Getting to Know Me: Labels

I've gained some followers recently, and I cannot express my gratitude to them (that's not to say I'm forgetting about my tried and true--the ones that started following nearly three years ago). It is just that those individuals have had time to grow with me, to watch me change. To watch me lament about my graduation from Purdue, whine about my time at the University of Iowa. They've watched Hans and I celebrate our first anniversary, our second. They've learned about Indiana, about Iowa, about my childhood and my incessant ability to constantly change my mind. They stuck with me--through pretentiousness, through depression--they kept reading.

I thank them.

I thank you.

However, my more recent followers may not be familiar with me as a person, as a personality. Thus, I plan on sharing a few posts that allow them and, really, all of you, to get to know me.

And so, with a Rodgers & Hammerstein soundtrack, here are my labels...

I’m half-hipster. This means I wear red pants and multiple necklaces at the same time. It means I listen to A Fine Frenzy. Katie Herzig. Sigur Ros. Good ole Florence. It means I have the potential to become a crazy cat lady. It means I care entirely too much about my appearance even though I shop at Goodwill.

I’m relatively liberal. This means I don’t shop at Salvation Army because they do not support gay rights. It means I don’t plan on changing my last name when I marry. It means that I grew up poor, and that I fear I will always be hindered by society because of my family’s monetary status.

I’m fully Iowan. This means I can find peace and familiarity in crops and fields and terraces and hills. It means I grew up with four seasons, and find something to love in each of them—the crunch of leaves, the brisk air in my lungs, the eager morning sunshine, the orange glow of sunsets. It means I went to high school with girls in sweatpants and guys in cowboy boots. It means I enjoy seeing the juxtaposition of farmland and technology--windmills and hills, turbines and terraces. It means that I love coming home to a place where, no matter the time that passes, things always seem to stay the same. It means that I come from a class of 53, a town of 1,000, a state of corn and crops. It means that I, like many Midwesterners, will defend my hometown.

It means I embrace diversity and wear my mother’s hand-me-downs.

I’m an insomniac. This means that I have had difficulties sleeping since I was twelve. It means I do my best work after 9:00 p.m. It means that I find working evenings adventurous, and that my niche is in journalism.

I’m somewhat of a hypochondriac. This means that I contemplate multiple sclerosis each time my foot, hand or leg falls asleep. It means I’m afraid of becoming my parents.

I’m a lover of words. This means that I majored in English and took a job in journalism. This means that the smell of used bookstores gives me a mental orgasm. This means that I love school and erudition. This means that I have eleven boxes stuffed with books from my childhood. This means I’m heavy on adjectives, but light with metaphors. It means I can solve crossword puzzles and anagrams and word jumbles, but that I spent entirely too long writing essays in college. It means that I learned how to love that particular [play by Sophocles, postcolonial book, Pulitzer-prize winning novel].

It means that I love deadlines, fast-paced atmospheres and late-night rendezvous with co-workers, when we gather around drinks and bitch about our aches and pains and how “old” we are.

I’m half-hipster. Relatively liberal. Fully Iowan. I have insomnia. Hypochondria. I have a love for words.

Each phrase, each title, comes with its own loaded expectations and stereotypes. I can guarantee that I will meet at least half of them. However, I can also guarantee that I am unpredictable, especially when it comes to my esoteric brain. I can guarantee that I’m a half-hipster who, surprisingly, will not be offended if you call me “hipster.” I can guarantee that I’ve considered teaching English overseas. I can guarantee that I want to attempt to teach my future children abstinence.

I can also tell you that, when I was born, my parents had no name for me. My sex was unknown, my birth was unexpected. This means that the placard on my isolette listed me as “Clyde.” It means that, for the first two days of my life, I had no other name; I was simply “Clyde.” It means I cried, whined, slept and familiarized myself with light and sounds. It means that I began my journey—one with labels like “hipster,” “liberal,” “Iowan,” “insomniac,” “hypochondriac,” “English major”—as a long-toed, dark-haired baby Clyde.

That was me, then. This is me, now. I’m still long-toed. I still cry. And, despite my familiarity with words, I am often told to “stop mumbling.” As a child, I was honest, quiet. I kept to myself and avoided confrontation. As an adult, I appreciate the quiet moments, the rocky ones, the happy ones, the nothing-is-better-than-what-I’m-experiencing-right-now ones. I try to be honest. I try to be candid. Only, unlike the first two days of my life, I have a name now.


  1. I like learning things about you, this post makes me thing about myself too. I liked this.

  2. So nice to get to know you! You are a wonderful writer... and I love your story! Katie Herzig is my favorite Pandora station. After reading this I think I might be half hipster too, lol

  3. Thank you for this portrait :)
    I love to know something about you and your life :)
    I'm one of your recent followers, so this post told me nice stories about your life :D
    we have many features in common :D I love nature, the mutability of the seasons, the becoming of what surrounds me. I love words... and you know that my language fits for this purpose ;D Italian is a literaly language: we have so many words to express an idea!!I taught italian in Estonia (a country near Finland) for a period of 4 months this year.
    And as you..when I was born my mother didn't know my sex (although she knew about my birth)..and she decided at that time that my name was Valentina :)

    Nice to meet you :)

  4. This was a cool little get to know you post! I dug on it.

  5. I don't know anyone who wants to be their parents especially if their mom is like my mom who loves to wear flowery blouse in purple color. I like it that you consider telling us about yourself through your recent post, I am excited to click on the links that you provided for us and know more about you.

    I hate to say it but I'll say it anyway.. your are the kind of person that, in one point in my life, I want to be

  6. I just fell in love with your blog! This post is beautiful. I love how you are so sure of yourself, of the basics and you know what you stand for. I feel like we would really get along. Can't wait to read more!

    <3Chelsea Elizabeth

  7. Wait... you're a journalist? That's what I'll eventually go to school for. Once I gather up some motivation! I'm sure I'll have tons of questions about that for you soon! haha

    P.s. are you the adult version of me??

  8. You're absolutely adorable! Love your blog :)
    xo, Kinsey

  9. I loved to read about you! it´s a pleasure to read your text, how you write, how you explain... I liked it! nice to know you!

  10. Love your writing, always. And as a 'new' reader, it's lovely to get to know you :)


  11. Wonderfully written, half-hipster hypochondriac. Don't get the teaching abstinence thing, but since I do teach English overseas I'll call us half kindred spirits? : )

  12. i loveee this. love :)

    and your portraits to go with it... even better.

    ps. <3 the blog post mary did of your ornament exchange. I'm glad you worked with felt because they looked amazing. you won my heart with a vintage christmas card. amazing exchange! and i'm so glad to have had both of you in my annual ornament swap this year. xo

  13. Hello! nice to meet you.

    Do come give me a mutal hello :-}


  14. Thanks so much for doing this post! It was wonderful to get to know a little more about you all the while thinking, I knew there was a reason I liked this girl! You're such a lovely writer. I'm glad our blogland paths have crossed. I realized today that somehow your blog had been removed from my google reader, but the situation has been handled.


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