Perfection (a reflection)

To be honest, I never usually have so many ideas I can articulate in one day. Occasionally they’ll hit me, quickly and suddenly, and I’ll have to get them down somewhere, somehow immediately or lose them forever. Others drift as remnants, half-formed and vague, until later. Or until never.

But today is just a good day for thinking and writing, I guess. It’s also strange that I’m blogging now because generally by 11:06 pm on any given evening (weekends excepted) I am either sleeping or wishing to God I was sleeping, so hey. This is cool.*

But back to my stream of consciousness at the moment, why don’t we?

I think a lot about perfection.

We all try to be perfect. We all want the 100 on our theory homework or the A in ed psych. Obviously we all want to perfect our skills, especially at Eastman (like, DUH, hello). And there are other ways in which people strive to perfect themselves: religiously/spiritually, physically, emotionally. Still others strive to behave perfectly or respond perfectly in social situations, perfecting their image.

I have tried to perfect myself in all of these ways. Possibly more, I guess. But over the course of the past few years, and especially here, I have put myself at a level with other, more “normal” human beings– and by that, I mean the kids who don’t try as hard, or the kids who aren’t at an advantage socioeconomically, or even the adult working class. I think working at Tim Horton’s all summer and this winter break reinforced my relationship and tie to the everyday average person. And while I refuse to lower my sights or adjust my previously-set goals, it’s humbling and enlightening at the same time to have a glimpse into the real world. It was also a learning experience– an incredibly motivating and meaningful one.

I guess it gave me a glimpse into a life not filled so much with lofty aspirations of a perfect fellowship with Christ and the church, or a toned and physically disciplined body, or straight As.

I mean I’m not going to alter my own goals– I have a shady outline of what I’m here to do, and I plan on filling it in. But there are manners that some adopt that make having goals seem like something pretentious and disgusting. Like, “I’ve got these plans and nothing is going to get in my way.”

It sounds okay, but in my opinion there need to be some priorities. Right? Like, family? Friends? Relationships with people, meaningful interactions with others, your teachers, your peers? What about living life? I don’t mean getting drunk (although hey, sometimes it’s a perk) but enjoying yourself and taking time to reflect on the happiness in your life. Little things, like having a ridiculous discussion with my roommate about Barbie and Ken, or talking to my grandmother about Criminal Minds, or savoring Starbucks because I don’t have it at home– or even staring into the sun and feeling it touch your face because it’s the middle of winter– those things are valuable to me. They are, in a way, much much MUCH more important than behaviors I’ve noticed, such as…

Biblical facebook statuses: I mean I guess people quote meaningful song lyrics and that’s similar, but please, do you really need to shove your faith in everyone’s face? I mean, I can say I love Jesus because, well, I do. But in my opinion and experience, it’s better to show your love for him through your actions. It’s really not how often you talk about your prayers or your youth group or “how you can spread the Woooord.” How about, you just go show it? Loving people without judgment is going to have more of an effect than a club at college where all you do is chat about how to add more people to your club. It feels exclusive. And it feels like bragging, and an exaggerated attempt to make oneself into someone others should seek out or respect.

Physical perfection: I understand that gyms are awesome. I have a membership. But those that get carried away, and do a freakout if they miss half a warmup or a stretch or something stupid? That’s ridiculous. The world is not going to end if you miss Pilates, dude.

Academics are overrated. Isn’t it enough that we kill ourselves to achieve proficiency at our art? The added pressure of grades just screams “give me migraines.” Some overwork themselves to the point where learning the material is secondary and the letter grade is most important. Isn’t the acquisition of knowledge the goal? Not the skill with which one takes tests.

Or, maybe I’m just overthinking this, and it’s the attitude with which one seeks perfection that is the really irksome thing. Maybe I just place too much value on not being an obsessive lunatic. Maybe I have a thing against acting like an overeager or scarily-driven know it all. Hopefully, though, I’m capable of pursuing my own goals with a passion for life and an enthusiasm that’s contagious and considerate, not obnoxious.

But that’s all I know for tonight.

Also, Lucy and I were just having a discussion while I wrote this… for her benefit I’m supposed to mention that Zulu thatchers were hired to thatch the roofs of all the gift shops in Disney World so that they would look legit.

 

* I mean, undoubtably this also has something to do with the fact that, YES I’M GOING HOME TOMORROW.

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Used to it by now

So, I think I’m just no fun. That’s the clear conclusion. It doesn’t matter, and doesn’t bother me overmuch, but it’s what I believe my problem is. I’m a serious person… usually. And when I’m not, I guess I’ve got a dirty and sarcastic sense of humor that is generally fun-loving and chill, but there’s really only so much I can do to make myself into someone others want to spend time with. And to be honest I don’t believe I should have to do that much to transform myself. I shouldn’t have to change to please those who don’t care.

If I’m not entertaining enough, or sociable enough, or flirtatious/charming/shallow enough? Well, I hate to say this, but I’ve made my peace with that a long time ago. I am who I am. I wouldn’t change it. I thought about it, yesterday for a little while. I could play those games, I could cake on layers of fake and gooey glamor that’d strike a bombshell chord in whoever talked to me. I could wear the right clothes, say the right things, climb a social ladder of sickly sweet smiles and “hey, honeys.” For some people, that works. That’s who they are. I could do it, too. If I chose.

