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I Carry

August 13, 1996

Who am I? I, to the outside world, am comprised of the sum of my actions. What is precious to me? The things that I carry inside of me define who I am to myself. Who I think I am will direct my actions and hence what the outside world thinks of me. As a result of this, not only will exploring what I carry inside of me help me to define for myself who I am, but will also allow the outside world to better understand me and my actions. Because of this, it is appropriate to explore the things I carry and elements tangible and not that comprise the whole of my character and being.

I carry loneliness and a feeling of isolation from the world. I carry tiredness from late nights one after the other. I carry detachment from the things I loved back home. I carry my books, and I carry oppression. I carry pencils and pens and diskettes and notebooks and a backpack. I carry software programs. I carry my computer. I carry the knowledge of programming. I carry the happy burden of love. I try to carry joy to others but often drop it. I carry programmed knowledge. I carry programming knowledge. I carry thirty-four history lectures, sixteen physics lectures and thirty-two Linear Algebra lectures. I carry my seven page paper on Love through the ages that I wrote yesterday. I carry Raid, with which I kill the thousands of ants that march in my room. (“For behold, I am become Death, the very destroyer of worlds,” come the words as I lay waste to a colony) I carry funny quotes. I carry pictures and memories of those I love. I carry many, many pieces of paper — an infinite amount of paper. I carry CDs and powder mixes and late night snacks. I carry vitamins to keep me from getting sick from the snacks and the lack of sleep and exercise. I carry pencil sharpeners and computer mice. I carry desk lamps and watches that can organize my life better than I. I carry sad stories and good news from my friends and from the world. I carry my faith in God. I carry my enormous sneakers and my trademark striped shirts. I do not carry a bike. I don’t carry a license to drive in any state. I don’t carry alcohol. I carry a curiosity for life. I carry my responsibilities as a treasurer, a friend, a webmaster, a son, and as a college student. I carry poetry by myself and by those who help carry me. I carry argument and debate, facts and figures. (contrived or otherwise) I unfortunately carry insatiable lust, as any college student does. I carry the pressure and desire to succeed. I carry my hopes, my plans, my dreams. I do not carry fear. (Well, at least not frequently) I carry my future somewhat shakily. I carry my telephone, my filter to another world through which periodically a piece of a person drips through in bits. (email can’t do that quite as well) I carry one bonsai tree, unplanted and infrequently watered. I carry assignments like hell. I carry nine hour Sunday Linear Algebra problem sets. I carry shoelaces that endorse MIT and rail against Harvard, and with them green nail polish and black lipstick. (I carry my weirdness) I carry a camera, but do not use it. I do not frequently carry notes, because, for better or worse, I don’t take notes in class…or on life. I carry 10 miniature porcelain Chinese masks and a book I bought entitled “The Zen of Graphics Programming.” I carry a green and red umbrella for rainy days. I carry the excitement and enthusiasm that is typical of most all college freshman. I carried a multitude of forms to declare my major in Computer Science. I carry a love of technology. I carry my white male heterosexuality. I carry my solar-powered calculator because hey, who knows when you’re going to need it? I carry myself.

This is me. I am open, I am young. I am naive, I am strong. I can carry these things. The burden is great, but bearable. When new items come along that suit me well, I will without a word pick them up and add them to my list. I look forward in eager anticipation to the future, when I shall carry new and unknown items, items that will help further define my character.

This implies that my character is not yet fully developed, or at least not yet fully defined by the things I carry. All that I can do is approximate, to continually revise the things I carry to come closer and closer to representing myself. This is true self-discovery: looking for things to carry that will aid me in refining my perception of myself. This applies to all people. This is an essential part of the human process, and a part I openly embrace. My philosophy is that I plan on looking at as many things in the world as possible, so as to have the best idea of who I am. This is the principal reason why I came to Stanford.

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