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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Zimmerman Verdict.

Can I attempt to clear some things up regarding the Zimmerman trial? I can only speak about the reactions of people in response to the verdict reached this evening. As far as the court proceedings and the decision, I admit that as an average citizen, I do not know enough to make any statements. I can agree or disagree with the verdict. But there are some people who have been lashing out at others because they don't understand why they hold a certain opinion. 

There's a lot of confusion and a lot of things are not getting explained properly. This leads to a bunch of petty arguments and misdirected anger. On a much deeper level, that behavior is an expression of cemented beliefs, built up over the years by personal or indirect experience and one's environment. That, or 16-year-olds are mimicking the opinions of their parents. No surprise there. 

Everyone has a right to express their thoughts. That's the point of social media sites. So why am I so concerned about any of this? I'm just not a big fan of misinformed judgments. Especially coming from people that I will interact with throughout college and beyond. This is my attempt to eradicate confusion from one side, at least. 

A lot of people don't fully understand why race has been so widely injected into this. Ignorance out loud is the most obvious and obnoxious kind of ignorance. So for a clear, possibly extreme example, go on Twitter. (Seriously, just five minutes is enough to get the point across. Any more and you might want to flush your computer/phone down a toilet because it's so full of crap.) This might not be the case for you, but I noticed a trend. Most of the people who spoke out against the verdict were black people. This also has a lot to do with who I follow, too. 

Look at the trending topics, though- to get a more broad look of the crowd that opposed the decision. Most of them are black. This is in no way a "racist" statement, I'm simply stating what I see. It's not an assumption, either, so please don't jump on me for that. On the flip side, I encountered a lot of non-black people telling black people to "calm down already." One person stated that they were overreacting to all of this. 

I can't say whether or not that person was referring to an individual he had encountered or if he was generalizing the disagreements. But it was evident that many people didn't understand why black people took it this hard. 

If you had been watching trial coverage and the spin-off legal talks on HLN, you might have also tuned into a discussion on how much race mattered in this. A lot of radical opinions were expressed, and a lot of truth was knocked down because other people just could not relate. 

There is a long history of racial discrimination in the American justice system. Google it. Simply put, minorities have often been screwed over because of their skin tone. I'm not saying this as a cry for sympathy. I'm not saying this in an attempt to portray all black people as innocent victims all of the time. But people need to realize that the outcome could be seen as yet another example of this. 

What does this verdict mean for black people? It's hard to convey this, but this society is not completely rid of racial tension. Trying to get those who haven't experienced it is like trying to describe the taste of water. It is seen as a perpetuation of biased courthouses. This has meanings that go far beyond the surface. 

I don't doubt that the six women on the jury put a hell of a lot of thought and time into this decision. I understand that George Zimmerman and his defense team were fighting to avoid life in prison. Obviously, they wanted to win. But the fact still stands that a life was taken and Zimmerman is somehow free. Not even guilty of manslaughter. I meant to avoid including my personal opinion, but this is relevant. 

Perhaps the decision was not motivated by race whatsoever. Take out the jury, though. Take out those individuals, (try to) rid the decision from any individual bias. The decision has consequences in groups outside of Trayvon's family or Zimmerman and his family. That's why people are so upset. That's why people are worked up. It's NOT just because black people support other black people just because of race. It's NOT just because apparently all black people want to rise up against non-blacks. 

For some people, this is a sign that the life of an African-American kid doesn't have as much value as another life. You may have heard, "Oh, if Zimmerman was black and Trayvon was white, this wouldn't have even dragged on at all." Hypothetical situations add nothing to the discussion. We really can't tell what would have happened. What matters most is the impact this has on certain groups. 

Before you think about how black people are overreacting to this, consider other variables. It might not have been about race. The trial itself could have been completely fair and equal in its dealings. But the consequences are what matter.


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Subjects and Things!

There's a different kind of satisfaction associated with answers obtained through writing and answers obtained with more logical methods, like math. With writing, you launch yourself on this undirected journey towards a destination that you're not completely sure of. Or maybe you are. It's up to you. Everything is up to you. Hell, even the answer is up to you. When you feel like you've written something exactly how it's "supposed" to be written, you feel accomplished.

With math, I've always felt more relieved. It's much more methodical and guided, you have set ways of solving something, most likely. It's figured out for you in some ways, but you have to put it in the right order.

At the end of "mathing it out", I feel like I've just hiked up a mountain with a group of professionals and all of our supplies have been carefully apportioned and we have to eat at certain times and sleep at certain times, whereas writing is more like encountering a convenience store in the middle of an unknown city after wandering for four hours. Writing victories are more unexpected, in that sense.

Science is a weird combination of both. Maybe not many associate science with creativity, but it's fueled by creativity. Science is questions looking for answers that are derived from established facts. Plus curiosity on fire. Curiosity on fire is more than a boredom cure on a slow summer weekday. It's more than a laidback Wikipedia spree. Although those are very fulfilling, you know. (Who knew that Will Smith studied Scientology at one point? Not this chick.)

Anyway, curiosity on fire is this burning ache to figure something out. That's similar to the allure of writing--- not even writing, but imagination really. Writing exercises creativity in some ways. It isn't the only way of doing so, but it's one of the most entertaining. It lends the creativity needed to work something out. Math gives you a goal to reach and a method to use. Math gives security in the midst of the creativity, which can often be somewhat overwhelming due to the lack of solid facts. It's in science that both sort of run into the other. Both are equally important.

Writing is easy for me. As such, it's not as fulfilling as I once believed. There was a time where I considered it as a career, but for practical (monetary) and personal (soul-crushing emptiness and frustration) reasons, I decided against pursuing it. It's not going to be a primary choice, but it is going to run constantly in the background of my life. Doing just one thing would never be satisfactory, I think my future has to have a nice balance of things.

I don't "feel" math enough to pursue a career with heavy amounts of it. I acknowledge its importance and I am in awe of its intricacies amidst simplicity. When I hear people attack math and talk about how useless it is to know the Pythagorean theorem or how to find the area of a triangle, I disagree. It may not be my field, but I value its importance.

Science has areas that are less math-oriented, too. Chemistry made me feel bad about myself. Physics, too. But Biology? Animals and life processes and behavior and how things work together, all with a muted pull from the heavy mathematical stuff (although memorizing how many specific molecules were produced in a certain plant process was tricky), heck yeah. That was interesting to me.

Biology is life. And it's something that everybody can relate to. Since it's life. As a junior, I felt bombarded by the amount of lab reports we had to do and my negative obsession with that put a damper on how I saw the class. There was a lot of busy work to be done, reporting results and thinking of ways something could go wrong. I also was in the middle of a writing peak during that year, so I was hellbent on becoming a writer. As a result, I didn't even consider pursuing Biology after high school.

Now I'm here, summer before college begins, and I've developed a love-hate relationship with writing. I have a mutual like-like relationship with science. And a respect-my-space, I'll-respect-yours relationship with math. Junior me would have insulted current me on Twitter through a series of passive-aggressive tweets. Because right now, it seems like a lot of things are up in the air. What happened to the Big Writing Plan???

I've been spun around in circles with a blindfold and pushed lightly in the direction of science, so I'm stumbling towards it. I mentioned an interest in dentistry earlier. (I suppose the health field is the application of biology to actual human beings. And viruses and disease control and stuff like that.) While it would be nice to know about my future for sure, I have to admit that I'm still stumbling.

I JUSUT TOI US WANT TO KNOW WHAT TI III AMA FGOIGNG TO DO WITH TMY LIFE thank you, goodbye.


On Curiosity

People don't usually consider curious people unintelligent. They may lack the knowledge of a certain topic, yet they are willing to learn more about it. That separates them from those who don't wish to advance their knowledge at all. So why is it that asking questions is so frowned upon?

Perhaps it is due to the fact that any expression of a lack of knowledge would be categorized as stupidity. I've mentioned that I wasn't familiar with something and I'd receive cries of, "How could you not know that?" or, "Isn't that common knowledge?". I don't understand the attack on not knowing. Any incredulous outbursts should be focused on not wanting to know or not wanting to learn. Or ideally, people should keep their outbursts to themselves.

It goes back to the level of exposure. Nobody should be ridiculed for the lack of exposure, as people simply grow up differently. While one person might have had the opportunity to travel and read thousands of books, another might have grown up in an environment where that wasn't a priority.

My parents have always stressed the importance of education. While growing up, they made sure we were focused on our schooling and they cut down on mindless entertainment. For a while. When money and compatibility problems (light term, they just liked to argue, it seemed) came up, they no longer had the time or patience to devote to us. So my sister and I turned to other sources. We were kind of on our own. I didn't have someone to look up to at that point, as I am the oldest. And my behavior only influenced Mariela. We had a limited number of books, as our family did not find the time to go to libraries as often. We didn't visit museums, parks, we didn't go on giant adventures because the priorities had been shifted.

In the middle of this, we moved into a hotel for two years (yes, two years- no, no we didn't order hotel food) because of a mold problem. And then I switched schools. And my brother popped up unexpectedly. My academic performance took a toll and that was a result of the lack of stimulation and exposure.

