There are many benefits to being a social chameleon.
It's a skill not everyone has.
The ability to glide into a room and fit in as if you were manufactured specifically to blend in with whoever happened to surround you at the moment is a gift.
People smile at your entrance, gravitate toward your presence and chuckle once or twice when you contribute a witty piece to the conversation.
Information on what to say and how to act seems to float in the air, and all you have to do is breathe it in. Absorb the moment. It's hardly a lonely place to be.
Invitations are thrown your way and organization is required to balance everything and everyone into your schedule. People like to be around someone that is confident, adaptable and interesting. Social chameleons are like that.
But sometimes, after the get together when you get home there is a deflated feeling. Like Cinderella finding her ballroom gown has wilted back to rags, and you realize you're so good at wearing masks you've somehow forgotten who's hiding underneath.
What is the colour of a chameleon anyway?
I think they're brown; not chocolate brown. but murky brown. They're prettier when they have something behind them, something they can imitate and reflect. That's when they're beautiful.
Changing colours can get addicting, when you learn the tricks.
There is instant gratification in being accepted and appreciated for what you bring to each party or hang out; a feeling that you are loved by not just a handful of true friends, but by a mass. a crowd.
You come to expect the attention and the distraction. You'll be hanging out with some people while communicating with others.
Each group satisfies a certain facet of your personality and you come to need that. Yet somehow there is a superficiality that leaves you hollow when you're sitting alone at home.
Who is the chameleon? I'm not saying it's not possible to have a solid personality when you're used to juggling so many.
I'm not saying that having a hundred or more different friends means that you're spontaneous and indecisive.
I guess I'm saying it can be tiring. And that when you learn to use noise and colour around you to pick up your cues and make your choices, you need to make sure that you can still exist, grow and thrive in the serene silence of your independent identity.
Knowing who you are - completely separate from what everyone else is saying - is a sign that you can think for yourself and it can take away the necessity of wearing a mask.
Anna Toth is a J.N. Burnett graduate and currently attends UBC.