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Who Am I

Here's something I wrote for my interstitial class - a class 11 days long, between Spring and Summer semester. Woohoo!



Who Am I?

I have a variety of interests and hobbies, ranging from general technology, to genre fiction, to films and film analysis, to cooking, to politics, and to spirituality to name a handful. When it comes to skills, I have a similar spread. My first career skill was an encryption technician in the US Army from the early to late 1990s, to be followed up by cashier and entertainment management, and eventually food service where I was trained as a Thai cook, but I also spent time within pizza deliver service from driver to store manager. After I found myself back at retail, I rediscovered a talent I had forgotten – art. Since 2014, I’ve been selling my art, comics, web series and writing, with the odd day job to fill in the financial gaps. My intention with my return to college is to help refine what I want to achieve with my artistic and authorship inclinations in regard to a fulfilling and sustainable career.

Was it a surprise that I too was a Campaigner? Not in the slightest. In fact, if I were to show this to all my friends, there’s be no hesitation that its definition is exceptionally accurate. It’s like an identifiable combination of my mother and father. My mother is the secret artist that only wanted to be a mother, with children she could inspire to be more than the sum of her shyness, introverted, and passive self, and to attempt to escape a cycle of violence for herself and then much later on, her children. My father was the life of the party, and the social butterfly that everyone knew, and everyone loved to hang out with, who wasn’t ready for adult responsibilities, who just wanted to be free of the system, though addiction in a variety of substances hid his depression and anxiety he inherited from a father who committed suicide months before my birth. The artistic talents, forthright personality, that only wants to create things that bring joy to others is me, as is the desire to seek, and hold, real, deep emotional bonds with anyone I meet, who loves and is loved my nearly everyone I know is the me that wants to eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow is another day. The struggle is in the opposite of those two natures.

As someone in the workplace, I learn exceptionally fast and well. I need little supervision, but a list is great for I often find myself mired in overthinking a task if it stumps me for too long. My coworkers and I often get on as quickly as I learn, for I’ve never had a shortage of friends anywhere I have lived or worked. I enjoy being around, even working around others, and count myself lucky to enjoy work as a social occasion at the same time – being social and working are things I’m know for doing all at once. Talking is like breathing. Management opportunities find their way to me with the same expediency, where I have nearly every time said, “Yes.”

As an artist, I am easily happy to spend several days without communication with the outside world and just paint, draw, or write for hours on end. When I first started my writing career of sorts, it was directly after I had left the US Army, where I joined a critique group and soon became known as one of those prolific writers. In the first year after the Army, I had written at least one short story every week, and a couple novel length stories. I, even to this day, wrote my first drafts by hand. A fifteen-page story would take me about four to five hours to write, and I’d usually do so at and IHOP of VI. Though I’ve turned that verbose flood of art into a more well-designed river, it occasionally floods.

Do you see the conflict?

The social butterfly in me is in direct opposition to the artist that needs to be left alone to create. This either causes me to stop writing for a period of time because my day job requires more than I initially wanted to invest, which is great at triggering my anxiety and depression, as I feel as though I am denying my spirit, or soul, sustenance. On the other hand, if I give into my art too much, I can easily call into or just risk losing, my day job that carries the brunt of my finances to feel hole and sated. I often say I need to be left alone to write or make art, but if I do that for too long, anxiety and depression find their way in and feed off the lack of connection to my friends and family. My coworkers have always said they’d love to work for me, which usually triggers my need for exercising control over something in order to feel calm, but when I am the boss, I struggle with disciplinary actions, and often too soft, but those who find it calming to work for me thrive off my pleasant, pleasing nature. This never last, for each time I go up the ladder, I become more and more mired in a rigid bureaucracy that feels confining and life-sucking, and often to the point that I step down or quit. Also, I’ve always found myself drawn to spiritual or religious beliefs, and often as a kid thought about being a preacher or pastor, though to this day, I just can believe in any religion. That’s not to say that I don’t believe that there must be something more to us than the sum of our parts, it’s just in my mind, why would an entity that ‘created’ the entirety of the universe care about us, and if there was a God that existed beyond our world, how could we ever know what it wants since we are only capable of knowing our universe since we are creatures of this universe. The strengths and weaknesses of the Campaigner are exceptionally accurate. Who am I? As the secondary TEDx Talk defined:

I am John Michael Poling, and I love to tell stories in a variety of mediums, to readers and audiences alike, so that they may have a moment of escapism, and if I’m lucky, to open their eyes and minds to the lives of the other.

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