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  • Rob Will

"Who Am I?"

5) On a separate sheet of paper, answer the question “Who am I?” Indicate what you consider to be of importance or interest to yourself as well as to others whom you would like to know you. (Note: This question is optional and included to allow me to know you better. Your response will be kept confidential and not graded or part of the lesson assignment).

Being that question number 5 of Lesson I—the “Who am I” question—is optional I must valiantly refuse to answer this question as a grand symbolic act of protest against the overly egocentric and self-absorbed nature of our society!

Yes, I’m just being a bit ridiculous. After completing my first lesson and rereading Chapter I if the textbook I do believe that answering the “Who am I” question posed by a psychologist may indeed be more terrifying than answering the same question asked by a Freudian. I shall attempt to do so though! Being that the question is designed in order to “allow you to know me better” I figured that I would answer it in a sort of free-flowing style. At first I thought that I would write out some brainstorming notes and then approach answering the question from a systematic point-by-point angle, but then I thought that would be terribly boring from a sociological perspective and you are after all a sociologist.

Well, let’s see….

I am…

a person who has always been described by those who know me as someone who always thinks of others before I think of myself. I don’t think this is because of some majestic conscious moral imperative but more so the result of my overall mindset and outlook on life. I tend to think in an all-encompassing manner and this form of perception has been exaggerated by my yoga studies. It’s a bit embarrassing for me to say “I am” anything. Several of my friends always tell me that I need to think more of myself so perhaps I’ll attempt to make some pointedly subjective statements of who I am.

Ah-ha!—Being that I mentioned yoga, I am a long-time yoga practitioner and teacher. I do believe that I have become quite the stringent evangelical yoga fundamentalist. I speak of the virtues of yoga with the fervor of an Old Testament prophet, with the wide-eyed, voice-fluctuating zeal of a Southern Baptist preacher. It’s rather hard to get people in this environment to get into yoga though. I routinely hear things like, “Isn’t yoga chick shit?” and “Man, I feel you, but yoga just seems kinda gay to me.” Attempting to eradicate misogynistic, sexist, and homophobic tendencies from the subterranean depths of a person’s—or really the mass collective—psyche is quite the Herculean task.

I’ve incorporated some jiu-jitsu that I know from the “free world” into my yoga teachings to make it seem more Phew! “manly” and that’s worked pretty well. I recently got in a book on Shaolin Qi Gong and I think incorporating some of the Shaolin Warrior Qi Gong philosophy will work well and be beneficial.

I am also enjoying this “Music Beyond Borders” show I’m listening to on the radio right now. They’re playing all kinds of music. Some African music was just on and now they’re playing some type of brilliant eclectic Meringue-Salsa music. This show plays a lot of awesome music, the type of music that seems to emanate directly from the Earth. One might say they play music that sparks and stimulates the sociological imagination.

I am… going to work on a piece of visual art that I’ve been flirting with for about a month when I finish this answer to question #5. The canvas is about 4’x5’ so it’s taking quite a long time to complete. I suppose one could say that I am an Artist. After I do a bit of drawing I’m going to put together the outline for our next Poetry Project session. I’ve been operating/conducting poetry readings for a while now and they keep getting better and better. I suppose that it could be said that I am a bit of a poet.

Perhaps, more of a traditional sociological inventory is called for:

*Education: I have an 8th grade education as far as public school goes;

I dropped out of high school in the 9th grade.

I somehow managed to get my G.E.D. when I was 19 and somehow managed to pass the ACT tests in order to start taking courses at H.C.C.

I went there for a year (2 semesters) before getting locked up.

I did alright. I got all As and Bs.

*Age: 31

*Ethnicity: European-American. (Mostly German-American.)

*Political Affiliation: Flagrant, flaming progressive.

*Why I Am On Death Row: I’m sure you’re probably wondering, I mean who wouldn’t? I was convicted and sentenced to die for capital murder of a police officer. I was there when the murder occurred but I didn’t shoot the officer. You can read more about my case if you’d like by going to my website ( —and checking out the section labeled “Info About Rob’s Case.”

I am extremely excited about taking this course(!) but also nervous. It took me a week to finish the first lesson and I can’t wait to get your input because I really have no idea if I did alright or even went about answering the essay questions in a proper manner. The last time I had a teacher I was 19 going to H.C.C. Since being locked up I haven’t had anyone actually teach me. I just hope that you don’t have to invest in an enhanced stock of red pens in dealing with me! I am also determined to live a Life-affirming and creative Life in this environment that is designed to break the human Mind, Body, Spirit and Soul. Within a year or two I will most likely be released or be executed or receive a Life sentence. I have a terrible court-appointed attorney so the prospects of a positive outcome aren’t looking too good. Whatever the case may be I am going to continue to learn and grow and strive to be a positive influence in any and every way I can. I know that taking this course is going to help me do this. I am now finished with my first lesson and will be looking forward to receiving it back with your input!!


Rob Will

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