I lack worldly knowledge and I have felt ashamed of that. I'm not able to toss out random "fun facts" in conversations. I haven't been able to offer opinions on foreign cultures and other things. But I am curious. I want to learn. And I feel as though people like me should be helped along the way.

I am in no ways an endless well of knowledge. I retain what I learn, but for the most part, I tend to think things out. I'll wander around in my head if I get a little bit of information. This makes a lot of my thoughts rather emotional instead of fully logical and based in truth. So I gravitate towards topics that require thought, rather than truth. That's why I like writing so much. You don't need to follow any sort of formula to get an answer, you make one up.  

The world runs on both questions and answers. Intelligence shouldn't be measured by the amount of knowledge you have, but also the willingness you have to learn more. People who ask questions should be more confident in asking them. People who know more should be ready and willing to help out.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

On Being Female

What is feminism? A cause devoted towards the equality of women in the realm of today's society. That means equal treatment in the workplace, equal pay for tasks that they perform for the same amount of education as their male counterparts, basically equal rights. It is easier to define equal rights in areas that are shared by both genders, such as the workplace. Show me a person opposed to women receiving equal pay as a man while both have the same qualifications and I'll consider that a display of ignorance. But what happens when decisions regarding rights must be made on topics that only apply directly to women? Topics such as birth control and abortions?

Morality comes into question, heavily linked to religious beliefs. Contrary to popular belief, this controversial issue can be discussed without someone blowing up, so long as all parties involved understand the reasoning behind decisions and beliefs. 

The Catholic Church view abortion as murder. It takes the life from a human being that cannot defend itself or oppose the decision. From conception, the fetus is believed to have as much value as an individual that has been birthed. From this standpoint, it is easy to see that many people oppose abortion because it is the deliberate ending of a human being's life. It is also clear to see how decisions on abortion have a more personal affect on those who aren't even women. It violates the right to life, a fundamental aspect of the belief system. How can people be satisfied with a government that would permit a violation of life itself? 

People seem to get this confused, though. People assume that those opposed to abortion go against it because they want to control women. Some say that restricting abortions means taking away a woman's choice, and thus goes against the entire equality movement. It becomes a giant mess of "perpetuating the patriarchy" and the conservative men who oppose it (conservatives are more likely to uphold the Catholic beliefs) are viewed as oppressive. Generally. There are some people, however, who actually do wish to oppress the female population. To say that the law is full of kind-hearted people who are concerned with the well-being of every individual is silly. 

On the other hand, the pro-choice side is where feminism firmly plants itself. This side believes that women should be able to decide what happens with their body and that they should not be shamed for doing so. However, it's tricky to ask for equality in an area that men cannot participate in, especially in an environment that is dominated by men. In this case, then, it's not equality. Rather, basic rights, the right to determine what happens to her body. A woman should not have to be controlled by anyone other than herself. She might not hold the belief that views abortion as murder. Therefore, she cannot be held to the same standards. Simply put, reproductive rights are tricky and they always will be. 

There has been an attempted injection of religious beliefs into a secular society. The problem is how this society views sex and the consequences of sex. A man can decide to have sex with as many people as he wants and typically the main concern is getting permanent STDs. Getting somebody pregnant isn't even something that can stick with him. He can pack up and leave, nothing can force him to stay (there's guilt and a sense of obligation, but it doesn't stick with some people). Women get pregnant and that's it. They are pregnant. They have a child growing inside of them. There are immediate responsibilities. They get into sexual relationships and hope for the same "equality" as men, which would be an escape from pregnancy. Abortion provides that. 

Sex has always been pleasurable. Humans like it and the only thing stopping most people is the scare of pregnancy. Sex started out as a way to reproduce, then it was declared sacred. Now it is going through a loss of sacredness and with that comes a loss of understanding. Imagine a world, emotions aside, in which people could freely pursue sex without having to worry about pregnancy at all. Fuck yeah. (Okay, I thought that was funny.) All of the physical pleasure without any risks. Aside from STDs. That is what contraceptives and abortion provide for some people. It might not be the primary purpose, but it is an option that fits into the secular view of sex.

But what else is abortion? What else can it provide? Why else would women get it? Lives are uprooted by pregnancies, plans change, futures are altered. "If women didn't want a baby, they shouldn't have had sex in the first place!" "Yes, you're a woman, yes you're the only gender that encounters this 'issue' as a result of sex, own up to it!" Perhaps, yes, it is a way of "erasing" the mistake of engaging in sexual relations at a time where a woman is not prepared or willing to have a child. 

Again, at the same time (trying to get in both sides), a woman should be able to decide what happens to her body. People who are not in her exact position with her exact background cannot decide what would benefit her in the long run. Yes, she initially made the "mistake" of having sex and now she is dealing with pregnancy. But her decision on whether or not to birth the child is hers. 

Is it able to be personally pro-life and politically pro-choice? I think so. If I found myself pregnant through any means, even in instances of rape, I would carry the child. I say that now. Being pregnant at this exact moment in my life would change everything. Actually, it would ruin everything that I have ever worked for. My college hopes, my career, my future, my family dynamics. But I would not be able to live with myself after an abortion. I would give my child up for adoption, most likely. I do not hold all of the Catholic beliefs, but I do believe that as soon as conception occurs, I have a human being inside of me. 

So let me try to clear up why I am still pro-choice. Most of my support is of the contraceptive push, the push for birth control and easier options for women to prevent pregnancy, and that means measures taken before the sperm comes in contact with the egg. I want women to have those options. They can enjoy sex and still prevent pregnancy. This attitude exists in me because I do not share the views of the Catholic church on sex. It's odd for me to admit this. Sex, according to the Church, is supposed to be a sacred way of expressing true love between a married couple and a way to foster the intention to start a family. But my view of sex is that of the pursuit of basic primal instincts. I'm approaching it from a biological standpoint, morality aside. So long as there are two (or more) consenting adults and it feels good, what can stop you? What should stop you? 

Well, pregnancy scares. So why not make contraceptives readily available? Why not make that an option that partners or individuals can get? If made more effective, this would cut down on the number of abortions that would have to be performed. Ideally. This is not the complete solution to the sex issue. To assume that more birth control would automatically cut down on abortions is dangerous. It might help, but it would not eliminate the problem. 

I am also pro-choice because I do not know what all of the women are going through. I never will. Although it would be nice to believe that all women who get abortions do so for valid reasons and not just because they didn't want to waste their time. But every female has their own circumstances. I cannot place any of my limits on them, nor do I want to. I may not disagree with them, but their lives are their lives. Unless I understand every factor in their decision, all of the background information, and all of her thoughts, I will not get a woman's decision to abort a fetus. However, the option should be available because some women reason that this is the best option for them. Take away that option, and women will start to feel oppressed. Condemned and restricted by their gender, unable to pursue sex as pleasure, but more as a risk. 

We're not even addressing the real problem here. The problem is in how we all view sex. It doesn't have to be sacred for everybody. But it's still really taboo. People are afraid of it, afraid of discussing it. Topics like masturbation and polygamous sexual relationships are kept under the covers. (Another one, couldn't help it...) The only permitted discussions are on regular ol' sex within marriage, which still happens. Obviously. But the realm of sex is so large and mostly unaddressed that people are shocked when they encounter anything outside the norm. So when sex-related topics explode, you get uninformed people attempting to control the other side. You get assumptions that don't get cleared up. People do not try to understand the other side. It's a giant miscommunication between pivotal players in the law-making process. Our leaders and regulators do not know how to effectively communicate. It's more than that, too. 

It may seem as though I have a really flip-floppy nature, but I stand firmly in my beliefs. I think that the attitude needs to change, but I don't know how to change it. I can start by taking the taboo away from sex, by being able to discuss it without flipping out or considering it vulgar. How is it so vulgar when it is so necessary to our existence? There are limits, of course. There is a time and a place for this kind of discussion. 

There are many people who want things to change. We just don't know how exactly to make it happen. 

I am open to discuss this topic with people, especially those who disagree with my views. I want to be able to see it from all sides and I might change my mind on a few things. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Clarifications

I'm excited about the future. It's still very unclear, but I have an idea and it's something that I might enjoy. I've been taking the online dental course for a while and it seems like something I could pursue. I haven't experienced any dislike of the material and I genuinely like learning. Still going to test it out. Nothing is set in stone, but I am narrowing things down. I went through the Jurisprudence part easily. It mostly dealt with legal stuff, duties of a dental assistant, and what people are allowed to do. Very similar to a government class, actually in that it discussed administrative tasks and defined a few terms. I'm really interested about more interactive things, though, because right now most of the material is stuff to memorize. I want to dive into labs and diagrams and stuff.

 Right now, I am in the more biological part of the course. Hooray! We're about to learn about infection control. Okay, so it's not flat-out biological yet, but it's getting there. It's still all procedures and preventative measures. But it's interesting. After this is through, the next topic is Radiology. X-rays and radiation and such. When I complete the entire course, I hope to be able to register. This way, I can start to jump into internships while in San Antonio, perhaps. Or at the very least, I can shadow at an office on the weekends.

