“You are what you pretend to be.” -Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

I’ve received a few messages from people asking questions about my most recent entry. (Apparently some of you would rather resort to reading my ramblings than study or do work–to you I say: Man, you should check out homestarrunner.com or muffinfilms.com. You would be much more entertained!!) But, as you have asked similar questions, I decided it would be easiest to post here as opposed to trying to get into loooong, drawn out IM conversations about this subject. I hope you don’t mind!

Of course, before I can get into this stuff, I must have a small rant about tonight’s game. WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING, AROD? You have now clinched your spot as the biggest TOOL in baseball history. Congratulations. You *clearly* knocked that ball out of his hand! That is not allowed! What do you think this is, Little League? You know you did it, so quit your bitching and sit down on the bench. If you were my player, you would have been benched for the rest of the game. So shut up, Arod. Assclown. And you too, Torre. I understand that you have to argue a little bit, but not that much. You are now guilty of aiding and abetting a tool. So shut it, Torre. And shut up Jeter. Just shut up.

I’m a Yanks fan through and through, but they played like a bunch of strangers out there tonight. The Sox had heart, and they *deserved* their win tonight. Great pitching, Schilling. Great job, Francona, you made some shrewd decisions.Yanks, get it together. Take some lessons from the Sox and get some heart. Let’s see some good ball tomorrow, not this crap you guys tried to pull tonight.

Okay, now that that is out–off we go onto other subjects. Old names, new names. This was the subject I was avoiding the other night when I couldn’t sleep, but it is the best way to explain myself. The main question you guys seem to have is this: How on earth could I say that I would like to forget Phi Lamb and A&M when obviously I was so into both institutions back in the day. Let me tell you a little story:

Once upon a time, back in 1999, there was a sweet, slightly bootylicious girl with frizzy hair who was beginning her freshman year at A&M. Her name was Alida. Well, her name was Alida during Fish Camp. And during her first floor meeting in her dorm. And even up to her first class. On the second day of class, however, Alida was approached by a cute, small pixie of a girl called Erica. Erica introduced herself, mentioning that she and Alida had all the same classes. Erica asked Alida’s name. It was in the moment that Alida malfunctioned, deciding to change not her hair, not her clothes, but her whole identity. She stuck her hand out and said, “My name is Ali! Nice to meet you!”

Never in my life had *anyone* called me Ali. Ever. But I liked the idea of being somebody brand new. Alida was clumsy, awkward, and just a little bit crazy. Ali could be anything. Ali was going to get good grades, lose weight, and most importantly, make tons of new friends. Ali wasn’t going to mess up. Alida made messing up an artform. So the name stuck. During the first Phi Lamb informational, my nametag said, “Hello! My name is: Ali.” Freaked the hell out of my roommate, who had known me since 7th grade as ‘Alida.’ Freaked the hell out of my high school friends. But I was determined.

And Ali was different from Alida, at least on the surface. As Ali, I learned how to make new friends at A&M: Join a christian sorority, dive headfirst into the “christian bubble,” and pray for people. Or at least say you are praying for people. I began to read my bible for the purpose of having something to talk about in the 12th Man, with all those “amazing, godly men and women.” I would tell random people I was only meeting for the second time that I had been praying for them. Never had they been so touched with such “kindness,” i.e. they believed the lies of a girl who was slowly learning how to get ahead in the christian bubble. And I noticed something amazing–people liked Ali. They called her a prayer warrior, thought she was really in touch with God. And that was gold in Phi Lamb, the key to maneuvering the 12th Man.

So I continued on in college as Ali, and generally took Christ and turned him into my personal whore to further my name, which wasn’t even my real name at all. It was the invented persona that could never withstand everything that happened in those 3 years I spent at A&M. I am ashamed of this. I am sorry for what I did, the things I said, the people I lied to. I am sorry because it showed such a lack of respect for those who I claimed to love and respect. And it showed a complete lack of character and integrity on my part. But mostly, my actions were the cause of the major chasm that began to fall between God and me. “Ali” was taking me over, and I wasn’t going to survive. It’s cliche, but I had honestly created a monster.

