31 May 2011

quick fix

Need to satiate your craving for [intelligence] but find that I haven't posted anything new? Curious about the quotidian (vocab word!) details of my life? Will you be satisfied with 140 characters or less?

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I promise that I won't tweet about poop.


28 May 2011

questions i don't know how to answer

I became aware that there are multiple ways to answer a question when I was in third grade. My teacher was sick, so a substitute filled in. Unfortunately, my teacher had been in the middle of reading a book aloud to the whole class, and had therefore left the substitute with the task of finishing it. When the sub asked for a volunteer to tell her what had happened thus far in the book to give her context for where were in the story, my hand shot up, practically propelling me out of my seat.

I should interrupt this story with an anecdote my mom loves to tell. When I was younger, she used to walk four miles a day and take me along with her. And I would talk to her the whole time. For those four miles, my mom would be subjected to my nonstop chatter about books I had read, juicy third-grade gossip, random thoughts that popped into my head. I would just talk and talk and talk. And she would listen, without telling me once to shut up. Or she would just tune me out. I know what I would have done.

So when the substitute asked me to tell her what had happened in the book, I thought she wanted me to tell her everything that was important to the plot (read: everything). Since the author had constructed such a delicate story, every detail was crucial, and therefore deserved to be told.

I must have talked for about twenty minutes (including reenacting all the dialogue) before the poor substitute teacher thanked me then asked someone else what had happened right before we left off.

I was heartbroken and humiliated, then realized that that was probably all she intended to hear, rather than my retelling of the entire novel. Since then, I have preferred to err on the side of too little than too much in conversation.

But back to the original point of this post. There are some questions that I just flat out don’t know how to answer. Questions like:

So what do you blog about? I’ve written on this subject before, but it still doesn’t get any easier to explain. I like to say “Nothing. But also everything.” except that I haven’t found a way to say that without feeling like a total douchebag. So, until I’ve figured that out, I’ll just resort to mumbling or changing the subject.

Are you having fun? If the person asked me whether or not I was having fun, wouldn’t it mean that something on my face conveyed otherwise? Although, my face looks bored a lot of the time, but the glazed-over look can be attributed more to me over-thinking any and all social interactions, and not necessarily to me wanting to leave. Also, even if I say that yes, I am having fun, I’m afraid that it sounds forced, especially when accompanied by a smile. Like I’m overcompensating for having a lazy face. Then, even when it isn’t a lie, it comes off as one. Likewise, “Are you excited about [whatever]?”

Do you care about the children/human rights/ animals? I hate this one. I’m walking down the street and a person with dreadlocks and a clipboard asks me a variation of this question. Saying no makes me out to be a heartless bitch. But saying yes means that I have to listen to this person stumble over some “ums” and explain the petition, culminating in asking me for a signature or some money. I even feel mean just writing that. Either way, I feel bad. I normally smile and say something along the lines of “Sorry, I’m in a rush!” then hurrying off. I still feel bad though.

You don’t have a boyfriend? Why not? The way I answer this question really depends on who asked. I might say something like “Because I don’t have time” or “Because I haven’t found anyone that I like” or something else noncommittal and vague, but a more accurate answer would be something like “Because I am too socially awkward to have a normal interaction with a guy, exacerbated by the fact that I go to a women’s college. Also, I consider man-repelling a sport. Do you want some old lady candy from the pocket of my grandpa cardigan?” It really depends on how uncomfortable I want to make the other person feel.

27 May 2011

from my crooked heart

I’ve written before about plurality and the issues that arise from it. If you don’t remember, and I don’t blame you if you don’t (I don’t even remember what I’ve written most of the time), I was wrestling with the fragmentation of my identity, and my inability to reconcile those distinct parts. In other words, I gots issues, yo.

The reason why I’m returning to this concept is that it has played an integral part in my negligence of this blog recently. Things have been really difficult recently in my personal life.

