The fault in my stars made me a Gemini. Not only was the sun in this sign on the day of my birth, at the minute of my birth the earth watched as Gemini rose on the horizon. Expanding outwards through the solar system, three of the other nine astrological planets also stand in my first house.
I was destined for duality from the start.
In its most basic ailment, this often manifests itself in my having clearly delineated inner and outer selves, one known only to myself while the world witnesses the other. But as my particular brand of fate would have it, it doesn’t end there.
Like a mathematical tree bifurcating at every node, my outer self can be divided into my personal and professional sides, the latter split into work and academic selves, the latter again broken into my curricular and extracurricular identities, which in turn have their own classifications: I’m a political science major and a mathematics major; and not only am involved in the LGBT community, but I’m also involved in anti-poverty service groups.
I applaud you if you got all of that. Sometimes it even makes me dizzy.
I’ve wondered how all these worlds might come crashing down and I’m forced from one mode of operation–a set of selves–to one: a full person. I experienced one instance of unification some years ago when my inner self, separated into distinct gay and Jewish identities, was smashed together like a meteor into a planet–with about as much emotional turmoil as the imagery suggests. It took months to reconcile myself, my beliefs and my impulses, and even longer to accept the emergence of a unified whole.
In the following years, as my outer selves multiplied exponentially while my inner self remained largely intact, I began wondering how such unification might occur. The clearest example that would bring together all the people in my life (given the condition I’m alive when it happens, ruling out a funeral) would be a wedding.
And such a wedding it would be!
In one corner, all my math friends would hang around, making jokes on a sine curve as we typically do, while in another, my friends from our synagogue would join us. My service trip families and my LeaderShape family would all be there, and since we collectively hail from the same university, they would coagulate like an uncomfortable clot, unable to fraternize with the rest of the guests. Not to mention my online invitees–dear friends I’ve known in some cases for decades that I’ve yet to meet in person. Such a meeting that would be!
Scattered throughout would be my family, trying to make sense of it all.
And somewhere in the matrix I’d be running around, completely frazzled.
Except it doesn’t seem so strange to me if I realize these threads have already begun to weave themselves together–sometimes all on their own, sometimes with a little prodding.
Probably more than a year ago, one of my few remaining friends from Hebrew school began going out with my math friends when she came back in town. A friend from State (who knows me predominantly through the Housing side of my Work self) will be moving nearby for a graduate program, and I’ve already planned to invite her to join us.
This past semester my mother sat on our annual parents panel in our GLBT group on campus; one of my LeaderShape family members and a team member from my Belize trip worked with me in my Housing job; and as I said before, many of my closest friends at State all go to State–they’re bound to meet eventually, although–as had happened at GTCC–people have started telling me I know everybody, so maybe they won’t.
I honestly don’t know how it happens. I’m an introvert by nature.
(But the Gemini in me prevents me from being shy. Perhaps that’s it.)
Something stranger is happening, too: As the thought of all my circles of friendship converging begins to seem more tangible every day, I’m finding my expression in each group tends toward a single whole as well. Yes, I tend to be carefully impersonal while I’m tutoring, and in leadership positions I tend a touch (or a ton) more toward seriousness than when I’m out with friends, but even when I am out with friends, it’s clear to them–and to me–the things I do, the things I stand for, and all the things in between.
On top of that, my current research projects are a unifying force in and of themselves: I’m studying the mathematics of political science on the one hand, while on the other I’m studying the politics of LGBT candidates in U.S. elections. And just today I was awarded a mathematics scholarship specifically for those who demonstrate passion for writing!
In less than a year, all my dominant identities have been rolled into one.
And it feels great. Although I know it’s far from the grand unifying theory I could hope for, it’s still a start–and as these tangential components become one, beautiful things arise: My mission to secure equal rights for the LGBT community becomes clearer with an academic understanding of the struggles we face; I gain deeper insight into my fields of study by studying them together; and all over, the world burns with the metaphor and imagery visible only to the most austere of burgeoning poets.
Not to mention all my friendships and relationships are likewise enriched, and my sense of confidence perpetually bolstered. It makes me want to push this further–but I understand it’s best left to happen organically.
So what faces do you share with the world? And how have you helped pull them together–or fought to keep them apart?