When I meet someone new, or create a new profile on some website, there’s always that default question that drives me insane: Who are you? Theoretically, it should be the easiest question of all, because it’s about the person I should know the best. In reality, though, I don’t know myself any better than someone on the other side of the world.
Labels: they’re a great way to describe oneself and find a place in the world where one would fit. Theoretically, anyway. But even though I hate labels, I can never find one that fits me. And when I think I do, I realize that the opposite labels also apply to me. Sometimes I feel like I’m so full of contradictions that something must be wrong.
Am I a tomboy? I do love dirt bikes, cars, camo (army [non-pink] style, not the woodland-hunter kind with twigs and leaves), combat boots, rock music, “non-nerdy” video games like Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto, and occasionally sports (ice hockey and football to be specific). I also hate, and don’t understand, fashion (today’s trends make me want to gauge my eyes out) and I don’t understand the fascination with diamonds (they are bland and too pricey in my opinion).
Despite this, I also fit under the girly-girl label. I like pop music, dramas and romances, nail polish, perfume, lip gloss, and some jewelry, and (what I’ve heard been called) “girly” video games like the Sims and Catz (a very old computer game). I will sometimes (though rarely) try on two or three outfits before settling on the right one, and I have been known to spend hours in a shoe store (though anymore, it’s to find that one pair of boots or shoes that doesn’t look God-awful ugly).
Somewhat contrary to both these two general labels, I’m also somewhat of a nerd. I love paper and pens (getting the right combination of the two is essential to my success in any class, though this is often hard), computers and technology, “nerdy” video games like the Elder Scrolls, Pokémon, and Final Fantasy, Japanese anime and music, fantasy and science-fiction, and old Spongebob Squarepants episodes. I’m a stickler for grammar and rules, and I’m actually fairly decent at math (though I dislike it). I like things symmetrical and in order (as evident by my alphabetized video game and book collections), which has often earned me the title of nerd.
Finally, to really keep things interesting, I’ve even been placed under the “emo” category (though I haven’t really been called this since high school). I love the color black (so much that I almost dyed my hair and painted my room this color), blood and gore, and bands like My Chemical Romance, Green Day, and Simple Plan (though I’ve heard that being obsessed with music in general is an “emo” thing).
But labels go beyond these simplistic, somewhat high school-ish categories. There’s country folk versus city slickers. I was born in Bridgeport (city) and raised (until I was ten) in Ansonia (suburb), both of which are in Connecticut. I was then transplanted into rural upstate New York, where you can’t get anywhere without passing a farm, hearing cows, and smelling manure (which makes my eyes water and nose burn). I often say I’m more of a city girl than a country girl, but if I think about it, I’d have to say I’m equally both. I’ve been told I speak differently than my parents (who were born and raised in upstate New York), though no one tells me how specifically (but my parents would agree with this statement). I love the noises of the city (honking horns and people talking can lull me to sleep), being in the center of a lively atmosphere (though I somewhat dislike people in general, I like knowing that I’m never alone), and having everything you need within walking (or short driving) distance, and having cellular service wherever you go. You can’t get any of these things in Hartwick (where I actually live) or Cooperstown (where I actually went to school). But as much as I love the city, I have to say, I’ve been in the country too long to say I’m a city girl. I love riding dirt bikes (I have actually gone “mudding”, which is the hick sport of speeding a vehicle through puddles of mud, the deepness of which depending on the size of the vehicle), I have hick parents, I like being able to see the stars at night, and I use terms like “my neck of the woods”, “subs” (I’ve never used the terms “grinders” or “wedges”) and “four-wheelers” (city slickers refer to them as quads, I’ve heard). Although I don’t use the word myself, the word “brang” doesn’t sound entirely incorrect to me (though I realize it is correct to say “brought”). However, I do use “tag sale”, “garage sale”, and “yard sale” interchangeably, though I don’t know which term is used where.
Another common way to categorize people is to say if they are mature or childish. I am both, to very extreme degrees. As mentioned before, I love watching old Spongebob Squarepants episodes, and I sometimes find myself watching Hannah Montanna, the Suite Life on Deck, or Wizards of Waverly Place (Disney shows that were popular when I was in high school, though I would never admit to watching these). I think hiccupping and passing gas is funny, and often cannot help laughing when someone does so. Actually, I laugh at almost everything, even when something is not funny. I hate big, complicated words and old, stuffy literature. But at the same time, childish people drive me insane. I get very irritated when people make voices for stuffed animals, or treat them as if they are real and a part of the family. Going to the theatres to see the newest Disney animated film is not what I would call a good time (though all my friends rushed to see the movie Frozen the day it came out). I’m often told that I take everything way too seriously, but I just wish that some people would grow up and be a little more serious.
Eventually, the world of labels slowly morphs into a world of adjectives, but when it comes to describing me, this doesn’t make it any easier. I can be shy and quiet, loud and annoying, dumb and aloof, quick and smart, creative and open-minded, boring and close-minded, hyper and random, lazy and lame, messy and easygoing, neat and picky, happy and carefree, grumpy and stubborn. No matter what word you pick that fits me, I can almost guarantee that the opposite will also apply.
Be it labels or adjectives, it is hard to categorize myself and find a place in society for me. Sometimes I feel like I belong everywhere and nowhere, and it really makes the question of who I am hard to answer. I’m just me, whoever that individual is. When people ask me that question, the answer I usually give is: talk to me and you figure it out.
April 10, 2014