There was a Haxor Skool get together tonight. It was the first time we all really hung out, away from the classroom, in a mingling environment. I met someone from UT, and as I was introducing myself, I realized that I don't tell anyone about plan II any more. And in that, I was, by omission writing it out of my story. It's ironic when you think about it though. Most of my college friends and experiences, in some way, were related to plan II. I got more from plan II, and Portuguese really, than I did from any of the other majors that I profess to be. Really, it says more about me than "Management Information Systems". It's a truer representation. But I'm writing it out...
In a way, Haxor Skool reminds me of plan II. The people are all smarter than me. We're all driven, fun, dynamic and interested people with a love for learning. It makes me wonder what experiences I truly missed while I was pretending to be more than "Plan II". Because honestly, that's what I am. I am a plan IIer, maybe even more so than a haxorskooler. I love learning and discussing systems, meta thoughts, psychologies. I'm obsessed with identities and cultures, almost to a fault. I want to talk to people about how they see the world, what they think of thinking, how programming is changing the world.
As much as it may, or may not, be a 'true representation' of myself, I am writing it out. And in the act of doing so I find, by accident really, that I have the power to do just that. To write Plan II out. With that recognition, comes the realization of responsibility -- that my story is my own.
To understand why this is so revolutionary, you have to understand that implicitly I'd always expected someone else to be keeping track of my life, writing the life story of me in the memory of someone else. I'm not sure who; just someone. So it didn't matter if tonight I didn't explain that I did Plan II, or that I was on cross country in high school, or that I'm trilingual, or one of a hundred other facts about me and my life, someone would know. They would tell that story, to this person, if I didn't. My reputation, my story, my history would be told, with or without me. Right?
Looking around, though I don't see that someone. And that's just it: that someone doesn't exist. The ghost writer that I've been expecting to find is actually me -- I am the author and bookkeeper of my own story. My story, without me, goes untold. But just as amazing, as author, I have the power to write it as I go. Not the history part, not really. What's done is done. But how much of that affects or is brought into the present, what's brought to light in the now -- that's my responsibility, my power. No one here knows the whole story of me. And how can they? In college, no one fully knew the whole story of high school. And no one in high school fully knew the whole story of my childhood. My oldest friend, who's known me since middle school, makes up parts of our history together. (Literally, has memories of me that couldn't have possibly happened since I lived in a different city at the time). There is no one that knows the whole history of me. Not one, single person.
So I have to ask. If I am the only person who knows my history, how much of it actually matters? I mean, as we carry ourselves forward in time, what do the people we've met and the places we've been mean? If you cut all ties, drop your email, shut the face book, change your number, move to a new place, what's left?
Just you. But, who are you? The more I ask myself this, I find that it's not where I've been, or what I've done, or who I know, but the kinds of people that I enjoy spending time with. The conversations that I want to have. The food that I enjoy eating. What I want to do with my spare time. How I want to interact with the people that I've met on the subway, on the street, at bars, meetups, book clubs. The experiences that I want to have, the emotions that I want to feel. What matters, then, is just that - and that is who I am. That, the things that I want, and that I feel and I experience -- that's me.
The job of recording our stories may be ours. We are our own bookkeepers, written, if you're smart, in your own identity. But writing stories, alone, is lonely work.
As a former self said it best: "True love is that that saves you the trouble of writing an autobiography".
Jul 17, 2012
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