I responded as expected: I spent a lot of time contemplating life and writing. I wrote five blog posts in full explaining my thought and emotional processes in response to recent events. But, as you can probably tell, I didn’t publish a single one of them.

Why? I can already hear you asking. Just kidding. I don’t hear voices in my head.

I didn’t publish because I didn’t know what boundaries there are in having a blog. After waiting this long to post, especially with respect to what has happened, does there need to be pomp and circumstance in my return? Does there need to be a grand sweeping gesture in which I employ more poetry than prose in expressing myself? Or is it acceptable to do a post that is completely removed as an attempt to move forward?

Because of this uncertainty, the content of these posts were varied. Some contained emotion-filled recollections. Others were abstract interpretations of the way in which my brain copes. And one of them was about my inability to make commitments, exemplified in how I sleep: with most of my body under the covers, save for one leg.

Maybe these posts will be published sometime in the future. But maybe not. The folder of posts in my laptop has tons of unpublished and unfinished works. Every time I try to continue a post like that, though, I become inspired by something else and that new post takes precedence, pushing the other one further back in the queue. Maybe these posts will meet the same fate.

But I digress. My point is, I didn’t finish these posts because I let my work define me, instead of the other way around. I was so swept up in making sure I reacted in the correct way that I stifled any creativity.

Being self-conscious sucks. And if there’s anything I don’t want for my blog, it’s for it to suck. So from this point on, I am going to do my best to express myself fully, with as little censorship as possible. Also, I’m going to keep in mind that this is my blog. I shouldn’t have to worry about breaking any rules because I’m the one making them.

Yes, I’m still upset. But, as some women in my family have shown me recently, it’s important to stand your ground.

10 May 2011

i should probably wash this shirt

I wonder whether the face of triumph is always this unglamorous.

I turned in the last of my academic work for the semester at 2 am. For that moment in time, I was victorious. But that moment was short lived.

I could not go to sleep. I admit, my sleeping patterns are far from normal. But this morning, there was nothing I could do to remedy the situation.

So I watched documentaries on Netflix, caught up on some television (including an entire season of Sex and the City), and read some articles on some literary websites. I have no idea what insomniacs of the past did to pass the time. I suppose I could have read a book, but after the intellectual exhaustion of the past few weeks, I thought that I deserved a break. Besides, the only books I have in my room are for my classes, and there is no way in hell I was going to relive any academic moments from the semester. But hey, it could have been worse. I could have been watching reality television.

Eventually, I drifted off to sleep. I know, it seems implausible, what with all the riveting entertainment at my disposal. But I think my body understood that sleep is a good thing, and therefore was being foolish for depriving me of it.

Unfortunately, I forgot to turn off my alarm. So here I am, sitting in bed as the grey light of morning slants through my open window, wondering what I am doing with my life. I’m wearing the same shirt I’ve been wearing for the past couple of days. My hair is all sorts of fucked up, and there are coffee cups and soda cans on my bedside table. All in all, I am a vision in black and white stripes.

I have poured my heart, soul, and brain into my work this semester. But all I have to show for it is a tired face and a listless body. What should be met with exuberant celebration is instead met with quiet, solitary contemplation.

I’d like to take this opportunity to bid farewell to the past semester. So long, awkward encounters in which I cannot see the other person until it’s too late to employ any diversionary tactics. Adieu, times when I leaned too far back in my desk chair and fell into my bookshelf, thanking any deity that would listen that no one else was in the room to see just how little of gravity I truly comprehend. Goodbye, moments of existential crisis during which I was rendered helpless by the sudden onslaught of self-doubt, only to lie catatonic in bed while pondering the possibility that this may be it for me.

I know that I have much to be thankful for about my time here. But tinted with the dull morning light, on very little rest (even for my standards), and under the influence of no caffeine, I cannot help being a little bit jaded.

I know things will get better. Later on, I’ll be happy about being done. But for now, I will lie here, rumpled up, and think. People say that their favorite part about summer is that they no longer have to think. That notion has always baffled me. I have never been able to escape.