On the outside of my folder I put a picture of what people see when they look at me. I presented it in the standard format of the day. Self-inflicted camera phone picture in the bathroom mirror; facebook style. Wearing my favorite chunky sweater in full make-up regalia, hair mostly ignored. That is my exterior. Uninteresting; not extraordinary in any way.
On the tab I put my student ID number; the unerring largely unchangeable 7 number sequence which describes my college career at Cincinnati State Community and Technical College. Digits representing the storied and terrifying permanent record. No frills, no fun, identifying only.
Inside: A demonstration of my propensity for wordiness. A practice in assignment-bending to suit the solution that I formed in my head when I mind-mapped ideas. Possessing only Bon Appetit magazines, I felt that I could not be fairly summed up by seasonal ingredients and new recipe takes on old favorites. So rather than outsourcing to the internet and stealing other people’s intellectual property I used words… lots and lots of words. They’re what I am good at, what I love. Why say less, when you can say more?
I put the words that seemed the most pertinent and relevant in current times in the largest print. Artist, honest, mother, writer, impatient, Christian, yogini. Words I encounter in my every day, almost my every thought. Other words, pertinent but less insistent filling in the spaces around my primary descriptions. Some of them are directly contradictory. Simple; complicated, because I am both of these things. They have not created a word complex enough to summate my personality. Nor have they photographed it in magazines.
I’m not being egocentric. Though you will find vain in my descriptive words. People are complicated and you cannot reasonably expect to know anyone in a glance or from a brief summary. So I included some of the pictures featuring myself that make me happy. I think that you can hope to know a little bit about someone by knowing what it is, that makes them happy. The photos include a picture of my children Marley and Solomon, my husband, and I just being together in the warm weather enjoying our first family vacation. A photo of my husband and I celebrating my 27th birthday (the money is fake). A photo of myself working to finish painting our kitchen in our new house, tasks unfinished are still tasks, tasks completed are satisfaction. A photo of me and two of my close friends being goofier and louder than the situation really calls for.
What did I learn about myself? For the last ten years I have been extremely focused (almost to a preoccupying extent) with self-reflection. I would dare say many women my age are. So I didn’t learn anything new about myself. Just enjoyed the opportunity to speak at length on a subject which I know nearly everything and yet, next to nothing about.