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Strange Definitions of Me #Reverb11

It's a little cold outside, so this is me in the winter. Notice I'm wearing a scarf!
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It's a little cold outside, so this is me in the winter. Notice I'm wearing a scarf!

Who Are You?

That’s a question that pops up all the time. I ask it of myself several times a day, and even spent the entire month of November working on a book that was all about answering that question. Here’s the thing, though, I don’t really know myself all that well. I’m still learning about me. I suppose you could say I’m still in the “get-to-know-you” stage of my relationship with me. I’m taking it slow, though. I really want to know everything about me before I decide to settle down with myself.

I do have a pretty good idea about who I am hoping I’ll be, once I finish figuring everything out.

I want to be a genuinely good person. I’m not sure if I am that now. I try to be a good person, but it is still me trying. I don’t necessarily do the right thing as an instinct. That’s something I want to develop in myself.

I want to turn out to be a rich and famous writer. I know that isn’t what you are supposed to say when you’re a blogger. You’re suppose to say things like, “I write because I want to help people be better at the things I’m good at!” Well, that isn’t true for me. I write for pretty selfish reasons, and I think I should be honest about that. I don’t want to live my life working in a crappy cubicle job. I want to entertain and inform for a living, and I’d like to make a pretty comfortable living at that. I don’t need a lot, but I would like to not worry about money.

The other reason I write, besides the money thing (which hasn’t really started working out for me yet, to be honest), is to help myself just be a better version of me. I’m writing to find out who I am, and I guess that just makes this whole post seem a little redundant.

Maybe I’m looking at this from the wrong angle. I spend so much time with the question “Who am I?” and all of it’s metaphysical and philosophical angles that I forget that it can be a bit more straightforward than that.  Most of my basic biographical information can be found on my about page, of which I am very proud.

At the core of it all, I am a man, age 28. I grew up in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri. I’ve moved about the Midwest quite a bit, but I’ve always come back here to roost. I’m a Kansas Citian through and through. I like it here, and I can’t imagine living anywhere else anymore. Of course that also means that I love real barbecue, not that sauceless crap they give you down south, and jazz music. I think our giant shuttlecocks are pretty awesome.  I will become a bit angry if you mock my city. I try not to mock yours, but I secretly pity anyone who doesn’t live here.

I grew up as the fat kid, and I have a lot of issues about my weight. Part of the problem with that is my love of food. I am absolutely addicted to fried chicken, and even though it is probably killing me slowly, I find a way to eat it at least once a week. It doesn’t matter if it is still in bird form, or if it’s been blendered down into nuggets. I like eating dead birds. One day they will go extinct and I will probably die, my primary food source depleted.

I suffer from a pretty severe chronic depression, but I’ve been pretty stable for the last year, mostly thanks to discovering new coping mechanisms, like bitching to the internet anytime I feel a little down. It helps that I have found a lot of great friends, especially on twitter. For someone who would much rather sit at home, separate from the rest of the world than go out, it is a life saver having social media around. Feeling lonely sucks, and having friends on twitter, even if they are on the other side of the world, takes that pain away.

I fight with foam swords.

I’ve been known to do a bit of doodling on occasion, and am pretty good with sharing them on twitter.

I replay conversations over and over in my head very much willing myself to be able to go back and say the right thing. Sometimes, I catch myself mumbling these conversations to myself. Worse, sometimes other people catch me mumbling to myself.

It’s really bad when I replay an argument.

I’m fairly sure that I have somehow inadvertently convinced the people that I work with that one day I’m going to come into the office packing heat. That is crazy to me, because I do regularly express my preference for wielding a crowbar. Besides, when you work with 90% redneck yahoos, you have to imagine that all of them are carrying something way more powerful than anything I’m going to get my hands on.

I am cynical, but hopeful. I think the world sucks but I believe if we put enough effort into it, we can make it a better place.

I believe in honor, especially in the spread of knowledge and ideas. I think it is more important to learn how to tell right and wrong than I think it is to know how many kilometers goes into a mile.

I have a powerful spiritual faith in God, but I believe that a blind devotion to any one form of dogma is dangerous, deadly, and destructive. I believe that goes for those who practice dogmatic devotion to science as well as religion. A closed mind is a brittle mind, hardened but not tempered. That leaves it easily shattered.

I tend to be both verbose and chaotic when I write. I’m sure you’ve noticed.

One Last Thing:

I don’t always have a binary system for expressing myself, but I do believe that if you sit down and examine an issue from all sides equally, you will come up with a right answer to any question. I think  we tend to over complicate some things in our lives, and though there are shades of grey, much more of life is black and white than people think.

Most things simply are or are not honorable.

I worry that too many times in the modern world, we forget that. I know that too many times, we don’t care.

Published by M.A. Brotherton

M.A. Brotherton is a writer, blogger, artist, and fat-kid from the suburbs of Kansas City, Missouri. He’s tasted a little bit of everything the Midwest has to offer, ranging from meth-tweaking rednecks in massive underground cave complexes to those legendary amber waves of grain. When he’s not writing, he spends most of his time screwing around on the internet.

16 thoughts on “Strange Definitions of Me #Reverb11”

  1. Mary Leach says:

    Your colourful scarf is awesome, as if the entire drawing. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed sitting down with this post and exploring each link, learning more about you.  

    First: I did not know a birdie was called a shuttlecock nor did I know they existed in giant form. wtf.

    Second: I’m with you. I’m in the getting to know myself phase. Most of the time, I have no idea. I went for a run this morning and was thinking about how I would answer this prompt. 3/4 of my thoughts were what I wanted to be or my hopes for my future self. Third: Your about page is as honest and real as they come. I loved reading it.  