We'll just have to see.

I like spending this time on developing. I like using my summer to learn. I've considered how this is going to affect my college life. Because if I commit myself to this, I won't have much of a typical social life. What many people think of when they hear "social life" is partying every weekend and constantly having to be around others. That's not my style. An occasional get-together and light public events are fine, but I cannot see myself having to spend most of my free time around a bunch of party people.

I love dances, though. But they'd get really tiring to me after a while. The point of them is to let loose, meet people, relax and all. I can only do that so many times before it becomes boring.

I am going to get involved, though. People say that's the key to enjoying college, so long as it's in moderation. They have a club on campus that revolves around some of my interests, and I might join that. I also plan on working into a writing group, possibly singing, too. Actually, I've been looking around in my current city for open mic musical opportunities. I think something like that would be less of a time commitment, but it's still enough for me to pursue my passion. If I were to try out for a singing group, I would be working on their schedule, which could interfere with studies. The same would go for a strict writing group. I'd like it if there were groups with casual meetings that aren't mandatory, a place where people are welcome to share and critique and just hang out with a common interest.

I might not have any leftover time, but I also want to keep up with learning piano. Even if I can't find an instructor, I'll be able to learn online.

In terms of drugs and alcohol, I know that this sudden escape from parents takes away from the pressure of disappointing them. But I don't really see myself going hardcore over all of that even with the new independence. I think I understand drinking to be social. It lightens the environment, people can let their guards down without having to worry about being judged. I guess the same goes for other recreational drugs, yeah? But I don't want any of that to cut into my goals.

The people who are seen at college ragers are the kids who did that stuff in high school. Those are my assumptions. Not much is heard of the kids who stay at home and prefer to read or do other things. That part doesn't seem to be as "glorified".

This is making me sound like a boring-ass kid. I don't even know, I can have fun without having to join in on the typical college stereotypes. If I can somehow settle in with a bunch of people who share and respect this mindset, I'll be good. However, in being able to enjoy time on my own, I won't have to worry too much about a booming social life.

I'm at college to have the college experience. I'm in charge of how enjoyable college is going to be. The school I am attending wasn't even on my list, but I hope to make the most of it.

I'm very excited about the future. :) I don't use smiley faces in these posts, but this is honestly how I feel, deep down. :) I have exactly two months before I head off to college. And I am excited.

More on Intelligence and Judgement.

Contrary to how I usually portray myself, as the kind of girl who wants to get along with everybody no matter what, I do dislike certain individuals. After trying to figure out why, I can say that the main reason I would ever dislike somebody is because they are too damn caught up in themselves. Every single person I have disliked throughout high school has been too cocky, too selfish, too wrapped up in their own accomplishments. They tackle life with this attitude that they are the shit. Perhaps this persona is actually brought about because of deep insecurities, too. I know that events may affect people, and some things are not their fault.

Then again, I believe that people DO have the ability to choose how they interact with others. Today's world forces us to compete with everyone. If you're not on top, or if you're not trying to get there, you're a piece of shit. Boo you. I guess some people feel the need to constantly show off what they're good for so that others can be aware of how successful they are. Some people are walking, talking resumes. However, they have yet to understand that not everybody is interested in what they are offering.

The obvious examples of this behavior is often overheard in high school hallways. Some asswipe student casually rattling off her current GPA or some girl who always refers to one of her classes with the full title of Honors Advanced Placement Biology 3 all the fuckin' time. She just wants people to know how she's doing academically. There were girls in high school that refused to associate with people because they weren't in honors classes.

I was sitting in my government class one day and the girl who sat behind me walked in with a bewildered look. She had accidentally walked into another classroom and felt the need to point out that the students in there didn't look like they would ever be honors students. Then she launched a little speech on how big the differences were and how uncomfortable she felt. Her perfect little world was cracked because she make a mistake. Couldn't even walk into the right class. Is this irony? I'm pisspoor with identifying it, my bad.

I understand the appeal in wanting to associate with like-minded people. The crowd I rolled with in high school was full of intelligent people. But I didn't seek out their friendship because I saw them as intelligent. In my experience, the group came together because we were nice to one another and could make each other laugh. The deep intellectual discussions came afterwards.

If it was one thing that I noticed, a humble smart person was extremely difficult to come across. They were rare occurrences. They were the ones who realized that, yes, they were making good grades and could pick stuff up easily, but they didn't let that become them. I was always aware that a huge chunk of us were notably recognized for academic success. But that didn't make me any more proud to call them my friends. It was a plus, yes. But what I valued the most was our ability to relate and converse.

They didn't feel the need to flaunt it. If someone needed help, they'd offer, but it didn't become a giant label for them. That sort of attitude makes a person easier to be around. The opposite attitude is that of condescension.

Is it satisfying to people? Does is perpetuate the fact that you are so smart? I fail to see the appeal of coming across as better than others because I see them as "dumb".

Does intelligence matter? It does, in a way. I'm more likely to be able to connect with someone if we have similar intellectual levels when it comes to certain topics, like psychology or racism or discrimination. But it is entirely possible to "get" to someone else on the purest level of interaction without diving into deep things like that. You don't have to be a fuckin' Honors student to be able to pour your heart out on topics like friendship and love or certain hobbies. Because these are things that every individual can enjoy and participate in. Yes, not everybody is into science. Not everybody can spell perfectly. Not everybody can remember every single grammar rule. But that should not mean that you should not even try to interact with someone because they don't seem smart.

Yes- there were times where I would actively avoid "stupid people", though. Stupid, in that case, referred to their ability (or lack of) to assess situations and adjust accordingly. These were the people who constantly showed a lack of concern for others and acted in a way that harmed them. For me, stupid people are the ones who don't care and who get caught up in themselves. I'd go so far as to say that some of the most intelligent people on paper were the very stupid ones. The people who didn't make efforts to better themselves, the ones who were stuck in ruts- I think those people simply weren't exposed. I would avoid them, yes, but my reason wasn't because I thought I was better because I was "smarter". It was more, neither of us could ever better the other.

Example: There was a girl who didn't know what a furnace was. Okay, and so yes- it was joked about and people kept on bringing up similar events and it was just a session of, "Wow, she's so dumb." I saw that as a side effect. Lack of exposure, closed off world, maybe she hadn't had the chance earlier on to encounter one. My attitude towards her has changed. I do not dislike her because she didn't know what that was. I dislike her because of the kind of person she is- outside of her expressed knowledge. Stupid to me is too much self-obsession and a lack of awareness of others. Cockiness is stupidity for me.

There are people who liken stupidity to a lack of exposure and I don't think that's fair at all. I guess it's tied into the desire to learn. Yes, you can live a very sheltered lifestyle, but if you have the desire to learn more and branch out, you are considered intelligent. However, some people are really stuck in their situations. Some aren't aware that there is more out there. I don't like it when others call these types of people "stupid". They're not, at least, not to me. They're in unfortunate situations. Instead of blowing up how "stupid" they are, why don't we help expose them to new things? Books and internet articles and conversations that can help.

When "smart" people just sit on their asses and get mindboners over how smart they are in comparison to others, it does nothing. They seem to worry about the growing number of "stupid" people, yet they do nothing to bring them up.

I hold people according to how they treat others and themselves, not their academic success. Not their pursuit of deeper information. It's nice to see people on the path to personal development, yes, but it's not a make-or-break thing for me. Although I might be able to have more intellectual conversations with those who share in chasing knowledge, I have been able to have incredibly enriching conversations with those who choose to live their lives differently.

Frick.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Adult Things

So.

I think I have a plan.

From middle school up until the middle of my junior year, I always thought I'd be a writer. I thought I'd go into Journalism or maybe I'd churn out a novel. I turned to blogging because it seemed promising. Hell, I went so far as to put ads up on this account to try to raise money and expand the reader base.

I stopped writing for a while. I posted statuses and did personal entries, but I felt drained by actually writing for others. I phrased things differently, censored myself a lot more, changed opinions based on what I thought others would want to read. It was no longer as pure as what I had started with, and it felt wrong for a while. I had to step out of that and go back to rawness. I'm still trying to get back to it.

I couldn't pursue a writing career because I'm still in the experimental phase. I'm trying to test out new things and I'm still highly affected by what others think. Therefore, I'm not learning to write for myself. Others are writing through me. I wouldn't want to devote my life to constant demands like that. Plus, taking courses would also shape me. I want to be able to figure writing out for myself. That's why I'd like to keep it as a hobby.

But I couldn't stop if I wanted to. If I go too long without churning out a few paragraphs of something, anything, I get itchy. It's like that's something within me that begs to be fulfilled, and that feeling won't stop until my fingers hit keys. I'm not lying when I say that writing (and singing for that matter) are the closest things I've had to a really intimate experience. I'm sure sex is fantastic, but if it comes anything close to the satisfaction that accompanies the completion of a piece, I'd be thrilled.

There's something really golden about completing a task. There's something really wholesome and satisfying about working hard towards something and finally reaching it. Instant gratification is nice. But there's something much more thrilling in the "chase".

