After reading a few blogs, like Corrin’s, it struck me that all of us probably separate ourselves, unconsciously, into several different selves. Think about it. We all probably act drastically different when out with our friends than we do in class, and deal with our girlfriends (or boyfriends) very differently than we deal with our grandmothers, and our roommates receive a bit less deference (ok, a lot less) than we show our parents. The difference with Jasmine is that each of her selves comes to be defined by the man in her life. Is this healthy? Probably not, no. It seems, at least to me, a defense mechanism to deal with all the horrible things that happen to her (from her first widowing to her beatings and journeys and…you get the idea).
But I know people that do this in real life with no seeming reason for it. Several of my ex-girlfriends, for one, tried to define themselves as my girlfriend, not as a separate individual. There’s a point where it stops being sweet and starts being an escapist tendency.
I’ve done it too. My friends always tend to be very strong characters, and I occasionally just let their actions define what I’m going to do. Occasionally it’s laziness or a lack of a popular idea at the time, but every once in a while it’s a simple matter of being caught up in what they do, whether I actually enjoy the activity or not. Maybe it’s just a matter of being nice, or tolerant, or any number of other positive things, but I don’t generally assert myself well outside of the classroom (since anyone reading this probably just thought “what? He’s always verbose in class…).
But maybe it’s a symptom of not knowing who I am quite yet, much as Jasmine’s constant chameleonic transformations indicate her not being sure. I tend to have several separate collections of friends: one set for church, one for the pool, one for college…the only group that seems to cross twixt all of these are my very few high school companions. They, above all, I think, are what make sure I remain as myself, as the Christian that they’ve watched grow since elementary school together. Jasmine doesn’t have those kinds of attachments though, which is perhaps why she’s so able to redefine herself as often as she does. Her transformations are more drastic than mine ever were, but it’s a reaction to her environment.
Just as we all adapt to our surroundings too.