This post contains the backstory for the name of this blog. Post was written a couple of years ago (May 2017). Please pardon any inconsistencies.
You are what you are called
How can I, with a serious face, call myself a puppy? How does a 24-year old engineer at a plastics manufacturing company come to the realization that they are akin to a little blip of a fluff ball that lives for attention?
Well, honestly, I didn’t. Not on my own, that is.
I’ve played the sport of ultimate (ultimate frisbee for the uninitiated) since the Spring of 2009, my sophomore year of high school. At the time, I was unquestionably a novice at the sport, if you could even call what we were doing a sport. There were 5 of us throwing a disc (at least it was an Ultrastar) around after school and sometimes running around before catching it.
Fast forward to 3 years later in the Spring of 2012, towards the end of my freshman year at Lehigh University. At that point, I had gotten enough playing experience both in high school and in college that a recent Lehigh graduate dragged me to tryouts for a club team that he was starting in New Jersey. The team is now called Garden State Ultimate.
So I did. And I made the team!
Apparently he could see something in me that piqued his interest.
Over 8 or so years, I continued to grow with the Lehigh team, Garden State Ultimate (GSU), and even a couple of professional ultimate teams, the Philadelphia Spinners and the New York Rumble, in the MLU (Major League Ultimate). Most recently, I played with Philadelphia AMP in 2017. We lost the national championship to Seattle Mixtape in an incredibly close game in Sarasota, FL to take 2nd place in the country. Out of all of that has come physical and mental mastery in many aspects of the game. However, one tendency of mine has always stuck out above the rest.
I like to chase frisbees. And it’s become apparent that I’m pretty damn good at it. Turns out that that was exactly what he saw in me all those years ago. At some point, he began to call me a puppy because of my aptitude for chasing frisbees.
Endearingly, his puppy.
And I started calling him “dad”, cause he was, in a way. My frisbee dad who brought me into the competitive world of ultimate.
Alas, as a 20 year old, I was deemed to be a puppy. This did give 20 year old me some pause, but, on the whole, I accepted it.
Since then, somewhere on the order of 100 people have called me puppy, most of which have done so after I have told them that others have described me that way. After all, being labeled a puppy is not the worst thing that could happen to someone.
However, since that first time, somewhere on the order of 10 people have called me a puppy completely unprompted: several teammates of mine, a few close friends, an ex, and even two co-workers.
Now, I get that that first time isn’t too surprising. “Wow, you look just like a dog chasing that frisbee!” I’m sure many of you have heard or even said something along those lines before. What stumped me is the rest of those unprompted occurrences.
As this started happening 2, 3, 5 times, I began to wonder what was causing it. That’s when I started to notice those other behaviors that puppies exhibit, beyond just playing fetch.
My energy levels are pretty.. up there. I get distracted easily. I’m essentially always happy. Not only am I willing to try just about anything and everything, but I want to. I NEED to.
And, I like to think that I’m pretty adorable.
But wait. Why did no one call me a puppy before him? I haven’t changed THAT much since I was a kid, and I feel like a kid would be far more likely to be called a puppy than a student/working professional in his early twenties. No?
Maybe this happens to more people than I think? Please, if 10 separate people in your life have called you a puppy (or anything of the like), completely unprompted by any specific action or words or sounds from you, let me know in the comments or email me. I want to meet my puppy brethren.
So, did he somehow change the way I act just by calling me by a cute pet name?
I believe that he actually changed the way I act, simply by giving a name to my behavior. I believe he changed not only the way I act, but also the way I view myself and how I affect others.
“Self-concept … is the totality of our beliefs, preferences, opinions, and attitudes organized in a systematic manner, towards our personal existence.” Simply put, self-concept is how we see ourselves and how we perform our various roles through all aspects of life. According to one of the assumptions of the self-concept theory: “self-concept is learned”, and can therefore be impacted by external factors, including our social environment (https://explorable.com/self-concept-theory).
Similar to the phrase, you are what you eat, it would seem that you are also what you are called.
And he didn’t just change the way I see myself. In describing me as a puppy, he has changed the way I look at life. He changed me.
Dad, If you’re reading this, thanks for adopting me as your puppy all those years ago!
Understanding self-concept is the first step to understanding self-awareness. Self-awareness is the true measure of one’s ability to learn, to change, and to improve. And self-improvement, THAT is my goal in my life, as well as for this blog. I hope to find ways to look at my world differently, to look at myself differently so that I may increase my self-awareness and figure out who I am, and who I want to be.
I want to help YOU to find ways to look at your world differently, to look at yourself differently so that you can increase your self-awareness and figure out who YOU are, and who YOU want to be.
How in the world am I going to do that? Great question.. but I hope you are willing to join me [AT THIS LINK] on the journey that is me attempting to do so. About the only thing I can promise you is fun.