Monday, April 8, 2002

Posted by Kirk
Here I am. I’m sitting in front of my computer of course but that’s just geography. There’s a question I’ve been avoiding. I had gotten so good at avoiding it that I have forgotten that it had not, in fact, been dealt with, but rather just purposefully avoided.

Who am I?

That’s the question. It was dredged up again while talking to a new friend this past week. He’s embroiled in the involutions of life. He recently graduated from college. He recently broke up with his girlfriend of three years and so it goes without saying that he is trying to discover where he fits into the world. After we talked for some time I remembered that I too have these same questions. In college I spent four years learning who I was and where I was going. Of course, now that I am a few years away from that time and that place I am not who I was and I’m not sure where I am is where I need to be.

This isn’t just about a job. I like my job, or to be more accurate, jobs. What I am feeling a little unsure about is more vocational. No, more personal. Who I am, how I react to the world, how I am perceived and how I treat others. I need time to reflect on these.

I think part of this comes down to the "F" word. When I look back on my life I think about the times when I was most happy, most smiles, most me, I have to say it has been when I was surrounded by friends. I can really shine when I am around friends. I like who I am.

I like who I am when I am around friends.

Today is Monday. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday I was at Camp Ihduhapi. I met wonderful new people, I became friends with people who I had met but who’s names had never stuck in my short term memory for more than a breath. These people’s names are now burned into my brain. In fact, I can’t stop running through them. These people made and impression on me in a way that no one else has in years. They gave me reason to laugh, smile and feel at home in myself.

I received a complement from a woman who I barely spoke with. Almost as an after though I thanked her for coming to the training. She looked at me as though she was thinking about whether or not to say what was on her mind. She finally did. She had wanted me to know how much she appreciated the dedication I showed to the work I do. She appreciated my willingness to put myself out there and be silly, to be daring.

She was referring to my exploits in the game, "The Chicken and the Stone." It is basically a tag game in which the person who is it picks up a rubber chicken off a carpet square "stone." They pick it up and tag someone standing in a circle around the stone. The "It" has to run back and put the chicken back on the stone. Once they drop the chicken the person who was tagged has to pick it up and tag the person who was "It" before the "It" can take a place in the large circle. While all of this is going on, a person can prove their bravery by running up to the stone and placing their head on it. They then shout "I have no fear for the chicken is not here!" This is a way to keep everyone involved in the game. I ran out many times to test my bravery. I didn’t always get all the way to the stone before turning back. I sometimes ran across the circle I once did a summersault over the stone instead of saying the phrase. It was really fun.

The point is that I was fully engaged. I dared to place my head on the stone and say the words. The more I think about it the more I realize what a wonderful metaphor the mage is for life.

I need to be less afraid and more motivated to run to the center of life and not be afraid.

This is just one example of a time I was able to put myself out there and have fun. I was able to make friends and, to borrow a phrase from Thoreau, "Suck the marrow from life."

As I look to the past three days and try to process what was so special I see many things. There are many aspects of those days that made it what it was. I think one thing stands out and I need to make this thing a priority in my life. I need to make friends a priority.

I cannot hope to continue my journey into "me" if I cannot surround myself with those who make the best me possible. I must strive to keep these people in my life for in doing so I can ensure that I have one.