Who I Am | Teen Ink

Who I Am

January 12, 2008
By Anonymous

I am an aesthetic:

I have to admire the impeccably dressed mannequins making their debut in department stores and the contoured lines of that perfect dress. I love the shapes and cuts that flatter and accentuate, even splashes of color and pools of paisley and the slimming elegance of all black. But somehow professing these things immediately declassifies me as a bona fide academic and slips me into another category altogether, as if having a Coach purse and maintaining a 4.0 GPA are mutually exclusive.

I am a poet:

There is nothing more beautiful than the pristine arrangement of amino acids and peptide bonds that fold and pleat and become the helixes of immaculate order: proteins that determine the formation of hemoglobin that allows my body to breathe, which in turn grants my mind the gift of life and love and experiences of the “puddle-wonderful”. Cummings neared this stratum of innate harmony and subtle rhythm when he wrote that “life's not a paragraph/And death i think is no parenthesis,” but the prose of Steinbeck and Dickens and Twain pales in comparison to the poetry of even the most minute of chemical processes.

I am a politician:

I challenge any congressional representative to compromise as often as I am forced to while sitting dead center in symphony orchestra. I consider the value of bipartisanship and weigh the benefits of negotiating the chasm between the fascist maestro in front and the libertarian trumpets behind, or of somehow reconciling the liberal flutes and neoconservative cellos, meanwhile pushing back the lobbying choir members somewhere in the hallway. (Violins, you ask? No one cares about them because they’re all moderates anyway.) If love is a battlefield, fashioning music from cacophony is nothing short of nuclear holocaust.

I am a conformist:

I heartily embrace the fad of rejecting labels because, after all, is there anything more fundamentally individual than doing so? I submit to the masses when I concede that the Beatles will always mean more to me than any obscure band signed on to some independent rock label. I relish the company of every estrogen-filled body in America when I say that The Notebook is the balm to cure the bruises of every hopeless romantic.

My existence is not divvied up into cozy boxes or segmented areas; individuals are blasting these dividing walls into smaller bits of debris day by passing day. My generation can no longer consider ourselves in terms of being particularists or specialists; rather, we will be called upon to function and think as globalists. We must realize that all pre-existing boundaries have melted into seamlessness, and it will be our obligation to live our lives from the perspective of generalists. Business necessitates an understanding of politics as well as of the economy; our domestic affairs are increasingly entangled in a web defined by globalization. It is the political pre-medical student and the philosophical physics major that we must strive to be. We need to salvage from each individual the collective greatest common denominator: we must find in each of us the C++ encoder in Model United Nations, the Student Council representative challenging the administration, and the steady academic steeped in music. If my generation viewed being “well-rounded” as a method for personal exploration and growth instead of a scheme to pack resumes, I am convinced that the purposeful and the driven will finally find themselves in the majority.

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