering a multitude of different personalities in the workforce. So rather than actually taking that risk of being accepted for who they are individually under any circumstance, they’d rather change the person they are in order to fit in with every circumstance.

In a sense, for them, the idea of being “who I am” is solely determined by their current environment. This leaves their distinction to become a victim to the common changes in the directional flow of the wind.

But don’t get me wrong…

I’ve never been a person who believes that one should be bound or rather “shackled” to a label or an idea. I’ve been known to teeter a bit myself when it comes to style, personal preference and even some of the choices I make when trying to decide whether I should live on the edge or keep it reserved for the evening. I consider that a normal part of life and don’t widen my eyes if I find myself or see my friends opting to let loose or try something new on an occasion.

There is always room to grow, and as an adult growing is truly a necessary part of living.

We’re expected to test the waters and move past the tide in search of that calm place where we’re not always swimming against the current. That comfortable area where every question that arises never leads us towards determining whether we should “Sink or Swim,” because when you have accepted yourself, that answer has already been established.

As we amass more knowledge, encounter love, heartbreak, struggle and triumph we grow into ourselves and become who we are as individuals. But the one thing that remains the same about me and many others who have a knowledge and depth of their inner person, is that even if we drink a sprite today and then sip on a rum and coke tomorrow, when it comes to who we are inside, there should never be a reason to raise a question or ponder on any aspect of us knowing the heart of our personality. Your identity should always be centered even when its hard for others to define you.

So if your life is a game of useless “Art”, like the trappings of living as a Quick Change Artist, then you need to understand every risk that goes into the world of duplicating the beauty of an original piece of artwork. You see, being yourself and remaining true to each brush stroke is what courts a Sketch on page towards the marriage of a being defined a Masterpiece. Yet when you’re struggling with a single identity and continually flopping around in the paint, it can take the beauty out of being abstract and provide those who may appreciate you, an unfortunate loss in translation.

When it’s all said and done and you’re left facing the world head on with only the strength in knowing yourself as your only source of ammunition, than owning and knowing the beauty of “you” is the best answer to solve any equation. But if you’re a person who embraces a hollow shell rather then curbing what’s artificial to bring about some solidity to your vacant personality, then not only are you robbing the world of knowing who you are, but you’re also doing yourself an injustice by never loving who you are, for that person you are inside.

So I ask the Clutchettes and Gents. . . Who are you?

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  • MzVia

    lol @ the last comment I thought the girl on the left looks like jordin sparks…could it have something to do with pple appearing to be who they are not? Reading too much into it :). In any case I am a victim of the Q.C.A as so thoughtfully put. Unfortunately I have had two very close friends change on me. I noticed that one was a certain way with me, she was a light drinker and didn’t smoke next thing I know she gets with this guy..suddenly she’s popping down coronas and smoking…am like hmm…am confused. Our friendship soon faded as she took on the identity of the guy she’s with at the moment. The other girl just shocked me beyond belief. In front of me she was sweet and kind but with other pple she was totally a b*tch and reckless. Our friendship ended when she amongst other things in essence stole from me . I understand that experimenting to find our niche is a normal part of growing however each person has a set of ways that kind of defines them. Your friends shouldn’t have to be confused when they see u with others. On another note I think that the Q.C.A may have self esteem issues and sooner or later pple will catch on to the facade and disappear. I got so fed up that I bought a shirt thats says “be who you are!” I rock it proudly.

  • Geneva

    This was a well written and thought of piece, I guess because I feel as if you wrote it just for me. My best friend does this mess, all the time, and I guess the reason Ive remained friends with her for so long and through the BS is because, for lack of a better way of puttin it, I feel sorry for her. But not sorry for her in the sense that I stay her friend for that reason, but sorry like I know shes had a bad past so I take the bad with the good and deal with that aspect of her personality that I cant stand. I hope and feel that with me shes herself, and then when she change for other people, thats all pretend.

    @Msvia. Well put. I agree with u about the self esteem stuff.

  • ceecee

    @ Alaina, I don’t doubt that there are QCAs. but looking through the comments, Lexi is the only one who has self identified as one! I think that’s funny, maybe a lot of people are in denial…

  • Famous Fya

    Ok well this article basically seemed pointless cluth, wtf? If the writer is observing that someone in her circle is going through a living hell then be a friend, dont try to be freelance makeshift psychologist, its a waste of time and peoples hard worked for schooling. A more personal and HUMBLE approach would have been appreciated “Hey sisters I have this friend…. what do YALL think? what are some PROFESSIONAL opinions? Who does this writer think she is? Lord….Good luck with future articles though.

  • Geneva

    LOL Famous! I think you missed the complete point about Clutch and its articles. Most of the articles here that Ive read which has been a lot, although I rarely every comment because I just like to stay in the hush, the writers take a more personal angle to their work by sharing their personal stories or feelings on a subject. I think writing about what you know is as equivalent as authors writing books about what they know or filmmakers writing scripts or something about their personal experiences.

    I think your comment was super rude, and almost unnecessary, and it makes me wonder if you’re the friend she was talking about or maybe if the article just struck or chord with you.

    I think it’s a valid topic, and one everyone has experienced or been through, and I guess I like Clutches article diversity because they keep something fresh and unthought of that most of these lame websites out here fail to do.

    No need to go around attacking people just to make an opinion, I hear you, but I think you need to learn a little etiquette maybe because your point was surely missed. : )