I still curve my g's the way my first grade teacher taught me. I'm sure you do too. I still consistently attempt to make my p's and q's symmetrical, the same way that my ex-best friend, Dylan, taught me. The small effects that people have had on something as simple as my handwriting, created and evolved by the introduction of so many people's touch - It's such a complicated concept to grasp, that everything comes from somewhere. No matter how tiny, it all has a meaning, an origin. Somewhere, someone, something caused it. Everything is a cause, and everything is an effect. Not one person is fully unique. Not one person has anything completely original to them. We, as humans, are simply a coarse, gritty mix of all that's happened to us.

         All I am is what I know. Everything of mine is a combination of all that came from others. My g's, my p's and q's, the missing dot above my i's. My even my handwriting isn't mine - it belongs to so many people, split evenly between all who created it. If you think back hard enough, think about all the small experiences you've lived through, you'll realize, it's not only me. Your handwriting comes from tons of people, places, and experiences, too. The way you write your q's is different from mine. Something as miniscule and unnoticeable as the angle of the curve at the bottom of your g's and y's will differ from a stranger's. All of it, every small difference, came from somewhere. 

         I didn't realize until recently that all I am is comprised solely of what others once were. Everything about me came from somewhere. Each and every one of my hopes and dreams have an origin. Something someone said, something someone did. Somewhere I saw, somewhere I went. Each and every little 'quirk' of mine came from something. I'm not original. You're not original. 

        As I've grown up, I've realized how much every situation, every conversation, every aspiration of what I can be is all inspired by the people I once knew. To this day, they run my inner dialogue, my thoughts, and my mind. What created you? What decided what you enjoy? Even though part of it is me, the "me" I know is simply the likes, dislikes, thoughts, and opinions of those whom I've previously met, everyone I've ever loved. 

        Everything I've done was in order to please others, to appease someone. To fulfill the dreams which they could never reach. Everything I do, I do because other people have influenced me to do so. I am influenced easily, and so are you. Being influenced easily isn't just about being a pushover when people ask you for a favor. Anything anyone does that leaves a mark or an impression on you is an influence, something that leads you to do, believe, or to think a certain way about something. Everything influences everyone.

        Even what I consider my favorite part of myself isn't me. My theatrical presence, my expression - it's all nothing but a combination of hundreds of acting tactics and strategies used by actors whom I've admired. My peers and idols lead me in all that I do. Each time I watch a show, I pick up ideas, strategies, tactics from it. Subconsciously, yes - but coming from "future me," it's easy to tell where exactly my acting style has come from. My acting puts together so many ideas and concepts to form one style - one cohesive brand of who I am as an actor, what I portray as my character. 

        You should be proud to hold the touch of so many people with you, excited to make good of the legacy of those you've lost, glad that you can carry them with you through something as simple as the way you act. Proud of everyone's legacy living with you, your entire being having been marked by the care of the people you once loved. Any bit of you that is "taken" from someone else is intended to be loved, meant to be cherished and adored. 

        Each part of you has multiple lifetimes, generations of depth and meaning to it. Every bit of you belongs, at least a little bit, to someone else. You have ferociously deep bonds and connections with people, and, chances are, you don't even know it. Your legacy will live on with more people than you could ever imagine. Everything you do makes an impression on someone, and; every so often, your impression gets passed on. Somewhere, someone has some tiny little thing they picked up from you, some quirk or habit they unintentionally stole, and you don't even know it. How many people's legacies do you hold?

AL - originally written 10/16/23



15 years old

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