This is supposed to serve as an introduction to who I am as a person and as an Erskine alumn. So, “Who am I?” If that’s not a loaded baked potatoe then I am going on a diet! According to my psychology professor, fall semester of my junior year, “(I am) a special kind of specimen.” I took it as a compliment. He graciously informed me of the truth I had known but worked my entire life to escape: that life, rather God, had chosen to land me in the less than 10% of this world’s population; aka I would never fit in. He continued to inform me that mine was a lonely path to follow, but that he wished more people could see the world through my eyes. “I believe it would be a better place if they could.”
For the first time in twenty-seven years, I was not asked why I could not be like everyone else; rather, I was asked to stop trying to be like everyone else and to embrace the wonderful that is me. On that morning, I walked out of the Erskine building, paused under the towers and suddenly “You are fearfully and wonderfully made” became more than just words memorized by a Christian; they became truth.
Jump to May 2014:
The stage has been set, the graduates lined up in order, and there I stand impatiently waiting for my name to be called. It’s one of those surreal moments where you think you won’t remember anything, where time slows down and in the movies there’s always that breeze to wake you from your trance-like state. No, I don’t remember what the speaker said or who was standing directly in front of me. But I remember two things:
1. My best friend who was there from day one of my academic journey was sitting in the far back just to the right of the Grier statue, smiling.
2. That Erskine gave me more than a degree. It gave me the good, the BAD, and the terribly beautiful.
So, once more, who am I?
I am the baby of three forced to share the middle of four in a family of six. I am the multi-cultured, homeschooler with exceptional social skills. I am the bilingual entrepeneur who doesn’t always pursue or finish every thought that comes to mind. I am magic and Erskine is where I learned to be a wizard. I am your greatest friend and your darkest enemy. But above all, I am the child of the King of Heaven born to fulfill a purpose, called to Erskine College to earn more than a degree, more than an education; to be reminded that I am fearfully, wonderfully made. I am less than 10% but that is who God needs me to be. My oddities are the tools with which I either shape and mold or destroy the lives around me. Erskine taught me that.
My very first Erskine Experience as a prospective student was auditioning for a music scholarship. My two selections were “Time to Say Goodbye” (made popular by Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman) and “Someone like You” (from Jekyll and Hyde-the musical). After entering the room, my goal became-not to secure a scholarship but rather- to make the grumpy looking man on the back row riser smile. By the end of my song and had acheived both!
“If someone like you found someone like me
Then suddenly, nothing would ever be the same.
My heart would take wing and I’d feel so alive.
If someone like you found me.”
These are the words I sang that day, knowing nothing of the truth they would hold in the four years that would follow my audition.
People often ask if there is anything I am incapable of doing. I reply “Fly!” And yet, that is what Erskine has afforded me: the ability to rise above the norm and be exceptional; to strive for excellence because it is attainable; and to finish what I have begun-nevermind the missed notes or fudged words. You finish and you do so gracefully.
So, “Who am I?”
I guess you’ll have to keep reading to find out. 🙂