I feel as though pursuing a career in writing will lead me on the "chase", but the pay-off in the end will not be as fulfilling. I don't love it enough for me to go into it like that and I'm not yet completely secure in my abilities. However, that doesn't make me any less of a writer. There is still passion. There is still a part of me that will always breathe creativity. But to make writing all that I am would be denying myself of other opportunities.

After a lot of personal discovery (staying up until 5 in the morning consumed by thoughts), I have been able to step out of myself and consider other things. Bigger things. Teeth things.

Dentistry. (Yeah, what???) I am not going to lie. What first drew me to it was the average 6-figure salary. That brought me to the brink of the pool. I rejected it at first. Dealing with patients. Dental school. Dental school tuition. Dental school debt. Only doing it for the money, which is apparently the worst thing anybody could do.

But I decided to crack down and do some hard-core research.

Some hard-core research.

I liken it to romantic attraction. So there's this really cute guy. I don't know anything about him, but I like the way he scrunches up his face when he smiles and I really like the way his arms look when he picks up heavy things. Can't help it, physical attraction. However, I realize that attempting to hang around this guy for the sole purpose of physical attraction wouldn't be very fulfilling. If it worked out, if I somehow established a relationship with him and we only kept it physical, I imagine one of us would get bored quickly.

But the personality, oh man, oh boy oh man. If only I knew a bit more about his personality. What makes him laugh. What he gets upset about. Oh boy. Oh man. Maybe we'd run into some disagreements, but then I could decide if we could work past that to have a more satisfying future. The physical stuff would be even MORE fantastic because I actually care about the person. If I could develop an emotional connection with this person, we would be set for life. That's marriage material right there.

I basically began dating Dentistry to find out more about its personality, to see if we'd be compatible. Wow, that was weird for me.

With writing, I had a very deep emotional connection. He was really good to me and good for me. But I could never go into a passionate relationship with it because it wouldn't be satisfying. Friend-zoned. I friend-zoned writing. ??????

The hunt for information was launched. I started to dive into forums and threads on Reddit for opinions and experiences. I started to really think about how I would like Dentistry. I fell into the trap of falling in love with another field. I did it with Engineering- convinced myself that this was something I wanted to do because I had a tiny bit of experience with it. I convinced myself that I could "survive" calculus in college in order to reach this goal. I was dead-set on becoming an engineer.

Back to the love-life metaphors. My relationship with Engineering was really shallow. I wanted to make it work. He was attractive, but he had little habits that I just couldn't get over. He wasn't a bad guy. Polite to waiters, always held doors open for me, made me laugh. But we just couldn't connect on anything. We had different interests and he seemed like a better fit for other girls. I still have a massive amount of respect for him, though. It was a clean break-up.

I don't want to do the same with Dentistry. With this, I feel as though it really is different. First of all, no calculus (hallelujah, praise!). The focus would be on biology (hallelujah, amen!). It would be something that I would have to "survive"- since I actually enjoy biology.

Second, the entire health field has always been very present in my life. It's like a theme. Both of my parents have careers in it. My mother works in a hospital and my father deals with the more technical, finance-y, computer-y side of the health industry. I really don't know what exactly he does, but it's health-related. We need to communicate more often...

Anyway, through them, I've had opportunities to peer into the industry and get a taste of what it's like. At the time, however, any interest in the health field was blocked out by my determination to be a writer. Now that the flame has simmered down, I have to reconsider things. I have to reconsider everything.

I had to sit down and ask myself if I would actually really truly want to go into this. It's more than being able to do the work. It's more than just liking biology. It's more than loaded paychecks.

Am I willing to spend my father's money on Dental school? Am I willing to commit myself to courses from hell? Am I going to enjoy working with people in a profession that faces a lot of negativity? I don't want to do something for the sole purpose of money. I want to be happy.

I don't know the answers to these questions yet, but that's why I'm trying it out through the online course. This gives me an opportunity to test out the dental world for a month. After completion, I can apply to become a Registered Dental Assistant, which would open up early job or internship opportunities. Even if I end up hating it, I will have learned something!

I guess that's the key. Trying stuff out. Testing. Getting into something to really see how it feels.

So yes. Right now, I don't know what I'm going to do. I am tired of having to answer people who ask me, but they don't mean any harm. I am 17 years old. If you knew where you were going at this age, good for you. But I don't. I'm trying, though. My answer to the question: I'm interested in Dentistry. I'm not going to be a dentist, for sure, 100% all the way. I'm looking into it. I may lack direction, yes. But I'm trying.

I wish the group of unsure people were less judged by others and themselves. There's a difference between being unsure and being apathetic about your future. I DO want to know where to go. I want to know as soon as possible so I can start to work towards it. I just ? ?  ? ?????

One event that pissed me off a lot was when I was attending an engineering lecture, in which a guy came in to speak about well...engineering. He went around the room and asked the seniors what they were majoring in. They all said theirs. And then he came to me and I said that I didn't know. And well, I'm overthinking this, but being the only one in the room who didn't have a major to say was embarrassing. He was kind about it, though- the stuff about changing majors and having time.

IT IS OKAY TO NOT KNOW WHAT YOU WANT TO DO FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE WHILE YOU ARE SEVENTEEN. I wish I knew that back then. I would have been proud about it. I would have been proud because I'm in progress and that's okay.

It's not that I don't care. It's not that I didn't think about it. I obsess over it, as a matter of fact, because the whole world wants to know where you're headed.

I feel rushed. Yes, I get that people change all of the time. But I have to factor in the limited amount of money that my parents would have to spend. That's huge. I also have to consider time. If I flip-flop in the middle of the year and decide to pursue English instead of Dentistry, I'll have to worry about fitting in more courses, getting credits and all. To be honest, it all boils down to money. I don't mind paperwork and all of the hoops I'd have to go through, the meetings with advisors and whatnot. But I do not want to waste any time.

It's 3 in the morning and I feel drained. I'm going somewhere. I think.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Future Plans and Past Explanations

College is creeping up on me and it's terrifying as fuuuuck. I'm not a spontaneous person. I don't mind if other people have plans and they invite me, spur-of-the-moment. I just don't like it when nobody knows what they are doing, but I often find myself in these situations. Or I create them myself, because hey, humans are contradictory and weird. I'm about to head off into the biggest new experience of my life and I can't make up my mind.

I want to be comfortable. What does that mean? Yikes. For me, it means being able to support myself with minimal help from others. I want to be independent. Some girls I know are perfectly fine with having to mooch off rich husbands.

I couldn't do that. That sort of attitude confuses me. I guess it's how I was raised. I grew up surrounded by grown women who freely took from their partners. They had kids, stayed at home, sucked money out of men who had to take one multiple jobs to keep things together. When I was in elementary school, I thought that this was how most women were. That's how I saw my mother, too. I thought this kind of thing was okay.

(This is kind of the reason why I glorified Tina Fey for a while, because she was independent and kicking ass. I'd never seen that before.)

In middle school, I was pulled into these situations. I ended up having to babysit their children while these women went out to party and dance with other guys at some weird foreign clubs. These adults would go to movies and mess around like teenagers and I would watch their 2-to-7 year olds. That's when I began to get really sick of it.

I began to analyze the relationships of those other women. I began to look at the interactions between them and their husbands and I remember thinking about how they looked trapped. Both of them.

The women were trapped in this idea, perhaps, that the only feasible way to survive was to depend on a man. The kids could sometimes be used as pawns. Some took it a bit farther than others- they began to latch on to the idea of a limitless falsely-earned income. They lusted after material bullshit, begged their husbands for money to buy fake designer bags. They gave me one in Hermann Park and it's stuffed in a plastic box now. (I never liked purses...)

The men were trapped by societal judgment? Or their children? They faced becoming the dicks who abandoned their families for something better. I was making a lot of assumptions at the time. But if an adolescent can sense that something is wrong in the relationship, that's a big problem. One striking observation was that these people weren't compatible at all. There was no love. There were no jokes or playful things or even polite disagreements. It was like a political standoff. Cold, harsh, opinionated. How did these people manage to have sex at all?

I felt secondhand guilt. I'm a very guilt-ridden person. If I see that someone is wronging somebody else, I want to fix it. That's part of the reason I apologize a LOT. These women wronged the men who were working hard to support them. Essentially gold-diggers.

I always feel bad for having to ask for things that I need or want. I hate inconveniencing anybody for my own sake. I hate asking for favors or any kind of help. In a sense, this is my way of overcompensating for all of the things I've seen others do.

I do things on my own, I like it that way. There are less people to disappoint or please that way. Also, I'm the only one who would have to suffer through it all. It sounds like some weird philosophical conclusion that would play at the end of a juicy fictional story.

But I'm trying to go through college in the hopes that I'll be able to support myself. As in, actually support myself. I have friends who are willing to help, but that would inconvenience them. And there is no fucking way I will ever be one of those girls who would marry into money. Sweet fuck.

There's more to this, too.

My dad gave up so damn much for me to get a good education. He devoted his life to being able to pay for everything. I'll be damned if I went and wasted his efforts. Sounds like a typical do-good motivational type of thing. I have this weird sense of obligation, coupled with my desire to remedy the actions of those I see before me.

