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Who Are You?

By: Emma Callahan

I’d rolled my eyes as my classmates talked about the election. I was in awe of how different their views were from mine. It angered me, yet I was facsinated;  I wanted to know where their opinions stemmed from. What was behind their ill-advised speech? It was in the midst of the 2020 election, a time where opinions were dangerous. I like to say I’m an independent person, with my own constructed views, but there is still a piece of me that will always need my mothers approval; in fact there are pieces of everyone that are not their own. Ideas that stem from elsewhere, thoughts from other minds, speech that is repeated and passed on; Is anybody truly genuine, or are we all imposters, clones of our neighbors?


Humans are impressionable creatures. Their nature to follow can be seen from a very early age. I used to babysit a little girl (5) and a little boy (2) . As I spent more time with the kids, I noticed the boy would always follow the girl. He would walk like she did, he would talk like she did, he would even play like she did. According to Dr. Pamela Varedy, a clinical psychologist, she addressed what I had noticed: “They want to look like them, act like them and mostly want their approval”. Although I found this adorable and innocent, I couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for the little boy.  I didn’t know who he was. I babysat him for all his life and I didn't even know who he was.  


Everyone is insecure, hence why everyone desires approval from others. It is humanity's need for approval that contributes to conformity. When I was a little kid my mother used to dress me everyday; as I’m sure many other mothers did for their own children. Although my mother does not dress me today, I still crave her advice, I still need her approval. This is no different from the teenagers who dress for their mother's disapproval. In both cases the mother has great influence on a teenager,  whether it is to rebel or to conform; neither of these teens dress for themself. 


As children grow up and move into the real world, they may establish a greater sense of identity. However is it really their own identity to discover?  Adolescents are so very easily influenced, there is no individuality regardless of how hard people try “to be different”. Friends often morph into each other; to the extent where they are one. As someone who has had different best friends, I admit to changing my personality slightly with each friendship. It’s not like I do it purposely, it just happens; just as a song gets stuck in your head, you can’t stop singing it. 


Is anybody anyone?


“Where you lead, I will follow, anywhere that you tell me too,” (Where You Lead, by Carole King).

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