A few summers ago, my friend visited me in Richmond. While we laid out on the banks of Belle Isle, we discussed our lives and soon discovered there were multiple things we partook in where we could be pigeonholed as being or doing one thing when we really don’t see ourselves that way at all. For example…well, I actually can’t give you an example because they’re all below.
We began to call these our farces. I’m not sure they’re actual farces in the Webster-Merriam sense, but these are the lies we live. Below is a list of superlatives that could be applied to myself, but that I don’t personally associate with (yet I sorta have to):
You could call me a blogger, but I don’t call myself that.
Yes, I run this blog with Sara. And for what it’s worth, I’ve been writing for ATOB for over four years (is that actually true?!). So I know why people call me a blogger – I do manage a blog that I co-own – but I’m not…well, maybe I am…but I’m not a blogger.
I will call myself a writer (a humor writer if we want to be specific), but I never set out to be a blogger, and that is not my career goal. I write online for others’ (and my) enjoyment. When this blog ends, I don’t see myself starting a new blog. I also don’t stay at home and pen about my kids, my kitchen, or my yoga practice. (Look at that, I’m pigeonholing others. The farce continues!)
I don’t even thinking I have “blogging” listed as a LinkedIn skill.
I almost wrote “bruncher” instead, but I decided to be broader. Along with blogging (gasp, do I do that?), I am assumed to be a foodie. After all, this blog is called “As Told Over Brunch.” And brunch happens to be a meal.
Without getting too haughty about it, ATOB is more of a lifestyle blog than a foodie blog. Of course, we do offer restaurant reviews, but I don’t see myself being asked to be a professional food critic anytime soon. In general, Sara and I like to focus on conversation that happens around brunch. Not on the brunch food itself.
But people constantly look to me for food advice. Besides being asked every other week where should you brunch (I really don’t know; it depends on a lot of things), people assume I follow other foodie trends. And for the life of me, I never remember what kimchi is. Obviously I’m not a foodie then.
The only foodie trends I possibly follow are, where is the best pho in town (Pho So 1, so they say) and iced coffee. But I also drink Starbucks and didn’t brew my own coffee until this fall (and I use Kroger generic brand coffee beans!), so I feel I’m just not a foodie. I’m sorry to let you down. We can grab McDonald’s ice cream to make up for it?
This is one of my favorites. I happen to be in a PhD program. That is, in the next two weeks to maybe never, I will be Dr. Williams. This makes people assume I’m super smart, an academic, and have my life figured out.
(Actually, regular readers may have figured out I do not, in fact, have my life together.)
For one, while I have accepted a job, I originally wanted to join the Peace Corps when I get out – something you don’t even necessarily need a bachelor’s for! And my PhD isn’t even in humanitarian affairs or public health. It’s in math. And I am a writer. I am just full of contradictions.
I applied for my PhD program because I could, because I wondered what it was like, because I knew I could get funding in the field. I did not apply because I loved math that much. And in hindsight, that would have been much better motivation. But here I am.
One day I’ll get out. (Actually, I graduate next month. This isn’t a joke.)
Student Government Leader
The past three years I have been heavily involved in student government at my university. I also did student government in undergrad. For being heavily involved, I don’t believe student government is necessary.
Let me rephrase: For those that have attended college, you probably know some student government “leaders” – the students who were elected by their peers, though they probably ran unopposed, and they think they’re making great changes happen on campus. Without them, where would you be as a student body?
That is why I quit student government in undergrad. Nothing the student government does is that integral to student life and most people are full of themselves. And if something is integral, the university has failsafes so that homecoming, commencement, and what-have-you still happen. These things will go on, student government or not.
Yet here I am, former president of my campus’s student government and a part of lot of these “integral” activities. I need to put my foot in my mouth.
Growing up, I was the overweight kid. Then I lost weight by walking. I became the “skinny” kid. When I went to the gym, I hopped on the treadmill or Stairmaster. I did not know what a dumbbell fly was. I could not identify a squat rack.
In the last three years, I’ve become an avid weightlifter. I paused writing that. You see, I lift weights. I’m not a ~weightlifter~. But here I am: the farce. I can’t even remember when exactly I started drinking protein shakes. Don’t I get enough calories without drinking them? And then, one day I started using supplements. Who am I?!
What I’m trying to say is, I lift weights five days a week and have a “leg day” and “chest day” and mix things like creatinine and BCAAs in shaker bottles. I don’t recognize this person. I’m still a bookish writer/wanderlust traveler, not someone who, for all intents and purposes, I would label a meathead.
Seriously, I get super self-conscious about buying protein powder. I have no idea why.
I am now left wondering, am I all these things and just not self-aware? Or is it all a farce?