“Thank you,” I said. “I came back to this place to find something, to connect with something lost, to reunite if not with my whole self, then with a piece of it. What I’ve discovered is that this thing is not here. In fact, it is nowhere. I have learned that my name is not my name. It seems you all know me and nothing could be further from the truth and yet you know me better than I know myself, perhaps better than I can know myself. My mother is buried not far from this auditorium, and there are no words on her headstone. As I glance out now, as I feel the weight of this trophy in my hands, as I stand like a specimen before these strangely unstrange faces, I know finally what should be written on that stone. It should say what mine will say:
I AM NOT MYSELF TODAY.”
As I sit in my English 203 class, scrolling through the syllabus, I find myself stopping and rereading this quote, trying to find something, anything really, that I can say I relate to. I repeat the words that are screaming at me in capital letters: “I am not myself today.” I’ve had those days. Everyone can say that they’ve had those days. The second line that stood out to me was when Percival Everett said “It seems you all know me and nothing could be further from the truth and yet you know me better than I know myself, perhaps better than I can know myself.” Now, what have we done in class that could possibly be a connection to that?
It may not be easy for me to admit, but I will say that I find this course challenging. I find myself sitting in class looking up words online that are used, the first one being “epigraph”. Last week when put into small groups we made lists of what causes frenzies between Spontaneous Autochthonous and Directed Allochthonous. I was at a loss (not the first time by the way) because I had not even the slightest clue as to what those words meant. As we walked through the assignment, little by little, I began to understand. Individuals can cause frenzies within themselves from what they tell themselves in their minds. Frenzies can also come from outside forces, such as peers and popular trends.
“It seems that you know me… better than I can know myself.” Has someone ever tried to tell YOU what YOU are supposed to believe in? Has someone ever tried to influence you in ways that ended up causing panics within yourself? As the writer of this passage delivers this speech, you can tell that he is lost. He is struggling to find what he is looking for. He isn’t acting like himself. What caused this? Did he work himself too hard? Or did someone from the outside put too much pressure on him? Just this past week I put myself into a frenzy by overthinking this assignment. That would be considered Spontaneous Autochthonous. I did it to myself. I got too caught up in all these fancy words and terms that I should know like “epigraph” and “New Criticism” versus “Intertextuality” that I never really had time to stop and say to myself: “It’s okay.” These posts are to be about whatever we want them to be. We are making our own choices. The last connection that I can make from this epigraph to the works we have done in class is the play The Bacchae. Dionysus, the God of wine, has returned to the city of Thebes in search of something. Just like the writer when he says; “I came back to this place to find something, to connect with something lost…” Dionysus’ birth place is Thebes and he found himself returning to the land so that he can punish the king for not allowing the maenads to worship him. It seems to me that he is in a situation where the king and his servants are trying to act like they know everything about Dionysus. They are assuming that he is up to no good. Pentheus even claims that he does not exist. Dionysus wants power. He wants control of the people and his worshipers. That is why he came back to his place of origin. This is what he is searching for. I am a freshman in college. I am still trying to adjust to a new environment and I am trying to find myself in this new world. I may not be the best at writing or being creative for that matter, and warming up to this new class isn’t very easy for me. So I chose my epigraph based on how I was feeling and what I felt I related to most. As Percival Everett put it: “I am not myself today.”