Growing up in Cherry Hill High School East with Gia Gupta


Courtesy of

Cherry Hill High School East.

If someone called me a Transformer, they wouldn’t be quite off. Maybe I’m not exactly a robot that can turn into an automobile, but from my understanding, I’m pretty close.
Sometimes walking into this school, I feel myself transforming, like I put on a mask of this fake persona of myself. When I was recently reading a part for a play in English class, I had this different voice that I couldn’t shake. After I read one line, I would think to myself, okay now, you can speak normally. But then one line after another, the high-pitched, sweet voiced girl emerged. I didn’t know who she was, and I was scared.
I think this school has constructed a different identity for me. I think I project the type of person I want to be, but I don’t even know if that is who I am. Sometimes I will walk out of my classrooms and then just think about everything I did and confront this utter confusion of what just transpired. Because the person I was just then seems like a stranger, with a happiness that seems foreign, with a persona of a faraway woman with somewhat irrelevant, but simultaneously exceedingly important, perfect voice inflection.
Who is she?
Do you ever stop? Just remove yourself from a conversation or just observe what is happening around you. Actually listen to the noises in the cafeteria, tune into your senses, fully engage in the present moment, but remove yourself from the rules, regulations, and pressures of your environment. Only when I stop do I realize how warped everything is. So I try not to stop, I work, and get distracted— or maybe she doesn’t stop, she works, and she distracts herself. Because who even is herself? Because I don’t know her at all.
Does anyone actually know who I am? Do I even know who I am? Does my environment essentially construct who I am? What is the idea of self rooted in? Is there such a thing as a constant self, a fixed identity, a fundamental, constant being that is within that we are expected to find and connect with?
Maybe I’m not really like a Transformer.
I think I’m actually more like a chameleon. I blend into my surroundings, but I don’t fully sacrifice. Some people may meet the philosophical Gia having a crisis in English class, some people may meet the spontaneous breaking out in laughter Gia in Spanish class, some people may meet the quietly sitting Gia in the library, and some people may meet the eternally stressed out about school Gia after school. I said earlier that we were all the same, but we are also all different, we are changed.
But even in the changing of circumstances and adjectives and verbs, the constant is me.
Some crucial, inherent part of me brings me to each new place, each new experience, and sure, maybe if I turned into an automobile I could get there faster, but at least if I stick with who I am, I can say with certainty that I, me, myself, am the one going forward.
So who am I?
I am.