I’ve had this strong suspicion that the first page of a novel, the opening scene of a play or in this case, my first post on my very first blog, should reveal something of what is to come, set the scene so to speak, or at the very least let the audience know who is telling the story. And so when I sat down to write my inaugural post, in this Inaugural season, I sat down with the intent of introducing myself.
I am Sarah Palin’s worst nightmare.
That’s about as far as I got.
One beautifully ambiguous piece of truth, that might refer to my newfound position as an “anonymous blogger,” (a new breed of journalist that apparently embodies everything that is wrong with the American media), my political leanings, a remarkable resemblance to Katie Couric, my elite New England education, some or all of the above. But when it came time to clarify the meaning of the sentence, to indicate if this was a declaration of my intent to eviscerate Governor Palin in my snarky commentary, an announcement of my ability to impersonate a nightly news-anchor, or a rejection of Joe-Six-Pack politics, I stalled.
I have spent a large part of the past couple of years introducing myself. Introductions are, after all, a huge part of your first years in college. It has become second nature to me, the rehearsed replies to the polite questioning of new acquaintances as we exchange our brief biographies before parting ways, whether only for the moment or forever. Courtesy dictates an introduction, and our category-loving brains dictate that we use those few exchanged words to put each other into categories, to place each acquaintance in a mental box neatly labeled “Intense-Pre-Med-from-California” or “Swimming-British-Physics-Major.”
But the wonderful thing about college is that, you are often forced to stick around in the same place with the same people (often in the remarkable torture device that is the college dormitory) for long enough to get to know people beyond their introductory bios. Suddenly, your neat rows of people-boxes get complicated as suddenly someone requires their own box, labeled “Pre-Med- from- California-by-way-of-Taiwan-who-loves-kids-but-hates-babies-and-can’t-wake-up-before-11am-tea-drinking-ramen-eating-loveable-huggable-roomate.” The things that really come to define someone are not the most basic details, but rather the whole person who emerges from them. I’ve had several conversations with the people who have become my closest friends about how wrong our first impressions of each other were; the aforementioned “loveable-huggable roommate” frightened me to no end when she was just an “Intense-Pre-Med-from-California.” Given the choice, I might not have bothered to get to know her and thus missed out on knowing one of my favorite people. I’ve come to see that sometimes the labels we give ourselves in the first words of a new acquaintance are perhaps the worst way to get to know someone.
What I realized as I struggled (for the first time in awhile) to introduce myself in this blog is something that I think my fellow bloggers realized from the beginning; unlike in an everyday chance encounter, in which there is often the obligation to provide an introduction, there is no set of social guidelines that rule the blogosphere (is there?? If there is, please warn me now! Otherwise, freeeeeeedommmmmm!!). I don’t really have to introduce myself. Although felt that I needed to provide some explanation of the places I’ve been and the experiences I’ve had, because they have shaped the perspective I have today, I have the unique opportunity to instead let my words and my thoughts speak, and let you lovely readers decide which box to put me in yourself, eventually. And so I will resist what has become a happy force of habit, avoid any introduction, and remain one of Sarah Palin’s loathed anonymous bloggers. For now.