It hurts so bad some nights.
My Name is Andrew Hitzhusen and I am a theatre/history double major at Northwestern University.
This is the mantra that I offer into the silences of my day. It reminds me that I exist. It encapsulates where I come from and points me where I want to go and where I want to bed. My Name is Andrew. Not Andy or Drew. But sometimes I go by Bruce. When I was a freshmen in High School, the man I admired most was a senior named Aidan Payne. Aidan decided on the first day of my first show that I didn’t look like an Andrew. SO he set out to rename and christen me with a new name. First, he tried to call me Hitzhusen. It’s a good German name. Unique to my family. But to Aidan Payne it was unpronounceable. So I was renamed Hitz, but it didn’t fit. For a while I was He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. It was a good name. I loved Harry Potter. I felt like my identity was in flux. But it didn’t fit. So I became Voldemort. And then Voldie. The Harry Potter deterioration continued into Tom Riddle.
But then Aidan Payne took my name in an entirely new direction. I became the Riddler. I was the master of the esoteric and the mysterious. But somehow Riddling was too much of an identity to bestow on a lowly freshman, too tongue in cheek. Riddler became his archnemisis and I became Batman. I was the Dark Knight. I was the cool and dangerous and infinitely useful Caped Crusader. But I’ve never been all that cool. Nor have I ever been dangerous to anyone other than myself. And while I have my uses, I’ve never been the jack-of-all-tradesman. So Batman was demoted and I became Batman’s alterego, Bruce Wayne. But Bruce Wayne was a mouthful, so Aidan Payne shortened my name to Bruce. I became Bruce. Everyone called me Bruce. I started to introduce myself in class as Bruce. On nametags, Bruce stood out.
Bruce was well connected. He was silly, but always in control. Girls flocked after him. Guys wanted to be like him. He made mistakes and owned up to them. He was everything I wanted to be. And Andrew started to wither in the background. Andrew wrote papers. Andrew received college applications. Bruce was alive and actively pursuing what he wanted. Andrew was passive and waited for life to happen to him.
When I came to college, I was too embarrassed to introduce myself as Bruce. Bruce was always too much. He was a force of nature. He was a super hero. I was and am not Bruce. Not really. I’m Clark Kent to his Superman. I’m more Bruce Banner than just Bruce. So I’ve become Andrew again.
My Name is Andrew Hitzhusen and I am a senior theatre/history double major at Northwestern University.
My Name is Andrew and I’m trying to make that identity the identity with which I identify. But it’s an uphill battle. I’m not really satisfied with my life. I’m not really satisfied with my past nor my future. I feel like I’m constantly on the edge of happiness, but can’t make that final jump.
That being said, I’m really good at embracing the momentary and fleeting and ephemeral pleasures in life. Like using too many words to describe what could be the same idea because they are so much fun to have in your mouth. Like screaming on the rollercoaster. Like laughing in a play. I’m the in business of living life.
Living Life is a choice. It’s a choice I made two years ago and it’s a choice that I’ve made every day since then. Sometimes it’s a breeze to be alive. Sometimes it’s a struggle to get out of bed. Sometimes falling asleep is the worst part because it means the end of a beautiful day. Sometimes it’s the best part of my day. But every day I choose to be alive.