Stories are the key to the gateway to the past, present, and future.
In my career in academia and outside of it, I’ve sat at the Knights’ round table, slept on a gondola in Venice, painted a white fence in Missouri, fought for survival during the Depression, threw parties in a mansion in hopes of catching the eye of the one I love, fought otherworldly beings until I was to sit at the mead hall, and lived secluded in a cabin to reflect on what I saw in nature.
Most of these are iconic scenes from classic stories in the world’s literary portfolio, and there is a stamp in my mental passport from each of them. The more I read, the more I find that there are pieces of me in each of these iconic texts and in the characters that inhabit them. That is why we continue to study them today.
I am Gatsby. I am Holden Caulfield. I am Jack McCall. I am Beowulf. I am an Arthurian love triangle. I am Thoreau.
I want to be successful so that I can help others, but also so that I can have a platform to gain the attention of the girl I love and the girl lost. No matter how many material possessions or how much wealth I have, I will never be truly happy without love and without her. I might find myself dead in the water, absent of any love that I wanted to know, but I will be in constant, apprehensive pursuit of it.
I’m naïve about more than I would like to admit, and sometimes my ignorance and naivety shines through. I yearn for adventure and want to be respected. Observing hypocrisy is second-nature to me. I have an attitude that throws caution to the wind when it comes to planning out my life paired with a protective personality. I want to prevent hurt anywhere possible and keep in tact the innocence that is lost at the hands of time. Sometimes the best way to do that is just to hold someone and not say a word.
I want to run away from the past that hurt me, but instead I face it head on, unwillingly. As much as I want to believe that I am level-headed and composed, I do have a hint of a “fight or flight” mentality. My attempts at retribution and reconciliation oftentimes come only after it is already too late to put out the fires from the bridges I burned. Forgiveness doesn’t come easy for me, but I always end up giving it away.
I fight in battles that are not mine in order to protect those who cannot protect themselves. I am a warrior who goes face to face with danger that threatens my allies with complete disregard for my own well-being.
I always love the unavailable or unattainable. Whether geographically unattainable due to distance or morally unavailable due to a preexisting courtship, I find myself in these situations more often than not. It’s not out of desire for what I cannot have, but it seems to simply be inevitable that any attraction I feel will be towards someone I can’t have without my previous knowledge. Just like Arthurian literature, there is a lover, a beloved, and a significant other. I will not be the lover that leads to the demise of a relationship.
Then I reflect on all of it and wonder why. I wonder why I am the way that I am. I wonder how I came to be this way. I wonder what my role is in this life and in the universe. I see myself in the world around me, in the books I read and in the natural world, but I haven’t yet found the answers.
Bolt had “A Man for All Seasons,” but I am a man of all time.