One day, during my sophomore year, I made a new friend. His name was Zach. Zach’s roommate was dating one of my best friends, and she got the idea that I should ask Zach to Phi Lamb formal (not trying to set us up or anything, because everyone knows you don’t ask somebody you like to a formal or date party…it’s one of the Phi Lamb rules!). So I did. And as I got to know him more, I was amazed by this person. I’d never known anybody like him. Zach, as best as I can describe him, is chill. Back when I first got to know him, I thought he was the most amazing christian I had ever met. (As a side note, that speaks quite highly of the bubble mentality I had. I didn’t make judgments based on anything other than whether or not I thought a person had a “good” relationship with God.) And so I asked the kid to formal, he decided to come, and I had such a great time. But honestly, it was one of the most exhausting weekends of my life. I worked so hard to seem like a hoss spiritual girl. I wanted him to think I wasn’t a waste of his time.

So anyway, the formal weekend progresses, and we have fun blah blah blah. I was doing this thing back then (I cringe to admit this, but it’s just so very “Ali”) where I prayed every half hour. Yup. Every. Half. Hour. I had a watch that would beep on the half hour and I would stop whatever I was doing and pray. Talk about exhausting. But man, did it put me high up in the eyes of some people. Not Zach, though, which surprised me. He didn’t say anything, but at one point I got the feeling it made him uncomfortable. And then, on that same night, he somehow found out my name was really Alida. His reaction to that made a big impact on me. He said he couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t want to go by such a fun name, and that he was going to call me Alida from then on. Inwardly, I cringed. I didn’t want to be Alida! Alida was sloppy, fat, clumsy, awkward, a bad christian, and just an all around mess. Ali was all those things as well, just MUCH better at hiding them (well, except the fat). And the idea that this amazing guy, who I thought so much of and who I wanted so badly for him to think well of me, was going to use *that* name? Ack. Just. . .ack. But a funny thing happened. I began to relax a little more around him, although I didn’t realize it at the time. And from then on, whenever he called me Alida, I felt soft toward him, as I did to anyone who called me that (my mom, for example).

As time went on, things progressed with my charade to the point that I was an all out mess. Honestly, I was probably the biggest liar and manipulator to ever eat in the 12th Man. And a day came junior year where Zach called me Ali. Not to be hurtful (because how could he know as he was the only one who didn’t call me Ali), but just because he did. And it broke my heart. For some reason, I felt like I’d lost the last part of me that was connected to Alida.

Well, over the next year, things went from bad to worse. I made some choices, dropped out of school, and quit Phi Lamb. The chasm between myself and God was so wide. So wide. I got a job, and during my interview, I introduced myself to the manager as Alida. I was trying everything I could to separate myself from Ali. Because I decided Ali sucked. Sure, in my mind Alida sucked, but I had sucked at being Alida for my whole life, so it felt more comfortable.

Okay, this is ridiculously long. Blah blah blah, name changes, I’m crazy, etc. The point is this: I wasted 3 years pretending to be somebody I really truly wasn’t. I hurt a lot of people, I made a lot of mistakes, and I whored Christ, who quite possibly was the only one who loved me for who I was at each moment, even during the lowest ones. The shame of that is what makes me want to forget A&M and Phi Lamb (well, Phi Lamb because of that and because of some other stuff that I may get into another time.). But I hold on to these memories, to my shame and my regret because by doing so, I am able to keep from being anything other than who I am right now. Raw, real, rambly, what have you, I’m me and I am fiercely unyielding in that. And who I am now is Alida. Clumsy, awkward, a little bit crazy, happy, confident, extra-ly (shut up, it’s a word if I say so) padded, and content in where my life is at this moment.

Gosh, I don’t know if any of that makes sense. This post went in a completely different direction from what I had intended. I’ll try and talk more about your questions later, when I’m not so tired. I need to get something more lighthearted in here, otherwise we all might jump off of a cliff. Not really, but nobody needs to read this on the night of the Great Yankee Blaargh of 2004. So later I will talk about the time (today) when I took a test in a class I’m not even enrolled in. On purpose.

Mood at the moment: hee…try and guess!

Music at the moment: Nick Drake- “Pink Moon”