The unknown familiarity accompanying these countless moments may very well define a person. The crude definitions, alphabetically categorised, are very often based on the clothes worn, the people befriended, and the vocabulary spoken. Because shallowness makes it easier to look, judge, dismiss, and move on. It's easier to ignore and pretend than it is to care. But shallowness is for shallow people, cowards who are afraid to swim in the deep, especially if the water is cold, and the territory is uncharted.
Not that it justifies anything, but the independent life, if you lean too much into it, has the ability to change you. It disguises itself like a little boy on Halloween sniping from behind a tree. Somehow, you start losing sight of who you are and where you came from. But then, sometimes, somewhere in between the accidental overdoses on freedom, you catch a hazy glimpse in the mirror. Because even though distanced from the beautiful smile on the temporary wall, you still find yourself carpeted by warmth, and against all odds, that's the only thing that keeps you going.
That, and the sporadic seconds of tingly happiness.