The 20s are all about being yourself. The thing is who is that, when do you show up the most, and what makes you retreat into yourself? College asks you the toughest question - who are you? What are you made of? Where do you come from? How do you show up? Why are you here? The answers to some may be more obvious than others, and with time they change. Context and comfort come into play. I'm asking what does it mean to be normal; normal is so overrated. I'm abnormally normal.
My life in college is quite possibly the most random compilation of things ever. Like everything you could be involved in, all the people I know, and all the places I've been are just too much to rationally comprehend. I think of it like that whole occupy movement, in this case I would be the so-called one-percent (except I'm not some super rich mythical being). That is a student on campus who gets involved. The rates are astonishing, and I can't even fathom going to college and doing nothing but going to class (if people actually go) and just hanging out (aka partying, skiing, boozing or blowing trees). But I have to remember that the vast majority of students are apathetic, they may not care at all, or more likely as much as I do for the things that I do. It's personal choices that you just respect. People spend their time differently. Then there comes this realization that there's a small group of student leaders (not self-proclaimed just those who chose to rise to the challenge) who are involved all over, in everything and with everyone. You know who they are, the same people who go to everything and magically appear everywhere. It's like an unofficial society of overachievers. It's a tough life but one I chose. There was no way I was going to be "normal" - that is the average student, disengaged, and out of touch with the larger university as a whole. The opportunities here are endless if only you capitalize on them. Resourcefulness that is the capability to be courageous, go out of your comfort zone, be seen as not normal, ask for help, do things for yourself, and make change happen - that's what I've come to see in not myself by various colleagues in this non-existent move makers club. The choice is yours, you write your own college story. I'm living mine with no regrets. Doing all the things (I mean all the damn things) I enjoy and making a difference. I accept that I'm weird. I'm the anomaly. I'm the voice. I'm the one who stands out, but also and more importantly up in a crowd. I'm abnormally normal, take me or leave me as a I am.
This past week has been a hectic one (my college story is nothing more than a colossal combustion of craziness), as per usual. On top of classes (yes, I go to all my classes) all my extra-curriculars have started up and I've been doing all the duties possible in being active, supporting my fellow people, and just doing me. This first year class seems to be infatuated with me, but specifically the idea of me or in other words what I seem to represent - that is, the go-getter, noise-maker, totally mainstream but in the most unconventional possible. From meetings, to walking around campus, tabling, talking to random people and all the awkward social interactions in between - I'm doing me. I can talk. I'm not afraid to use my voice (no matter what form of it that may be) and I'm always ready to get my hands dirty. That initial fear of doing anything is gone. I'm here, I'm making waves and hanging out, on my own terms. This institution of higher learning is a wild place. It's the coolest and safest but also the most dangerous and terrifying place I've ever been. It's fantastic and awful. It's genuine and fake at the same time. It's where I show up more than I ever have before (that is a lower-upperclass straight African-American Christian able-bodied male) and not at all in the same ways. Some identities are more prevalent than others. The context matters. How people see and treat me matters. How I share myself matters. Normal is nothing more than a social construct of affirmations of a the dominant social identities, straight, white, male, middle-class, able-bodied, American (the European kind), and all the privileges that come with all of that. The rights to be oblivious to what goes on, the be entitled in certain situations, to be fearless, to be accepted, to be seen as you (all of you) and not an idea base on stereotypes. Who are you? Who does society tell you to be? All questions to be asked and answered. This is the place to do that. Get abnormally normal.
The 20s are all about understanding yourself not only in the context of what actually comprises who you are but who you show up in a space. It's so very important to figure yourself out. To be conscious of you are at all times. What does it mean to be you? What are the facts of your life? What's up for change and what else is non-negotiable? Only you can decide. This is the place to do it, and the time is now. Abnormally normal or bust.
My blog post question for the day is ... what identity do people see from you most? Honestly, my racial background that is my non-whiteness, especially at
my university is my most visible identity.