A-to-Z Challange Day…um…Something: I, Joshua
Yeah, I know how to count. I just wanted to make a bad joke in the title because, really, that’s a part of who I am. Jocose, yes, but serious about the things that are important. I’ve been told by a person I greatly admire and respect that I can sometimes cover my true feelings on a topic with my goofy sense of humor because I might take it too seriously and have visceral emotional reactions.
It’s perhaps because I seem to empathize with people very easily, so when I see some kind of injustice it really impacts me. I want to work to right it, and perhaps raise awareness of the issues. But sometimes I feel so tiny in the face of the world that I grow despondent, and I wonder what kinds of changes I can make.
I’ve done some work on campaigns, like Barack Obama for President in 2008 and in 2012 (registering voters, talking to people, organizing, etc.) and I found that very fulfilling because I got to meet people and learn from their perspectives, and have my own views challenged. I have a bit of a reputation for being kind of hot-headed, but I think that’s somewhat unfair. I really enjoy reasonable debates and discussions and coming away with the ability to change my mind on a topic; though, to be sure, I do defend my positions if I feel strongly about them.
I was recently given the opportunity to run for as the Democratic Party Candidate as a State Representative for the 93rd Congressional District in the State of Michigan, and I took it. I have no illusions about my chances; it’s a conservative district with an accomplished incumbent so I have an uphill battle. But I feel that I could do a lot of good advocating for the people in this district.
So that’s one very big way I can make a difference. Even if I don’t win I can connect with people, learn from them, and get more involved on the local and state-wide issues that affect the people around me.
Even so, that’s not the whole picture of who I am. I once wrote a Creative Nonfiction piece entitled Toward a Definition of Self in which I tried to come to an idea of who I am. Later I came up with a more complex version involving necessary and sufficient conditions, and I realized something: who I am, or my perception of self, always changes.
And I think that’s kind of scary in some respects. I’d like to think that I know me–that I am in touch with who I am and who I have been, but as time goes on I have different ideas, opinions, and perspectives. Gaining information and experience tends to change a person, and not always in predictable ways.
When I was younger I saw my father almost lose his leg in an accident involving a chainsaw. It was fairly traumatic, and I remember fainting on the spot when I saw what had happened. I would later learn that I was somewhat hemophobic and I couldn’t handle the sight of blood or gore, even in movies. Now, however, I am certified to work as a nurse aide and am looking to get a Master of Science degree in Physician Assistant Studies. In a couple of years I was able to work past those issues and now they no longer bother me.
Just a few years ago I would have called someone crazy for saying that I’d be in the medical field, and actually enjoy it. And, really, that’s part of the reason I’m really interesting in it. Aside from my geeky obsession with science and learning, I really enjoy helping people. My times working with the elderly have been extremely rewarding, and I’ve learned a good deal from them.
So I think in the end, what really defines me is the desire to learn and to better myself. Though my opinions and beliefs and perspectives might change and evolve around my desire to learn, that desire will always be there. I want to be the best human being I can be. So I’ll make mistakes, I’ll go where my heart takes me, and I’ll learn from all of that.