    Your honesty is refreshing. I’m about to sit down with a pdf essay by Sam Harris on lying. The discussion focuses on if it is okay to lie. Sam Harris is of the opinion that it is not, ever. It’d be interesting to chat about…

    I am thrilled to have connected with you and I look forward to … the future … your posts … twitter… and you!

    Happy Reverbing.

    1. M.A. Brotherton says:

      Thanks. I had to doodle the scarf because I recently was given a real, honest to goodness replica of Tom Baker’s scarf that is nearly 35′ long. I love it!

      They are indeed called Shuttlecocks, and the Nelson Atkins Museum of Modern art here in Kansas City has giant ones. I don’t know why, either, to be honest, but they’re pretty cool and recognizable. In Springfield, Mo there is a giant fork stuck in the ground at the MSU campus. Again, no one knows why, but I love it.

      Thank you for your comment on my about page. I’m very proud of that, and a lot of work and trepidation went into writing it.

      I believe in honesty in almost all situations, but I try to hold more tightly to the idea of sincerity. It comes from a Japanese belief that there are two truths in the world. One is the real truth, based on facts, and must be dealt with. The other is the truth we all wish to believe, like showing fear to an elderly warrior who is no longer able to fight out of respect, or telling our children that there is indeed a Santa Clause. They are lies, really, but believing them makes the world a better place, so we hold onto them.

      I don’t believe in dishonesty when it comes to the self. That is the most important thing of all.

      Happy reverbing, to you, as well. I look forward to more of it myself.

  2. Stereo.* says:

    Permit me to add a few things to your already wonderful post:

    1. You are a source of encouragement and support for me and so many others.

    2. You and Chris are also part of the reason my ribs ache with laughter so often throughout the week.

    3. You are ridiculously talented. I have to work harder on making you realise this.

    I love your honesty.

    1. M.A. Brotherton says:

      Stereo*,

      You are like some sort of pillar of British light. Did you know that?

      It saddens me that we are separated by a vast ocean and many leagues of land, my friend, for you would surely enjoy the Tacos on Tuesday, and be forever welcome there.

  3. Liz says:

    I envy anyone who can respond to this prompt.  I tried yesterday and just could not figure out who I am right now, weird.  So, you are, pretty amazing.  Why did it take me so long to find you on my twitter timeline?  I’m with you about twitter, it’s a lifesaver, an awesome provider of wit, companionship, the ROCK STARS like you and others participating in Reverb11.  I look forward to reading your posts. 

    1. M.A. Brotherton says:

      When I first started out blogging, I felt it was important to have a mask of professionalism between who I really am and who I wanted the world to see me as. The longer I write, though, the more I realize that it is impossible to separate the two and create something that is both satisfying to me as the writer, and real enough to be entertaining and helpful to readers.

      Besides, on the internet, the worst you can get is a silent unfollow.

      Those are people I don’t really want to deal with anyway.

      I do think we all struggle a bit with knowing who we are, and who we want to be. It’s probably the most basic of questions you can ask once you’ve accomplished all of the more pressing primal needs like food and shelter.

      We all are looking for our place and purpose. I think Reverb is a great way to explore that. That is what drew me to it in the first place last year. The community of supportive, amazing people that sprang out of that is the reason I came back.

      I think you’ll find your answer if you keep looking. Even if your answer is “I’m cookie dough, I’m not done baking yet.”

  4. dominique says:

    i am really grateful for this introduction to you. we run in the same twittercircles, but i don’t feel like i’ve gotten to know you well. i loved this prompt, because it’s so wonderful to see someone through their own eyes, especially when they’re honest about perceived flaws. i like the way your mind works and i’m looking forward to reading more of you this reverb season.

    1. M.A. Brotherton says:

      I know! It’s crazy that we haven’t spoken to each other more! We really should be more tweeterly. My twitter is all aflood with chaos these days. I need to narrow my pool back down to a wonderful handful again, but it’s hard to do that and still grow as a blogger.

      I’m so very glad that Stereo* retweeted the link to your blog the other night. I love meeting new blogging type people.

  5. Mark says:

    Wow, Matt.

  6. Tracy Mangold says:

    See how much I adore your view of the world? I feel the same way when it comes to problems – there is ALWAYS an answer if only we’d look at every possible point. But people let their pride complicate things. 
    I love the new picture with the scarf. You are incredibly creative and to know you and call you friend is a special gift indeed.

    And yes, your honesty IS refreshing. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. You just rock.

    1. M.A. Brotherton says:

      Thanks! I was so happy that the wind was really blowing that day because it is super heavy, and it took some timing to get that picture. 

      I’ll admit that there have been times when my depression has told me there isn’t an answer. I think at this point in my life, though, my father has beaten it into my head (metaphorically) that there is always a solution, we just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

  7. Meredith says:

    This really resonated with me. I, too, have similar writing aspirations. I hope 2012 brings you money for your writing. I’m also glad I got to learn more about you. I look forward to reading more of your work

    1. M.A. Brotherton says:

      Double that! Here’s to 2012 being the year of the indie author! May millions rain on us from the sky! 

  8. Sara Olson-Liebert says:

    No matter what, we’re always getting to know ourselves. And yes, you are awesome. I’m with you, Brotherton.

    1. M.A. Brotherton says:

      Awesome is counted by how many tacos you can eat on a Tuesday! Any number above 5 is exponential. I think that makes you the awesome queen.

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