After thinking about personality yesterday, costumes, and jumping into a different persona Oct. 31, I found myself contemplating the idea of “identity.” It’s something I’ve struggled with my entire life, feeling misunderstood. I was the softball playing tomboy who loved wearing tutu’s too, and the devout Christian who had a book of Magic next to her holy Bible (and still do…). Television commercials are directed at specific markets, i.e. “Midwestern Mom’s in their 30s.” If someone had to target me for a commercial, I’d say “good-freakin-luck.” It would depend upon the wind direction and my mood on any given day.
I’ve struggled with this seeming lack of identity. I went to a competitive University where the departments were very much segregated. The business majors spent time with the business majors, the fine art students hung with the other fine art students, and so on. Somehow I ended up living with a business major, a BFA student, and political science major, and another “floater.” What do I mean by floater? Well, about forty students in each graduating class are given the opportunity to create their own interdisciplinary major between two schools within the University. This interdisciplinary major best encapsulates my general struggle to fit it. My friend Laura and I were literally called “floaters” at school, and I’m sure those who know us best would call us “floaters” in life. The university departments were geared at specific careers, and there we were, taking nibbles here and there at various departments. While we both have very specific visions of what we want in life, the means of achieving those dreams aren’t mapped out clearly, leaving us experimenting and exploring. It’s been a struggle, but as we’ve grown up a bit, it seems we’re learning to enjoy the journey as well (with the destination still clearly seen in the not so distant future).
I’ve tried to maintain an interdisciplinary approach at life. It’s kept me well rounded and perpetually curious. I’ve had to take jobs here and there that don’t seem desirable or boast worthy, but I keep in mind Santiago in Paul Coelho’s The Alchemist. Every time I think I may be doing a meaningless job that will get me nowhere but pay the rent, I consider it may be my crystal shop, and I may be learning lessons that will serve me well in the future.
I may not be able to say “Hello, my name is Jenna Laurenzo, and I am a (lawyer, banker, actor, writer, philosopher, etc.),” but I am learning to feel secure in saying “I do a lot of things. If you get to know me better, I’ll tell you about them.”