Otherwise known as “Being Callie”
by Lyssa Myska Allen, but written in 2004 (that’s pre-DailyHap days, folks).
I know a lot of things.
I know how to play basketball.
I know fashion designers and their styles.
I know clothing stores and their signature styles.
I know magazines and their tones.
I know cars.
I know how to speak Spanish.
I know how to reach out to children.
I know how to reach out to peers.
I know how to dance in a club.
I know how to write a paper, read a book, take good notes.
I know how to run, jump, giggle, and play.
I know fun.
I know hard work.
I know it all.
Well, maybe not.
But I do know that I am a work in progress.
The minute I say something about myself, I can usually contradict it. I like to think I know it all, but at the same time, I know that I have so much to learn. I am insecure and shy, but at the same time confident and outgoing. I am a loner, an introvert, but at the same time being with people energizes me and I enjoy the company of others.
It is my unique spiritual and psychological slant on the world that makes me different, special, mature, naïve, and all that is who I am. I am an asset to the world. I want to understand the whys. I want to know what makes me tick, who I really am, what my core values are, and why I do what I do and what I can do to change what I do. (Sometimes this seems like doodoo … haha)
As part of a class during my sophomore year of college, I wrote a blog: one that students could relate to—a place that reassured students who read it that they were not alone on their campus. “Callie” was born.
“Callie” truly is me. She is not a romanticized, new-and-improved version of me. She is me, with my neuroses, my penchant for psychological analysis, my daily rejections, and my incredible feats of academia (my professor actually said to me, “no one really earns this many As in one day.” Um, well, yes, I did, actually.) I wanted to provide for my audience a raw, real character who embodied everything a college student faces.
I was worried about putting myself out there so much, because I wanted to be brutally honest. I was worried that people wouldn’t like me, errr, Callie, but no one wrote in to the website and said that they hated this Callie girl. On the flip side, no one wrote in to the website to marvel at Callie’s sparkling wit and give their testimonials about how Callie changed their lives. Alas, I might have been the only one who cared about Callie.
Toward the end of the year I said something incriminating and ended up admitting to my class that I was Callie. I was nervous. Following my announcement, a senior turned to me and said, “You’re her?! I LOVE those!” This was to be the only feedback I ever received on Callie.
Sometimes I think that Callie was too much for SMU. Callie did too many things—she ran track, was in a sorority, excelled in school, had good friends. Or maybe Callie thought too much, at too deep a level. After all, how many college students spend their evenings writing poems to sort out their feelings about a flirtatious interchange? At any rate, there is no more clear example of who I am than Callie.
Callie perceives herself as normal, but in reality she isn’t. She is someone special who constantly seeks to explain what happens and why in a way that allows her to constantly improve herself. Callie and I are unique in our willingness to be vulnerable in order to figure out who we are.
I can’t say that Callie will resurface again, but only because I doubt she needs to. Through her, I learned that I can give my whole heart, and it doesn’t have to be anonymous.
I know I can be myself.
I know I can give that self to the world.
I know the world has much to teach me about myself.
I know I will love the world.