Split Personality

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Prompt: Describe a quirk of your personality not easily assumed upon first glance.


It is 4:44 am—I am shrouded in the stark familiarity of dawn’s quotidian baptism. I breathe anew, shove back the longing to rekindle the hearth of my dreams, and transform myself as night reverts to day. At 6:15 I make my hajj to school, to the heart of downtown where lawyers and students alike don delirious visages, caffeinated for the trials of federal court and academia. Here, time is irreplaceable, and blissfully trackable—in classes by 7:00, to lunch at 9:58, in one of my assortments of clubs by 10:22, seated in orchestra by 12:33 (on time is late!), and out of the maelstrom by 2:00. I keep my watch clamped to my wrist, carve out a stern face, and model myself as the incarnate of Rosie the Riveter—“We can do it!”


But as nuclear rays recede into dusk, Dr. Jekyll transforms into Mr. Hyde. Nighttime is an era of opportunity—when I am energized by the electric fluorescence that seeps from the cityscape of Las Vegas, when I can cater to the universe of ideas and goals that leak from my mechanical fingers onto the crystalline perfection of an LCD screen, when I abandon the corporeal necessities and casual fancies of adolescence for the impetuous waters of scholarship and discovery.


Unfortunately, my gap between logic and passion often breeds conflict. There are times when I worry if I even have the capacity to accomplish every task the vespertine opportunist has chosen. She longs to bend the rules of space and time and is unaware of the continual lump that metastasizes in her sister’s throat each morning. Daylight-Sarah must cope with the distortions of time, the minutes inching together, the foundation of sleep deprivation grown into a veritable skyscraper. Nighttime-Sarah is too busy crying over the Elgar Concerto to notice her burgeoning raccoon-like façade.


Within this chaos, I am forever waiting for the convergence of yin and yang. The ephemeral bolt of enlightenment strikes—when the years of technical practice allow me to feel Romeo’s anguish as he cries near Juliet’s corpse, à la Tchaikovsky; when I am scribbling at an intricate math problem, unrestrainedly scratching away canceled out variables; when I am looking through a labyrinth of highlights to describe Reverend Dimmesdale’s clandestine agony. These are the moments of pure bliss, lucidity, for which I—we—yearn and live.


I have often hoped that my unwavering reticence inspired mysteries and intrigue amongst my peers—an introvert with unthinkable secrets, an underground rebel, a covert operator. They would never be able to understand me; yet, neither can I. I am the eternal and archetypical Jungian INFP, the idealist, surrealist, and inflamed bleeding heart. I am also the principal violist of several orchestras; secretary, historian and president of countless clubs; valedictorian candidate; overachiever; and perfectionist. But instead of hoping to reconcile a disparity, I have learned to cherish the gifts of duality and let the eternal duet sing.





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