The problem? I don't know where to channel these...feelings. All of my skills are fucking hobbies. Yes, yes good- I can sing and write and draw. It'd be perfect if I were the type who'd be willing to sing a guy into marrying me and die so I can reap insurance benefits. But I can't and won't. I have never given too much thought to pursuing these as actual careers.

I've been considering Engineering for a while. I figure I could enjoy it and do writing and singing on the side. But it didn't feel right, ya know, it has to feel right. So now, I'm scattered. I'm looking at majoring in Economics, and afterwards I'd go into Business, perhaps. This one's an honest shocker, because I had never seriously thought about it until now.

My dad's the business dude. He's ultimate, A+, number 1 business guy, except he keeps on getting fired. Oops. Aside from that, he tells me that he likes it. He's been telling me that he enjoys the work part of it for years and years, he just hates the people.

I can try peopling. And I'm not too worried about that kind of mathing. It's the calculus that I want to stay away from. So that kind of ruled out Engineering.

He's been trying to start his own business for a long while and it would actually be stellar if I could take after him and help out once I get degrees. That is, if I plan on pursuing it. I know it takes more than just a degree in Economics. I'd have to get really creative with the whole planning process.

I don't like telling people this. They expect me to go into my hobbies as a future. I always get, "Why don't you go into Journalism?" (It's a dying industry, I don't want to starve on the streets.) "Why aren't you going to music school?" (I don't want to sell my soul to the Illuminati and burn out.) When I first told people I was interested in pursuing Engineering way back then, I got raised eyebrows. "You don't seem like the kind of person to like that."

And well, yes, they might have been correct. They were very very very correct, actually. But it's also this kind of attitude that holds people back from testing things out. If I had stayed with the same interests I had when I was younger, I would be in a rut. I think...people are obviously meant to change.

I mean, we're allowed to waver on some things, especially the future. When I was younger, I thought I'd be a doctor. Like, hardcore, full-on surgery stuff. I already had the M.D. initials in my name, not an accident by my parents. Until I took AP Bio and ate sweaty hairy ass.

Exposure is key, though. I'm really grateful for all of the exposure I've gotten, through parents and schools. All of those mentor talks that I witnessed through Engineering and all of those uncomfortable hospital visits exposed me to what I might want to do or avoid. I just need more of it. I wish I had gotten this out of the way before college, fuckfrickin' shit.

Being able to tie yourself down to one thing because you love it is a luxury I cannot attain. I am in awe of the people who have a plan. As for myself, I'm getting there.

I wish I could go into college with a fucking plan.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

One of the Biggest Regrets


That's another thing. Making fun of people who can't socialize. It sickens me. I've spoken up about it and I thought I converted people away from it, but in public, they slip back into it. It always comes back to this.

There was a kid who seemed to linger around groups. He didn't know how to socialize at all and people made fun of him. To his face. To his face. And it was sick. It always comes back to this kid. Every time someone makes fun of a kid for wanting to be on his or her own, I think about him. He went through tough shit and he didn't harm anybody. He didn't harm a single god damn person and people still made fun of him simply because he was "awkward."

He didn't contribute to group conversations, but he tried. And for some reason, nobody tried to incorporate him. I didn't. I didn't do shit until the last moment. People avoided him, made jokes about him to his face, laughed at him. He was not a bad person. He wasn't cocky or condescending or rude or stupid. He didn't backstab anyone. He didn't ever mistreat me. He made comments on certain things, but it was clear that he honestly didn't understand why others opposed them. 

For example, he made a conversation about race once. This is going to sound odd, but he linked my nugget baking escapades with my skin color and the related stereotypes. So yes, I was upset. But everyone else around him at the time was making jokes about race and they were tolerated. He wanted to be tolerated. He wanted to fit in. He wanted to just be fuckin' accepted. 

I didn't do shit. I used to think I was doing him a favor by talking to him once. That's a shitty way to live, that's honestly horrible. To feel like some sort fo fuckin' hero for being nice to that one kid. No, but after a few of those conversations, he actually became really wonderful to me. 

This is not meant to be odd, and I don't mean this in a romantic way at all. But I saw him. Not the social outcast or the awkwardness. I saw him for him, and that was a victim of shitty people. We had no fucking reason to exclude him. No reason. He didn't mean to hurt anyone. 

He is not a bad person. 

You know who the bad people are? The girl who thanked God that he left the school. Also, the girls who agreed. Who else/ The girl who once thought she saw him in the parking lot one day and said she got legitimately scared. And the girl who saw this going on and didn't do anything. 

Only one person has really understood how I feel about this. The others I have told seem to "forget" agreeing with me about how cruel the treatment was and they continue to laugh at him when they are in public. Some people try to fix it after laughing out loud. It's noble, but it's even more noble to be able to hold back laughter and actually try to get him. 

His life could have been so much better. If people stopped being dicks. I feel truly sorry because of my inaction.

But I also feel incredibly angry. To be honest, I don't understand how some people can willingly enjoy the company of someone who harbors so much hatred for that which they don't understand. I prefer to associate with those who love others and don't judge based on little things. 

Dislikes.

I do dislike people. There is no use in trying to come across as the kind of person that loves everybody. There are some people who I wish to avoid because I dislike being around them. The thing is, my standards, if you will, are a bit odd compared to a lot of my peers.

Some people I hang around with judge others based on expressed intelligence. You've got the extreme smarties who choose to associate with those who take the same number of AP classes. Well, yes, part of this is because they share so many classes with one another. But the choice they make is in actively deciding not to hang around those who don't seem as smart. It's a valid reason, yes, but my issue with that is the whole superiority thing. They don't associate with them because they believe they are better. That shouldn't be the case.

Now, a valid reason would be because there are limited opportunities for intellectual discussion, less of a chance for those groups to share common interests. One bunch might want to share a science article on why piano players have better driving skills than flute players, while they other might not be interested at all. (And yes, I realize that interests in topics are not limited to a certain intellectual level, but it's merely an example!)

I stopped limiting myself to interactions with people who seemed openly intelligent. My friend group is a smart bunch of kids. But I don't dislike others because they don't seem to be as intelligent. There are people who honestly talk shit about those who are "slow". That's what pisses me off.

The people I dislike are those who believe they are better than others because of their intelligence.

I also dislike cocky people. I always have. The only people I have ever seriously disliked share the trait of pretentiousness. Every single person I have ever truly disliked in high school, all five of them. People who constantly feel the need to bring up themselves, their accomplishments, their medals and IQ levels and GPAs and grades. I have honestly never been interested in that.

What draws me to people is their lives. What they are doing outside of the classroom. It's neat that they can understand material easily, but it what they do with it and all of the other things they've experienced that interest me.

I cannot stand cocky people. Their arrogance is suffocating and instead of seeing them as the amazing, talented people they want others to see, I see them as broken records. It's them, them, them, their parents, their boats, their looks, their motivation in classes, their sports.

This is far different from confidence. A confident person would be able to show their talents and hard work in what they do. NOT what they constantly tell others. I hate bragging. That's one thing I really do hate.

You can have a conversation with someone about something you've done, yes. You are proud of something you did. But bragging is intentionally showing off. I don't care for that.

I'm not too sure where the people who feel the need to correct others fit into this. In a sense, they can be considered cocky if they correct in a really condescending manner. It's just a really nasty trait to have, it's a nasty way of dealing with people. The proud and high and mighty are often very condescending, I guess in order to emphasize how much better they are than others. There are people who correct others because they want them to perform a task or something in a more correct/efficient way. But others take on the tone of, "How could you possibly do it in that way? That's dumb."

That crushes people, my goodness. If any of you feel compelled to make corrections, don't say something is dumb. When people make the decision to do that, they probably had their reasons. Sometimes, we look at a situation from the outside and can't understand why anyone would do certain things. We apparently know something they don't, and they're missing that, so they are making "dumb" decisions.

However, we have no idea what experiences they have been through prior to the event we are judging them on. We have no idea what's going on in their heads and they might have reasons for doing what they did. The only person, according to me, that can make stupid decisions is myself. I know myself and I am able to understand that I should have done something differently.

Do I look at the decisions of others and disagree with them? Yes. But it ends there. I disagree with them, but I see no point in thinking about it. Instead, I have to make following decisions based on that. Understand and move on, it's possible to do without condemning others for something they thought was a good idea.

With this attitude, my tolerance levels have shot up. This might be dangerous. What do I think of the 19-year old father who chooses to neglect his son, no child support, no further schooling, still continuing to chase women? That is different. And it depends on whether he is aware of the harm he is causing by his choices. There is a "wrong". There are correct decisions to make in that case, and at this point in his life, he can be expected to be able to make them. I disagree with his choices, but I don't think they are dumb. I think he should not have done all of that. Is he stupid? No. He's just a really shitty decision maker.

So, I take a special sort of offence at terms like "stupid" and "dumb". I've always had this "thing" about intelligence levels. This kind of attitude, that kids are so willing to call others stupid and some are so willing to look down on those who aren't intelligent, has become more apparent in high school. It implies that those who really are "stupid" according to the actual definition are worth less than those who are more mentally capable of advanced tasks.

