I'm writing about me today. It's a topic I don't often write about, because it's scary. That's the main reason why I'm writing about me - because I don't want it to be scary. I want to be me, wherever I go, whatever I am doing, and whoever I am with.
First, a story.
For over 10 years of my life, I've confined myself to two or three interests. This limitation felt safe. I felt confident in these areas, and that confidence helped shield me from the fear of being open.
So really, two. I could go on and on about the right programming languages and methodologies to use, comparing alternatives. I loved speaking about and learning about new data structures, their various asymptotics, and where they were appropriate to use. I collected bits and pieces of information about advanced research in innumerable areas of computer science, because it helped protect me from feeling like I wasn't good enough. Maybe this is that impostor syndrome I've read about. It was a constant battle against fear of inadequacy.
And video games. They were a retreat. A place I could go and level up, and improve, and play, without the fear of being seen as less. I could talk about them, too, and compare them, and celebrate the little victories. Still, I couldn't use video games to play with others. It was scary to think that I might invite someone into a place of retreat.
So that was the me that I let myself be for years. I defined myself so strictly that when I finally started looking at who I was, I wasn't even really sure. I often said programmer. I sometimes said gamer. I've used student, as well. I was okay as long as I didn't have to step outside of those boxes.
Then, over the past few years, I've painfully realized that I wanted to be more. This is in no small part due to the patience, diligence, and understanding of my wife, Jessica Cabrera.
So here I am today, trying to figure out what it means to be me. How do I do it? By breaking out of the boxes I've made for myself, I think. By that, I mean, being open and honest wherever I can be. Here, too, in this blog that I started originally because the idea of being able to read books in exchange for reviews sounded awesome. Reader review programs - I'm still pretty fond of them.
All of my blogging efforts in the past have failed, and I think part of the cause was that I tried to narrow myself too much. I wrote only from the filter of my boxes, only one of which I felt safe speaking about in the open.
So here I am, encouraged by the discussions I see being held in the open. Questions of gender, of shaming, blaming, of connectivity, of sexuality, positivity, of empowerment, of the woes of meritocracies, of the individual, of collaboration and education, faltering political systems, and of living the life that only I can live. I want to participate in these discussions, because I don't want to stand by and silently allow for things to continue as they are.
So here I am. This is me, and some of the many things I care about. Nice to meet you, and I'll be writing again in the future.