Wednesday, October 20, 2010


There's a guy in my music history class who's incredibly socially awkward and apparently quite bad with names. He was my partner for the first-day ice breaker exercise where we had to introduce ourselves to each other and then introduce each other to the class. I guess because of our connection through this exercise, he is extra-sure of himself, but strangely enough is entirely wrong: he thinks my name is Max.

Now, normally I would have corrected someone who has my name wrong early on in order to save them the embarrassment , but something stopped me this time.

It could have to do with the fact that when I was little, Max was among the top three coolest names in my head (the higher-up ones being Chris and Greg.) It could have to do with the fact that he's just so awkward that it's funny to have that moment with someone else when they get that look on their face like "What did he just call you?"

But honestly, I think it has more to do with the fact that when he calls me Max, I get to be, if only for a brief second, someone else. I get to be an idealized version of myself. I get to fabricate a life that helps me forget momentarily that I am human.

You see, Max wouldn't have the stresses that seem to be plaguing me. Max wouldn't worry that the money he's spending on the food he needs for the week would prevent him from buying the reeds he needs for the month. Max doesn't go to sleep at night feeling like the work that he's done that day is only a fraction of what he needs to have done when he wakes up. Max keeps in touch with his friends, no matter how much time it takes, because he realizes that they're more important than the facts he arbitrarily has to memorize. Max gets in the hour of exercise he needs to feel healthy. Max makes delicious meals quickly with fresh ingredients. Max is spontaneous and doesn't worry too much about the consequences of letting his hair down for a bit. Max is on top of all the paperwork he has to be doing. Max doesn't feel guilty for being the biggest expense to a family that's just run into some trouble. Max has a plan for next year and is taking steps toward it.

Unfortunately, Max isn't real. And the second someone says "Hey Steve!" they snap me back to reality, and I have to come to terms with the fact that I cannot say all that about myself. I have to accept the fact that I'm imperfect, that people expect more of me now than it's physically possible for me to supply. I have to face the world knowing that I'm entirely unprepared. Once I leave college, and most likely the country, I know that nothing I've done the last four years has actually prepared me for what I will experience, with the exception of how to do my job.

But maybe I'll take a page from Max's book and see it as an opportunity for adventure.


  1. I've kind of had that same feeling recently. But it's not as strong as it used to be. Because so many people have the habit of mispronouncing my name, which is completely understandable (Eliana = A-lee-on-uh), I've been Elaine, Eeliana, Liane, Ilene and so on and so forth. And it's interesting to come up with different stories for each person.

    For example Ilene is a Sociology major at Western Michigan University who enjoys studying people and just be an everyday creeper. (Of course there are just 'stories' so to speak and not actual people, just because I like to write and draw, doesn't mean I'm crazy :/ )But, anyway, I do understand what it's like and it can sometimes help you give yourself that extra boost to reach those goals of your idealized person.

    Aaaand I will simply conclude this odd and long-winded comment with saying that I'm a big fan and please don't think that I'm too odd >.<

  2. Whether or not you can live up to the expectations of others is unimportant. The only expectations of yourself that matter are your own. And if you can imagine yourself in a more pleasing way, then become that person. It's already there in your head, just start making those choices. There is no limit to human potential. Only the imaginary walls we put up ourselves.

  3. Max might be perfect, but he is still entirely structured out of your mind. All those things that Max is, reflects who you are. Don't think of Max as this amazing guy that you can never be, but as you with completed goals. Strive for those goals. Fight to be Max if Max is who you would be happiest being. Never settle for less than your best. Max is your best. Max is you.