My uncle is "stupid". The people who raise hell about caring for the mentally ill are some of the same people judging others for being "stupid".

I don't like people who judge based on stupidity. There was a girl who a lot of people made fun of. One of the reasons was that she didn't know what a furnace was in high school. That's merely due to a lack of exposure. Some people just haven't been exposed to things. Yes, some people don't read. The attitude today in a lot of the people I associate with is that people who don't read are not worth my time. Reading is magical and it really does expand the human experience. I understand this like crazy, reading is what lead me to writing and both are among the most important forces in my life. But not everyone can get "into" reading as easily.

That does mean less exposure. So they are less likely to know various bits of knowledge and funfacts. They are less likely to be able to connect with others who love reading, that too. But people can still lead fulfilling lives without reading. They do so by getting out into the world and doing. A balance, perhaps, would be ideal. But ideal in terms of self-fulfillment depends on the individual.

It may seem like I'm a general relativist. Well, I do believe there is a solid right and wrong. But what about the areas that don't involve moral standing? Like whether or not you want to read.

I don't like people who take without giving back. I don't like people who use others. They expect friendship and kindness but they haven't made sacrifices to give back. It was really difficult for me to be friends with someone who expected me to give and listen when she needed help. But when I ventured out to her for assistance, she flipped the conversation back to herself. I don't like going to others for help at all. I try to make myself as, well, unhelpable as possible, but that would mean I would be asking for them to give to me.

I really do not wish to become a burden to anybody, but I genuinely like listening. Fuck, I love listening. If people need to get something off their chest, I'll be there. It helps. I do the same, but I just pour things out by writing. I don't like listening because I take joy in seeing people suffer. The opposite, in fact, I like it because it means they are possibly getting better.

Ummumm, what else. People who judge for trivial things. One girl had a Romney sticker on her laptop and people made assumptions. I'm not a supporter of some of his ideas, but the girl didn't deserve to be teased. I feel like the people who still fuss about this need to get out of the mindset of a middle-schooler. "She has cowboys on her blog," or, "she still listens to Nickleback." He doesn't know how to socialize. He doesn't talk to anyone.

(cont. on the next post because this is so damn long!)


Friday, May 17, 2013

Going Up

I don't know why everything is changing now, but it's new and exciting. I want to drag this feeling out so it can last longer, but what if there's something beyond this? 

A summary of what has happened in the past week or so, in regards to my outlook on life and opinion of myself:

Prior to the past few days, I had been perpetuating other people's image of me. They expected me to cry often, be indecisive, shy away from daunting tasks. It was comfortable in the sense that I was so used to it. Any attempts to change myself at that point were unnatural. I was afraid of fear of rejection by my peers. The people I knew would be surprised, shocked. What if I come across as too aggressive? What if they don't like my decisions? 

It seemed like I was afraid of every single person judging me, but looking back, that was not the case. I was only afraid of the judgment of two people. Everyone else didn't seem to care what I did, they only liked the good things. 

One of these people had a very positive impact on my life. She offered advice and tried to help me get better, and I really do appreciate it all. But I needed to be able to do things on my own. 

I guess this was the starting point in my journey away from self-hatred and disappointment. She basically opened my eyes to the necessity to change my current way of doing things. And it's not bad, it was true. At the rate I was going, I would have ended up an opinionless doormat. 

I went wrong right here. I looked into her suggestions, branched out and entered into a new territory. I tried to apply the worst situation to my life. I guess I figured that would equal more help? Other people around me were legitimately going through the worst of things. And they were getting help for it. So I guess I needed that, too?

Why, though? I'm still trying to figure that out. Why did I kind of want myself to be depressed? Why did I want to seek professional help? Why did I want to have anxiety disorders? I felt like harming myself just to be able to feel like I had an issue. I felt like going on websites to compare and contrast my "symptoms" so i could get that label. 

That was so idiotic. I wasn't looking for attention. I was looking for help for a problem I didn't have. Because I was trying to live up to the suggestion of that one person. If she was offering help, I might as well take it. But I kept looking for more help. And yet I didn't have it.

I was addressing the wrong problem. I had to stop pleasing others so much. I had to stop trying to have issues. It wasn't fair of me to take away the value of those who actually had those issues. 

This is not an attempt to blame, but part of the reason I was so caught up in this was the persistence. "Are you okay? Are you sure you're okay? You don't have to be okay, you know." So maybe I was being reluctant. 

It was a mess. I convinced myself that I had a mild form of anxiety and whenever something upset me in the tiniest way, I would choose to dwell on it. My problem was wanting to make things more significant that they actually were.

Couple that with the need to fit into the mold I had already built. Here is where the second person comes in. She would make a lot of jokes about my over-emotional attitude. She would reference crying and breakdowns in a humorous manner, because apparently that is what friends are supposed to do. She brought me even lower into this mask of self-loathing. And I couldn't distinguish my actual feelings from what I thought I was supposed to feel. 

But this past week, everything flipped. It wasn't painful, but eye-opening. The second girl said more things about my emotional tendencies and meant it this time. But I didn't connect it to the core of myself as I usually do. And it didn't hurt. Because I realized that wasn't me. 

I don't have emotional breakdowns. The two points that someone could argue against that would be the time I cried in the bathroom after being told off by another student after skipping a class and that time I tried to get drunk to suppress my "bad day." Both incidents had coincided with, surprise, that really vulnerable time of the month, and they were at the end of long days. 

While it is true I do not like judgment and would rather not have it directed at me, when it does happen, I do not actually let it ruin me. It was only at this point in the year, after I thought I had an extreme mental issue, that I took that and amplified it. Explaining it to people made it even more elaborate and intense, because they were there to listen and I was getting "help". 

The only events in my life where I expressed true agony and pain were spent on my own. One, when my mother moved out of our house after the divorce. Two, when my best friend moved schools in Junior Year. The most recent one was when I didn't know where my brother was. I handled those much differently. 

I cried without caring and I cried without feeling the need to show others. 

I do have a huge soft spot. But none of the other events were emotional breakdowns.

So I've accepted that. And this is the happiest I've ever been in a really long time. 

Because nothing is wrong, but things are still getting better. I like myself a lot more and I just feel... stronger. I don't feel like anything can hurt me. Bad things still happen and all, but I see them differently, they don't bring me down anymore, they're just there. And I can try to fix them instead of having to work in how others see me and how I'm supposed to fail their expectations. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Welcome to Happiness

I had a conversation with someone yesterday about happiness. It was one of those Transition Conversations. Those are conversations in which one or more people in a discussion realizes how captivating other members can be, as expressed through their ability to hold your attention with their words. These conversation, as I expressed on Twitter earlier, are the absolute greatest. This is what changes people from acquaintances to close friends. In these, people discuss the deeper things in life and they figure out what others actually are. It is in these conversations that a good judgment about one's character can be derived.

The conversation from yesterday gave me a deeper sense of appreciation for this person. It showed how much she thought about the world and it was really pleasant to be able to "human" in that manner.

She mentioned how she wanted to feel happy. No, content. The really sweet lulling feeling of comfort, the kind that pulls you away from everything else, until you no longer know what's beyond it. It's not too extreme, though, it's not ecstasy, it's not joy, it's not excitement. She wanted to feel that again.

Me, too.

There are too many things that can take away from us ever reaching that. Too many things that could destroy any chance of it ever entering ourselves at all. It took too damn long to get away from most of that.

And what they say is so true. It starts with yourself. I used to look at those little quotes on Tumblr that stressed how you should love yourself and how nothing can really come out of hating yourself except for really good writing. (It is true, I produced some deep-ass stuff while in the slumps) But it never struck. I'd see it and just wonder how? It's not that easy to love yourself when you don't even know yourself. I was trying too hard to please people and make myself perfect. I was trying too hard to be the me others wanted me to be.

It honestly sucked getting here. It was a horrid journey full of self-loathing, rejection, disappointment. And all of that hurt. And then I hurt in other ways, too, because I was really unclear about myself. It sucked. But along the way, I picked up some decent lessons.

High school is a rough place, a rough time. Four years of sheer hell with little bits of heaven sprinkled in. But it beat the insecurity away. The final blow was two days ago, just as high school was ending.

I got a scar on my foot that day. This is going to sound stupid as fuck, but...

I consider it really symbolic. It stung and it hurt and it ruined the fun I was having. I had to take a pause and examine it and clean it out and cover it. That's kind of the problem I had with myself. As this thing heals, I'm going to be reminded of it, but I don't mind. I know it's going to heal. That's where I hope the next few months are going.

Good things are happening. Over the summer, I was offered a job as a singer! I thought I had ended the singing days forever after the last performance, but I was recruited. Completely unexpected. Along with this came the idea to do more covers, just for the hell of it. I also plan on actually organizing a writing project over the summer. I just need to follow through. In addition, I plan on working at the Children's Museum. The world seems different. 13-year-old me would be shocked and hopefully proud. Yeah, you didn't get to Rice, but you are here and you are finally on the road to really liking yourself.

