My Beautiful Wickedness

Must be something going around.
June 4, 2007, 7:55 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Recent posts at Betsy’s and Imfunnytoo’s got me thinking. It’s the problem of self, which has always been a weird thing for me. My extended family is huge by US standards (though my Ghanaian friends and I have plenty in common) and I was reared to see myself in that social context. You knew who you were by looking at the younger kids. You knew who you might become by looking to the older ones — cautionary tales, a system of metaphoric references were in place. You knew what it meant to “lean to the Frazier New Ground,” because the Fraziers were a family my grandparents used to sharecrop for and the New Ground was uphill both ways. You knew what it meant when someone said that an angry woman went “crazy like Sally.” No need to tell anyone what the cause was for her anger — we all knew that the person in question had caught her husband with another woman and beat the hell out of him. Families are language systems, our mother-tongue.

No matter where I moved or what I learned, family was the dominant framework within which I understood myself. Then I went to grad school and moved away in socio-economic as well as geographic terms. I had a terrible time in grad school. The process aimed to create individual thinkers, but ones that approached their analyses with certain presumptions. I battled with the class assumptions of my profession; I think I fought them to a draw but they might have won. I don’t know for sure.

During the time I was having this battle, I was falling in love and getting married and having a child. A third integrated self emerged that contained all of the things above. I didn’t bother reconciling contradictions, just surfed them as they came.

So I am now at least tripled — the person I am when I travel to see them and the person I am when I am at professional conferences, and the person I am at rest.

Others talk about performing on their blog about the person they want to be or the person they want others to believe that they are. I’m probably most like the daily me when I come on-line. It’s where the bookish me intersects fully with the person who can butcher a chicken and do a little political research on the side. That’s all me, all at once. In the last week or two, I’ve had some on-line interactions where others have made me feel badly about this simultaneity — like I was violating some sort of unspoken rule by merging the serious with the profane and the practical with the silly. This just makes me realize that I don’t use the phrase “kiss my ass” nearly enough. Ehyeh. Ayam Atma Brahma.

I don’t have what you’d call secrets worth worrying about because they take too much energy and I’ve got other things that matter more to me than being secretive. I don’t have much mystery or drama about me. I’m broke (who isn’t?). I have my ups and downs. Whatever you walk away from the blog with — she’s sort of self-important and earnest, she sure likes to run off at the mouth, she’s read a lot of books, she ain’t shy about what she thinks, she’s kind of uppitty, or whatever — I’m good with that. I am guessing that just happens as you get older. It’s not so much you get comfortable with who you are. I don’t know. You just realize that you have to start giving it a go with whatever you’ve got and stop waiting around to feel ready for it. And then you get busy doing and forget all about how you’re appearing.

I had a point here but lost it. And now I’ve got to go work. Maybe I’ll come back to this later and try again.


2 Comments so far
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Indeed. I had my own “Sweet Home Alabama” moment (sans chick-flick love story) over the weekend.

It touched me so deeply, immersing myself in roots I had completely lost from my life, that I can’t yet blog about it.

Comment by Slartibartfast

[…] Okay, back on track. What I mean is that reading Bridgett’s post today has helped me wrap my head around this whole thing in a way that’s useful to me. My extended […]

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