13 March 2011


I firmly believe that if my personality differed slightly, my academic interests would be completely different. I am a humanities major, which entails an interdisciplinary study of culture. Culture isn’t just what people produce (art, literature, music, architecture, etc.), but the way of life that makes the production possible. While it sounds daunting, I think it fits me. First and foremost, if I didn’t like to read and write as much as I do, then I would be screwed. Or a science major. But, as a result of studying culture, a strange phenomenon has occurred.

My major has turned everyone, including myself, into experiments.

I can’t help it, but I find myself analyzing conversations before I can stop myself. Sometimes, when talking to my friends, I take an awkward amount of time to respond because I am testing ways in which I could steer the conversation in my head and what those different paths could potentially tell me. Reality TV has become a nightmare, and not in the way that most people mean it. For me, Jersey Shore overloads my processing capabilities to the point where I often find myself reaching for a pen and notebook so I can take notes.

But, the worst part of my studies being inextricably linked to my life lies in my self-analysis. I am my most available subject, and a willing victim.

One trait of mine that has been honed in my academic pursuits is my tendency to draw connections between seemingly unrelated things. While finding connections can be endlessly entertaining, I have found that looking at the contradictions can often provide even more telling information.

I am by no means faint of heart. I watch horror movies on a regular basis and often find myself laughing at the gratuitous gore and horrible production quality. When I was four, my inner thigh somehow got caught in a bike chain and was bleeding everywhere and I had the presence of mind to clean and bandage myself.

I have a sick fascination with abomination. Over winter break I had knee surgery. While the bandages were still on, the anticipation of removing them was killing me. I was so curious to see how it looked, felt, and even smelled. I became fixated on my knee, counting down the days until my doctor’s appointment. When they were finally removed, I could not stop poking the stitches, noting how a light tap made my entire knee tingle. I studied the way in which my skin accommodated the new scar tissue when my leg was straightened or bent. Plus, the incision was such a strange color. A combination of yellow, brown, and purple that I had never seen in nature. It was so awesome, but of course I couldn’t tell anyone how amazing I thought it was. I know that people think I’m morbid enough as it is.

With that said, I am not a woman without contradictions. While typically scary things do not faze me, I am frightened by insignificant scares. When I am engrossed in my reading (or playing Tetris), the world around me melts away. When a reminder that the outside world still exists, like the sound of my phone buzzing upon receiving a text message, I can’t help but let out a tiny scream. Obviously, I try to muffle it, even if no one else is around, but a scream escapes nonetheless.

No matter how hard I try, the toaster will always get the best of me. There is an indicator on the knob that says how much time is left. I stand, staring, in front of the toaster, fully aware that the appliance will ding within the next ten seconds. I can see the timer count down. I know exactly what’s going to happen. Doesn’t matter. I jump every time, without fail.

So, from an academic standpoint, what does this incongruity tell me? It tells me that I would probably survive a zombie apocalypse. I would be that badass that wouldn’t be afraid to shoot a few heads off or run around with a machete. But if someone so much as sneezed behind me, I would probably pass out. Or shoot myself in the foot.


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