I am not as worried about leaving my family and friends, because I know that it is more than possible to keep up a relationship with them. I'm not worried about the roommate situation anymore, either. I found one and she's incredibly sweet and we should hopefully get along just fine.

I'm still unsure about my future, but...I am not sad about it anymore.

I think that's definitely enough for now...

My side

I need to lay some things out and clear things up. Recently, something blew up and people are still reeling from that. Innocent people were hurt and people did not get the chance to say all they need to say. It is alright to have to cut ties, but I feel as though everyone deserves to be understood.

From my point of view, here is what happened. I will start from the beginning. Freshman year, a pretty strong lunch group had been established. There were a decent amount of young people who seemed to work together nicely. I thought I would keep all of them beyond the three years in high school ahead of us.

But group dynamics shifted. I felt left out. The same thing happened with another girl, F, the one I had been the closest to out of all of them and who still continues to be my best friend. We both felt replaced by one person, a newcomer, J, in the group. Everyone seemed to like her way more than us and they paid more attention to her.

I simply did not know her as well as everybody else, but at the time we did not have a lot of things in common. In addition, she made me feel especially ostracized for not liking one of her favorite things. I would occasional participate in conversations in which I actually was shunned by her for not reading the Harry Potter series. She threw a grape at me once for admitting that, so eventually, I just tried to avoid the topic.

She might not have considered me at all as a potential friend, but I was uncomfortable for a really long time. I felt replaced. I felt like I understood why the others liked her a lot, since they had classes with her and more things in common. I felt out of place. F did, too. We used to have a trio. But J had come in and the trio fell apart, because the third member had gotten so close, along with most others in the lunch group.

At this point, I still didn't hate J. I just did not understand her. F and I left the group. We split up and went our separate ways. (To this day, I still regret not starting a group with her. Somehow, I don't know how, we still remain incredibly close, despite not seeing one another every day, sometims weeks in between. We ended up in different groups. She has an entirely new ones. For a long while, I kept on jumping from group to group, and I eventually ended up back with the original people. We're in different places, but it's still okay.)

It wasn't until, I think, the end of Junior year that I stopped feeling replaced. I had to work my way back into the group and it took theater to do that. After joining theater, I got closer to many of the people once again. Those were some of the greatest times of my life, being on crew. There are several people who are impossible to dislike and I am blessed to have met them through it. I got back in and felt much more comfortable with being there. At the same time, the other groups I floated with disbanded, but I remained close with another person, K. K was another story, we became really close and then she left.

That was the low point of Junior year. It was because I got ridiculously attached and I had spent so little time with her, relatively speaking. That, and I knew she was going to leave well before it actually happened. So I would feel sort of sad every time we interacted. She's the reason I hate goodbyes so fiercely. I know it might have been worse. There was another goodbye incident that people went through that was sudden and much more painful. But this still hurt.

I've never told anyone this. I know I mentioned earlier that I don't need help, but this was actually the one point where I needed someone to listen. I couldn't go to F, because she was going through hell while this was happening, and I was listening for her. She's the only one I could have told at the time.

At the beginning of senior year, I no longer had K to hang out with. Otherwise, I think I would have stayed with her and a few others in a group. It was at this point that I firmly became a member of the very first group. I was really close to a lot of people and after spending more time with them, our bonds only grew. Even with J, because the more I understood her, the more I cared for her. I no longer felt replaced. I felt like a new member all over again, but there were familiar faces. They became comfortable, and they became family.

Were there problems? Yes. There were times when I would get upset with some of them because of what they chose to do. But after a day of internally moping, I would go back to loving them. To be honest, J was the hardest one to learn to love at the beginning. Sometimes she would do things that I didn't and couldn't understand. There was a lot of hatred and so at times, I fell into that as well. We are very different in some ways and I would disagree with her but never say it. Throughout the year, I felt like I had to earn her favor. That wore off, though and it only took a few solid conversations.

It really is true. Once you understand someone, it's hard to dislike them. Once you understand what they are going through and where they are coming from, you begin to see why they are the way they are. And in spite of whether or not they mess up, you can still like them.

At the end of this year, I began to get odd feelings. I thought I was ready to leave and so I began rejecting the lunch group. In my mind, at least. It was the longest time I've ever stayed in a lunch group in high school. I began to feel tired of people, only two people. And this time, those feelings were strong and lasted longer. Annoying, even, but I just needed some time away from them. I began to try to ignore them, but they didn't deserve any of it. Combined with wanting to beat myself up, it made for very long, upset nights. I think J was going through that as well. We expressed this, I think, in very different ways.

I didn't show it, aside from trying to spend less time with two of them. It was a matter of overexposure for me. This was my first time leaving a bunch of people that I had grown so close to, so I did not understand how to deal with it. I kept on thinking about how wonderful it would be to leave the building and never look back.

But this feeling dissipated over the past two weeks. I felt more appreciative and torn up that I was going to leave. So I decided to really enjoy the company of every one of them. I just felt good about this and I wanted to leave on a positive note. 

But two days ago, I think it was two days ago, something blew up. A lot of innocent people got hurt in the process, but I believe only J and I are to blame for this. She felt replaced at one point as well. it wasn't just that, from what I understand, but she felt like people weren't caring about her and labeled her as dramatic. I didn't know this beforehand, the majority of the group did not. J felt replaced by the most recent member, H. She had ties through choir and theater with a large number of the group members. But she took a seat at the table during one of our retreats that J had basically reserved and J did not appreciate that. The rest of the group, including myself, was baffled, because we only saw and still see only the hatred. However, it kind of gradually cleared up. J still apparently dislikes H. I didn't know H until recently, but I had several meaningful conversations with her and again, the more you understand someone, the more you can like them. I know she made some decisions with her life that I would not have made.

J especially did not agree with them and she was very vocal about it. I also voiced my opinion on a lot of her choices. It's time to own up to that. I didn't get why she would make some of the decisions she did. But that was before finding out about her past. This all happened within three weeks. In those three weeks, I had to stop bullshitting myself. My own viewpoints about things changed due to a number of things and I found myself admitting to doing some of the things that I once despised.

I became more tolerant, more open to some of the things that my dad would faint over. Where's my sense of morality? Does this make me a hypocrite? Yes, and I admit to that. It has been called out several times. But I am finally addressing it. I once judged based on the same values I now reject.

The thing is, I am allowed to contradict myself at times. That is what growing up is about. It's about messing things up. It's also about fixing them. It's about forming the person you hope to be after realizing how much you've ruined things.

So here's the trouble. J really didn't like H. I did. Several other members of the group did. There seemed to be a rift. A total of six members of the group opposed J's hatred of H, nobody said anything about it, though.  They all liked H and considered her a part of the group. Possibly three members, including J, opposed it. Partially because they didn't know H as well and they didn't agree with her background or understand where she was coming from. Not liking someone can be understood, but hatred is different.

What bothered the six members a lot was how open J was in expressing her hatred. Through Twitter, several things were said that honestly seemed childish. It was cruel of her to say what she did, that is what I firmly believe. The members have discussed it before and they did not approve, but nobody did anything about it. For a while, her hatred was mostly kept to herself, except for slight moments on Twitter, it seems. The six members were aware of it and we tried to keep it from H for a while.

J removed H from the Facebook lunch group that I created. H found out. This is childish. This is childish, this is honestly childish.

She then made a comment on the Facebook group that implied that everyone in the group opposed the addition of H. And that was the last straw for me. So I made a stand. H could see it on the group. Everyone could see it. I spoke out and said this was childish and J seemed to make a joke out of it. For the whole day, she seemed to be upset, because once again, her seat had been taken. The difference this time was that we tried to make room for her. We tried to make room, but she rejected it and we honestly didn't understand. We tried to help out. But there was a lack of communication. A lot of people are still confused. We were all accused of not opening our eyes to her problems, that is true, but at the same time, we had our own things to work out as well.

I kicked her out of the group. Was that childish? Yes, it was. And I take the blame. I initiated the blow-up, but it had been building inside her for quite some time.

Then a group chat was started in order to figure this out. And that's when things exploded. She said she's hated us and basically didn't care. She said we had annoying personalities. And here is where it got really easy to dislike her for that, because we had been a drama-free group that tried to care. but we cannot care without proper communication. People were upset and other were trying to help. But too many fuses were blown. It might be too late, I thought.

I should not have done what I did. But I wanted to fix things. I felt replaced by her at one point. I left the group because of it, but I didn't hate anyone. I just felt unwanted. Nobody listened to my problems either, I just kept things to myself when I was with the group, otherwise I told F.

She began to text me and point out my flaws. The things that I mentioned earlier, the stuff I was trying to make myself believe in. The weakness, the proneness to emotional breakdowns. She wished me a sarcastic good luck in college with my emotional breakdowns. She thanked me for fueling her ego. She said I wouldn't know what pain was like because I had always been treated like a puppy within the group. Except I had been going through a very similar situation. She tried really hard to knock me down and it really could have.

