I’ve been doing weekly blog posts for an Autoethnography class this semester. And, uh, since I have nothing else to put up here (sorry sorry sorry) I figured I’d do some cross-posting. Sorry, y’all. I’ve been feeling mightily uninspired lately. This week’s prompt asked us to describe ourselves, what we like and don’t like about ourselves, and how graduate school has changed our self-perception. So. Here’s something!
In the eighth grade, my Honors English class did a ‘Compliment Your Classmates!’ project. We spent one class period writing down one thing we appreciated or admired about everyone in the room, then distributed our notes. Every single person said I was “quiet”. Most of them wrote that I was “quite”. Some kids added that I was ‘really smart’ and ‘nice’. This project did not have the intended effect of making me feel good about myself. It just reaffirmed in my mind that I really really hated everyone. Quiet is not even a compliment! I was so annoyed. Not only had every single one of these kids given me a misspelled ‘compliment’, they had also failed to imagine me complexly. Quiet? Jesus.
And yet, I think that were we to do the same activity in our class, I would probably get the exact same results… hopefully with better spelling. I never think of myself as quiet, though I suppose it’s an apt descriptor. Personally, I find myself hilarious. I crack myself up all day long, just by making wry observations about the people and places around me. I usually keep these comments to myself. My humor is incredibly dry and sardonic. Most people don’t get it. They don’t associate Quiet with Funny, and assume I’m being utterly serious. Still, I would estimate that about 95% of the things that come out of my mouth are meant to be jokes. People who think they’re funny probably aren’t, but I still find myself endlessly amusing.
I had a few bumpy teenage years of disordered eating and self-harm. I remember sitting in my very first college class (here at CSU!) talking about The Bell Jar. I didn’t want to be like Esther so I decided to love myself on my way back to the dorms. That sounds rather trite and glib, but it’s how I remember it. It took longer to change my mindset than to change my habits. It was easy to choose to take care of myself (it’s not easy for everyone, so I feel grateful there) but it was difficult to feel okay with my choices. Anyway, all of that is largely why I don’t engage about conversations around body hate. I’m not going to risk my health and happiness by contributing to the dialogue around self-hatred. You know what I learned about today? Elective cosmetic surgeries on vaginas. Designer vaginas. A huge number of women hate their vaginas so much they’re having completely unnecessary surgeries to make their parts look smaller. I mean, REALLY!? (Where’s Seth Meyers?) As if there weren’t enough things we’re told to hate about ourselves! I’ll just be over here loving myself- all of myself, including my non-designer vagina.
I think graduate school has been detrimental to my self-perception. My entire life has been spent in school, and I’m tired of being defined by that. It doesn’t help that when people ask what Rhetoric and Composition even is, I have no answer other than, “Yeah, man, I still don’t really know.” I fill a lot of roles in my daily life. There are lots of ways I could describe myself to you, but none of them feel completely right. I’m 22. Did anyone know who they were at 22? Does anyone know who they are, ever?
I guess I know this much: I’m Lydia Page. I’m quite.