A Child of Two Worlds

 

For much of my early life, I struggled to fit in socially. I had specific places where it was less obvious that I didn’t quite fit: I was a pretty good athlete so I could hang with the jocks, I went to church regularly enough to talk church lingo, and I was smart enough that my teachers always liked me. But, in any of those places, it was typically only one portion of me that really fit.

I’m not sure exactly when I settled on this illustration, probably sometime in undergrad, but in so many ways I am a child of two worlds. The first is that quite literally I am a child of two worlds: my dad is British and my mom is American. I’ve grown up in America, and like to think I am very American, but I have also been heavily influenced in places by my dad’s European heritage.

Maybe even more than this though, I am a child of two worlds metaphorically in a wide variety of ways. I’m a serious athlete AND a nerd [College soccer/marathons + Ph.D. in engineering]. I’m a conservative Evangelical Christian AND a Pentecostal [undergrad degree from a Baptist school and YWAM]. I am a Republican with some very Democratic views on specific issues [gun rights, socialized/national healthcare]. One consequence of this is that almost wherever I’ve found myself, I end up pushing back against the prevailing norm and trying to encourage people to recognize the merits of the other side.

Another key part of who I am is that I think too much. I’ve said for quite a while that it is simultaneously my greatest strength and my greatest weakness. I can see connections in the world around me and understand many people because of how I pay attention to so many details that most people never see. At the same time, there are moments where I desperately want my mind to stop racing and I can’t [best fix I’ve had for this is vigorous physical activity].

As I’ve walked through life, I encountered feelings in myself or ideas around me that made my mind race [not a pleasant experience]. When this would happen, my mind would continue to race [remember, unpleasent] until I found some way to illustrate that feeling inside myself or idea around me. I needed to “find the words” to explain why my mind was racing and tying itself in knots. More often than not my illustrations came from stories [books and movies] and over the course of the past 10-15 years I’ve built up a fairly large mental library to explain a wide variety of feelings, experiences, and ideas that previously made my mind race.

So, this blog’s purpose is two folds. First, I want to share some of my stories and illustrations with you. I want my struggle to make sense of have positive impact beyond myself. Second, as much as it doesn’t happen as frequently as it used to, my mind does still race at times and I’m hopeful that the process of write will help me “find the words” to make sense of new topics that I’m facing in life today. I hope you enjoy the journey 🙂

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