But the timing was odd. I had been feeling good about life and more confident in myself. But this took things in an odd direction. What she said didn't hurt me. The only thing that could hurt me would be something related to my brother. I have been afraid for so long about losing friends or having someone hate me. But that, too, was a part of the Weak Delusion I mentioned earlier. Because I do not get affected by it. She thought I relied heavily on friends. That started and ended with K. When K left, I learned to be less dependant on people.

When she said those things, I remember looking at my phone and at the screen and just feeling really sorry for her. It was not a sarcastic kind of sorry, it was just a lost kind of sorry. It wasn't a sorry that made me feel better than she did, because apparently I knew something she didn't. It wasn't a sorry that made her look bad or weak or messed up. I felt sorry that she had to go through this. It was a mistake that I made, taking her out of the group. And it was really bad timing for her, since she had been having a really shitty day. There was too much going on. So I didn't mind being the thing she unleashed on.

I didn't mind because I think it helped her get all of this out. I think being able to attack me helped her with some of the things that had been pent up inside. I hope it did. When I told other people, they were shocked that she would do that. But they don't understand her, or where she came from. It's all about that.

I sent an email to apologize for my action and try to fix things and I thanked her for all of the good experiences we had. If this really was the last time we would interact, I wanted her to know I didn't dislike her. I took the blame and accepted that I should not have kicked her out. I tried to get her point of view, but I don't think I ever will. It's okay for her to be angry with all of this, I do not think anyone really blames her if they know her.

She closed the friendship with that email, after targeting my apparent weaknesses once more. But if it helped her get everything out, so be it. I do not regret the time we spent together or the time I spent on trying to make her feel good. I did put effort into helping her out, but she was making the point in her replies that I was basically just used by her. But I didn't mind because at the time, I had fun.

It doesn't make sense to turn good memories into bad ones just because the current situation is sour. If you had fun, own up to it, be able to look back and enjoy it. If you know you won't be making any more good memories with that person, that's okay, too. But don't turn something good in the past into something negative.

Oddly enough, that launched, in a really kind of sick way, my path onto liking myself more. For being able to keep calm and not break down, when I could have. That's part of becoming an adult. I feel surprised in how I handled this because it was at the exact time that I accepted that nothing was wrong with me. Had I believed at the moment she called me out on being weak and over-emotional, I would have taken that and dwelled on it and torn myself up. But she said those things and I disagreed and it didn't take as much effort as I thought it would. And it still confuses me. Because for so long, I would believe that I was broken. And for so long, I had believed that I was at the mercy of others. The more I thought about it, the more effective others could be.

But I was my own person in this case, not examples. She called me a bird with a broken wing trying to fly in one of her tweets and I didn't feel upset. It should have made me cry. But I don't have a broken wing, I'm just not used to flying, but it's becoming more and more natural.

I'm still figuring out who I want to be.

I care about others and I can stand up for people. I can sing. I can draw (I don't show it). I write, I try to dance. I make cute boys laugh, and to me that's a really neat accomplishment. People look up to me. I've never admitted that before. I can take compliments now. I have never admitted any of this before, truly, so if this sounds really cocky from me, please realize that i have been hiding things for so long because of obligations. I cry at Hallmark commercials and strong books. I make a shitload of mistakes and I have a lot of regrets, but I am not weak and I don't need as much help as I thought. I'm an okay person.

I feel like a good person. I don't always do the right thing, but I have helped when I could.

I was really worried about college because I thought I wouldn't be able to figure myself out.

But I am here.

Myself

I am alright. I am okay. Yes, I have some things I could work on, but I can fix them. I don't have any sort of disorder and I don't need help. I am okay and it is time to fully admit that so I can actually start enjoying life.

It took this long to figure it out who I am. This isn't my final destination, at least, I hope not. But I've worked out a few things over the past two or three days and it's kind of a relief.

Here is what I thought I was, and here is what others tried to perpetuate. I must clarify that some of this was done with good intentions, not to bring me down:

People-pleaser
Weak
Anxiety-ridden
Depressed
Unable to say no
Unable to make decisions
Over-emotional
Completely dependant on others
Prone to crying over little things

So for a huge chunk of this year, I believed it. And there were people who tried to get it out of me, presumably so I could get help for it. I soon believed that I was just broken and that I needed to slap those labels on myself.

Aside from the jokes about my apparent weakness that only two people seemed to make on a constant basis, I portrayed myself as broken. It makes this seem like an act, but on the surface, I felt like I had to. I was obligated to try to be broken, since people had already accepted that I was.

It affected the way I lived. It took over in some respects. When I would get mildly and reasonably upset, I would attribute it to the way I was wired. I would overthink such instances and make myself stressed about it. When I would get disappointed, I would blame it on my possible disorder. It was almost like I was hoping that something really was wrong with me. At the end of every day, I was just confused.

I began to feel really sorry for myself, but it never hit me to the core. It was only on the surface. Even so, it felt like I had to keep opening myself up and picking out my own flaws, just to amplify them and label them.

I don't know what I was looking for.

The incident earlier this year, the alcohol and the attempt at self-harm, seemed to just be a way to solidify my own wavering opinion of myself. If I succeeded, that would have fully assigned that label. But looking back over that, I really wasn't feeling it. I didn't feel it, I knew that I was okay while doing it. I wanted to do it, just to do it.

That low point was a result of me over-thinking and wanting something to be wrong with me.

I'm still trying to work out why exactly I wanted to have issues. Some might suggest jealousy, because others who had legitimate problems were getting help. But that was not it. I cannot stress how much that was not it. I looked at those situations and I've been on the helping side and knowing that I couldn't even begin to understand what they were going through made me feel horrible. There was misery in that, and nothing about that situation was desirable.

It did take up a significant chunk of my time, this built up attitude. Time that could have been spent realizing and accepting that I was actually alright all along. Had I known that earlier, I might have been able to treat myself and others much better.

I got something out of this, though. It made me consider and respect those who actually do go through hell. There's a difference between pity and respect. You can't do anything with pity. But if you respect someone and know that they are suffering without feeling sorry for them, you are able to make more of an impact. I'm not a therapist, I'm not a psychologist, but I can listen and I can be there.

This also taught me that it's okay to be strong, just as much as it is okay to be weak.

I know who I'm not. I don't have anxiety, I just get nervous at times. I'm not a doormat, I'm just indecisive at times. I'm not in dire need of help. I am not depressed, I get sad occasionally. I am okay. I am alright and I'm still getting better.

I don't think it's bad to be able to be proud of this. I do not mean to imply that I am in a better place than those who cannot say the same. What I mean is, I am able to help others. Otherwise, I would just be adding to the worries of others unnecessarily, because my case, whatever this was, is not true.

I am alright and it feels damn good.


Monday, May 13, 2013

Clearing up the purpose...


We’re all headed toward the same destination, we’re just all on different paths. Some have it much harder than others, some aren’t aware of how great they have it. But we’re all headed towards death, it’s inevitable. 
Every day, we are faced with choices. Our backgrounds and past experiences don’t make the decisions for us, they are simply there in our minds with us as we face the options. 
Being well-informed about the consequences and the details seems to be a privilege nobody has all of the time. 
I’ve been busted up, too. Not in the same way others have, but people don’t seem to think I’ve ever felt anything other than fear or happiness because of how I carry myself.
Because I think I’m good at hiding it. I don’t want anything to leak out on people who don’t have time for me. I don’t want anyone to feel obligated to try to help. Because everyone has their own things going on and I’m just another person.
We have to understand, guys, you just have to understand that EVERYBODY could be going through something. Just because somebody is the perfect image of confidence and perfection in public, doesn’t mean that they aren’t wishing themselves off the Earth. 
So be upset. Feel every emotion to the fullest. Anger, rage, frustration, disappointment. Don’t do anything half-assed. If you are going to feel, feel as powerfully as you possibly can. The worst times make you appreciate the best times a lot more. When I’m low, I hate it, but I feel that to my core. It makes it more difficult to get back to “normal”, but the smallest joys seem to have a bit more significance after those negative episodes. 
Love just as intensely. Make decisions that minimize the numbing realization that we’re all going to be forgotten nobodies in 100 years. Our grandchildren will know us, but not who we are at this very moment. The person you are right now will be forgotten in 100 years, they’ll know your title, your name, probably just enough information about you to fill in a family tree for a school project. 
You’re going to be about as useful as a Wikipedia page.
The point? Make something matter. You can’t spread your influence through time, perhaps, but you can spread it through people you are currently with. 
Instead of hurting others on purpose, love until you hurt. Fall in love with people. It’s hard, maybe harder than hating people. But in my opinion, that is the key to enjoying life, even while realizing it’s going to end.
That’s how I want to live. But I make mistakes, too. So do you. We all do. Hatred is not a mistake. It is a decision. 
Hatred is exhausting. It’s harmful, misunderstood, and exhausting for others and yourself. It’s unnecessary. 
We’re unnecessary until we become the type of people others can depend on when they are broken. And that’s a career that will never die out, because everyone has issues. 
We have no purpose unless we interact with those and make enough of an impact on them to make them need us. And that requires love.