The Enemy Is Within, Don’t Confuse Me With Him

30 August 2006

A major problem is making itself known.

kickballSince when do I spew out lines of the sleazy game show host variety? I hear myself say shit like “she’s fallen off the face of the planet!” with all the panache of a desperate traveling salesman with a sales-hungry erection and an ashamed panic kicks in. I find myself catering to what I feel people desire, but it manifests in a terribly off-putting way. As soon as the words leak from my face opening, I recognize that they are not clever or witty but instead come off as desperate. I am not this person, an eager beaver eager to please. While it is true that I have retained a desire to please others from my childhood playground “please don’t pick me last for kickball” (What was the logic used in creating this process? “Let’s teach children how to rank their peers!”) insecurities, I made a lot of progress in the last year and a half in terms of stretching out and creating my own identity, only to find that it has begun to erode out from beneath my feet this summer. What is the culprit?

I hate to pin blame… hell, who am I kidding, I smell a rat, and it smells like Residence Life. If any organization encourages an “eager to please” response to any and every situation, it is Residence Life. And, when I take into account that my behavior worsened and made itself apparent this month – a time when my Residence Life workload has increased tenfold – and the fact that when I’m not spouting Carson Daly-esque garbage, I’m sighing and complaining of the stresses and expectations of the Res, well, there’s little room for doubt. Thankfully, I’m done in three days, so I’ll be monitoring my process.

There may be one other thing to consider. Coming to Augsburg was the first time that I left the name that I had been called the entire span of my remembered life (“Tiffer”, a nickname assigned by my older sister and cemented by a mother who found it too cute to deny) and took up a more conventional name (“Chris”, established in an attempt to be taken more seriously). Could I finally be feeling the aftershocks of that decision? If so, I fear it may be too late to turn back now – while I don’t feel a strong connection to “Chris”, “Tiffer” feels too distant, as if a remnant of a former life. It seems I may have to make “Chris” my own if there is any hope to retain the individual I was becoming so proud to be – well, that, and survive my last days of Residence Life with a sense of humor and a pause before I open my mouth.

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