November 7, 2010

Who I Am (and Who Are You?)

I received my first assignment to write for the blog, and I had a difficult time trying to think about what to write. I started to think about current events, pop culture, and the like, but nothing seemed to click. So I figured I ought to introduce myself, and go from there.

My name is Cameron Kim. I am a first-year from Florida, and I am studying to be a biomedical engineer with a double major in mathematics, and perhaps an IGSP certificate. Clearly, I am a little insane for wanting to complete all of those requirements in four years, but I think I can do it. I am a nerd, and I am quite proud of that. As a matter of fact, as I write this post, I am working with friends on a math competition test. I am the quidditch referee (I'm sure you've seen me out there). But most importantly, I am an introvert.

When I first came to Duke, I feared being an introvert, let alone a gay introvert. College always seemed to be a place where you had to party, get drunk, and be friends with everybody, but I don't do the party scene and do not plan to change that, and I am perfectly okay with that. I was not completely out in high school, but because I was so worried about fitting in, I was not sure whether I had to be completely out or completely closeted. I decided to go with the completely closeted. But I was not happy because I felt like I was not being myself, but being out is not even who I am.

This post, is for the LGBT-identified introverts and/or closeted friends who feel the way I do. I have been an anonymous poster, just like many of you have been. You are not alone in how you feel.

Even though I am posting on this blog, I still feel as though I am closeted. I do not openly tell people I'm gay unless they ask. I still see myself trying to conform to heteronormative standards because that just feels "right." But even though I acknowledge these behaviors, I am proud of who I am.

And if the rest of the post seems to be rambling words of nonsense, just read this part: Be proud of who you are.

Who are you? What do you like? Have you thought about that recently? I think college is a great place to sit down and define you as an individual. Sure, there are ethnic groups and other groups that you may identify with, but sit down and figure out who you are. Labels don't define you; others don't define you. You define you.


  1. Cameron!

    Yay for writing on the blog! I'm proud of you. As for being an introvert--I would argue that not going to crazy Duke parties on West and getting, (excuse my language), completely shit-faced every night, actually might make you a very normal and sane person. =) I don't drink at all, so please don't feel like you're the only one. :D

    And I loved your quote about labels. I think I have may quoted this before on the blog, but Martina Navratilova has a great quote about labels: "Labels are for clothes. Labels are for filing cabinets. Labels are not for people."

    Congratulations again! This is cool.

  2. Hey Cameron! I'm so happy you decided to write about this topic. I think finding your own identity is one so many people (including me) struggle with in college. It's important to remember that you can't fit into the role someone else tries to put you in. This is awesome!

  3. Cameron, been there, done that, same exact thoughts. I'm one of those avoids-parties-and-drinking-like-the-plague kind of people. I've found a nice group of friends who feel the same way, so I don't feel so strange, and I'm glad I know you too (haha, am I putting my anonymity on the line? The pseudonym isn't really to shut me out from the people on the blog--mainly for my parents.)

    Your post really brings the question of "What IS 'out'?" up for debate. I had decided during the summer that I was going to be 'out' in college and that from move in day I wouldn't lie to myself or others any longer. But, I don't really know HOW to be out. All I know how to do is hide who I am, and I'm taking the steps to be what SEEMS like 'out', but I'm not quite sure what it entails.

    Like, what am I supposed to do? Go around yelling that I'm "bi" and I like women too? Heterosexuals don't do that, and frankly, I find that idea kind of ridiculous. I too am the kind of person who doesn't say anything about my sexuality unless someone asks. I'm not the kind of person to plaster Human Rights Campaign stickers all over my things (I don't really like putting stickers on things) nor do I wear the BDU bracelet (because I don't wear jewelry, aside from two gifts given to me by people I care a lot about), and I don't have any rainbow paraphernalia. I feel like, despite the fact that I want to be out, it's HARD to be out when that's put up against my personality and habits--though habits that I probably used to hide my true self from others. I've never been too open with others in regards to personal thoughts and feelings, and I'm not too sure if I've always been this way or if it's some sort of defense mechanism that I just can't shed. I suppose being 'out' differs from person to person, and you just have to find your level of 'outness' that doesn't completely combat who you are as a person.

    Anyways, I'm happy you're proud of who you are. It doesn't really matter what others think of you, whether or no they know about you define your sexuality; all that matters is what you think of yourself and your happiness. Awesome first post Cameron; you are a wonderful, nerdy, and kind person. :)

  4. Dear Cameron, you can probably guess who this is (and you better not say it either), but I think you are quite awesome for this blog post. I think the other introverts out there will feel more comfortable as well, hopefully.

  5. Hi Cameron,

    I enjoyed this post quite a bit. We introverts have a hard time being seen and your columns will help us better speak for everyone.

    And I completely agree about partying and alcohol. I get tired of people telling me that they'll get me "out of my shell" yet--I think it stems from an assumption that we're just like they are, as though we've yet to fully mature somehow. Best wishes standing up to them throughout your years here and beyond :)

  6. Great to have you Cameron! I commend you for staying true to yourself.

  7. Your inspiration for putting yourself out there, and I understand how scoial situations dont exactly apese our thoughts. I dont party, or club, or want to look like every other gay guys on the face of the planet that has 6 pack this a 7 hour workout that. I am happy with who I am and in knowing that i can offer so much more than my physical body. As a ITNJ, its hard to go about relationships, without overanalyzing evrything about it, thats probably why i have been single for 2 years, but in hopes that I can find someone, maybe an introvert like me, because frankly, extrovert such so much eneergy out of introverts! lol