This post has nothing to do with student affairs and everything to do with student affairs! Let’s start with the obvious student affairs stuff. So I submitted my application to The University of Texas at Austin’s College and University Student Personnel Administration program. It’s good because if I have to stay in Texas I’d only want to stay in Austin. Not to mention that I’m a Longhorn through and through! m/ HOOK ‘EM!
So recently, a lot of people in my life have been talking about their Myers-Briggs results so I decided to see what mine were. I discovered that I am an INFP (Introvert, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving). Now many people may look at these and see Introvert and yell lies. It took me a bit of self reflection, but I really am an introvert. I think a lot about what I’m going to say before I say anything. I am perfectly fine with being alone for extended periods of time. People never really know what I’m thinking. I much prefer chill intimate nights in that going to parties and clubbing (though I’m not opposed to the latter).
However, I’m really charismatic. I’m a performer. I used to be the shyest person in the world, but the more comfortable I got on stage and with people, the more I show confidence. It’s like my own version of Sasha Fierce. When the spotlight is on me, I own it. But when it’s not, I’m perfectly fine with that. When I walk into a room, I own it…if I’m comfortable. If I’m not, I’m a wallflower. But I can turn it on and off, I sometimes have to make myself social. If I am in a class and I know absolutely no one in the class, I keep to myself. If i do know someone, then that’s the only person I will be talking to in that class.
During my self-reflection/realization process, I thought back to my childhood and who I was growing up. I was the youngest of 3 children with a 2 and 4 year gap in between us. I had 3 close friends that I hung out with. If i wasn’t with them, I was alone. I would play with my toys…by myself. I would play video games by myself. Even to this day a majority of the video games I own are 1 player. I think back to the summer before my senior year of high school. I spent that entire summer by myself. Everyday I would watch tv, surf the web, and play video games. It was nice. I remember my mom asking if I was happy or ok, I always responded with a big YES! I was in my own little world and I loved it. I did however learn to wear a mask and show an extraverted side. But surprise it’s fake! I’m terrified in front of crowds but I fake it and don’t let them see me sweat. Hence the Sasha Fierce reference earlier.
I said all this to say that I just now realized my identity as an introvert. I still do many of the same things I did when I was younger. That fact that I just now realized my identity as an introvert makes me think about my realization and acceptance of my other identities. I was 14 when I came out to my mom as bisexual. I totally used that identity as a copout! I knew I was only attracted to guys, but thought my mother would take it better if there was still a chance for girls. Didn’t work. But when I accepted my identity as a Lover of Men (really dislike the labels), I became happier. It was fine. I accepted that it was a part of me.
Now my identity as black has been an uphill battle since coming to college. Yes I know that I am black and I love being black, BUT it’s difficult to navigate sometimes. What most people consider as “Acting black,” I don’t do. All my life I’d been surrounded by people who looked like me so I wanted to explore my queer identity because I wasn’t able to do so in high school. When I did decide to try and join the black community on campus, I found that it wasn’t actually a community. It was more like a cluster of cliques. Everyone who didn’t fit a certain mold was not accepted into the group. I definitely didn’t fit the mold. I am my own person and always will be. So I didn’t and don’t feel comfortable in those spaces. Right now, my main dilemma is that the black community holds a Black Graduation every semester and I’m trying to figure out if I want to participate or not.
Recently I wrote a paper on how my race, class, and gender have affected my life. Funny thing is that I am a black working class male, the identities held by a large portion of people in the American prison system. So here is where my identities have helped me. They have given me the drive to make things better for everyone. They fuel my passion for social justice. They have changed my outlook on things. I am very aware of how I am perceived by others so I have try to work extra hard to navigate that.
I am still discovering all of my identities. Some have words for them, others don’t. I’m still learning and growing and developing my sense of self. Right now I can say that I’m a black, working class male who is introverted, intuitive, feeling driven and perceptive. I have a hard time expressing what I want, but I can definitely say what I don’t want. I know what I am passionate about and I give my all to those things. Students Affairs here I come. I’ll continue to grow and along the way I’ll help my students grow.
All in all, Ronnie is a work in progress!