Just the thought of it makes my stomach roll. I don’t think I’d be able to stand it. I’d rather take the no fun and the semi-lonely melancholy that accompanies than adopt a slick glaze of false.

Awkward laundry post

So I’m sitting awkwardly in the basement of Eastman right now, waiting for my laundry to dry. I guess this can be a good exercise in seeing whether or not I’m capable of cranking out a halfway decent blog in eleven minutes (approximately).

I think that, overall, laundry time is a bad experience (unless you have someone to do laundry with). I don’t like the wait, and I don’t feel comfortable leaving my clothing unattended. It’s not like I believe someone will take it; but I don’t like to leave things to chance. So I sit down here and wait.

The lonely vending machine in the laundry room...

It’s not as if it’s unproductive. No, I finished all of my homework and now I don’t have anything mandatory to finish except for the Laitz reading, which I can do in about five minutes when I get back to my room. (It’s a big book, I didn’t want to have to lug it down with my bag and my laundry.) But other than that? Successful finish of the work for me today… and the homework for tomorrow and Wednesday? Totally out of the way.

So why is laundry awkward?

It is awkward in that the people who walk in, stare. And don’t speak. And then do their own laundry processes and leave. It’s like, what? Where would I go? Where else do I have to go that’s not the weird little room full of interruptions off from the kitchen, or my dorm?

So I sit here. And wait until my laundry’s done and I can shuffle over to fill my bag, then leave.

Every night’s an all nighter

No one ever said it would be easy. I’d even told myself, from the very beginning, that this would be difficult. That I’d work, and work hard. That there would be stress, and infinite pressure, and time management and energy concerns.

Like, I knew it. So why, when seasonal depression and homesickness hit, do they feel like some viciously unexpected wallop from the beyond? Not to mention the added pressure of friendships and balancing a social life with academic proactivity, and the agitation that accompanies the occasional brush of unfriendliness.

I don’t want to be bitter. I don’t want to sit and stew in my own negative outpouring of feelings toward individuals or a course or my own longing to be home. I want to just plow through the rest of this semester and be home. Be home. I’ll say it again: I want to be home.

I know I’ll sink back into the routine here, because I’ve discovered I actually can adapt. There are those who get under my skin and stick there, infecting my mood and my performance, but I am going to work to pop them like the acne they are. That looks really gross and harsh: but honestly, this is a vicious fricking environment if you don’t have your shit together. I can’t afford– emotionally, financially, physically– to not have my shit together. So if certain people are an infection, I hereby antitoxin the crap out of them, right here, right now. I’m a tolerant, patient, sometimes outspoken but generally very balanced and caring person. But there are times, like right now, with two more midterms to go and one month standing between me and my family, where I am going to slam both feet into the ground and say, that’s enough of this bull crap.

It’s so necessary for me to excel here. Not for me, on my own. Necessarily. So much falls to me, to surpass the goals I’ve set for myself. My family is counting on me to make this time worth it.

So, God help me, I damn well will.

Take a few and chill the hell out (badly titled, but I’m tired)

Don’t people realize what they look like? When you stand there and rant, complain, bitch, whatever you want to call it, don’t you understand you’re making yourself look like an incompetent moron in the public eye? Doesn’t it hit that no one takes you seriously?

You can’t spout hot air and expect those with common sense to utilize your knowledge.

Being spoiled does not immediately qualify you for a practice room. You’re not entitled, or above the rest of us. If the general populace has to wait five to ten minutes during rotation time for rooms, then by God, certain previously overindulged hotheads should have to suck it up as well.

If all is being done to open previously locked rooms, effective immediately, that should be satisfactory for the moment. In addition, the freshman rush will trickle down once this class learns that they will not be sent home for only putting in six hours as opposed to twenty. It’s already calmed significantly since the meeting last week, where practice room availability was discussed ad nauseum. There are actions being taken, but no swift solution.

But no, apparently it is Not Enough. Nothing can be done quickly enough to appease “the masses,” which, clearly, are breaking down the doors of Eastman to get rooms. That’s why students are rioting in the hallways and smashing pianos and screaming for more space.

Let’s be serious. Here, the music comes first. We’ve not all been previously privileged enough to assume that the practice rooms should clear when we stroll by. Most of us are musician enough and mature enough to sacrifice a little when it comes right down to it.

And let’s face it. Ten minutes in a day, to settle down, to sit down, to wait? Ten minutes to calm down and pause?

Too few of us take those moments. I’d suggest anyone really worked up about the issue to take a few and consider how much more effectively their time would be spent. Instead of complaining.

What a concept.

Life’s not ebbing away that quickly

I feel like I start off with “Well, this is it” really frequently.

So, I think I’ll mix it up.

Well, this isn’t it.

It’s my eighteenth birthday tomorrow. I’ve decided I just have to look forward to it. I won’t be sad or apprehensive. I just worry because birthdays only come once a year and I’m kind of a little kid about it. I like the little happy birthdays I get, I like the idea that for one day it’s like Christmas, just for me. It’s silly and childish (and selfish) but I adore the thought of a pink cake with rainbow sprinkles waiting at home where there’s popcorn and my sister and Nora Roberts and my mother’s cooking (and my mother, duh) and Criminal Minds on TV. That’s what coming home next weekend will be. So that’s kind of propelling me into birthday excitement from afar.

But you know, I’m getting pizza tomorrow, after all. It should be a good day. I’m not a hermit, so others are going with me, and we’ll hit up Cam’s for an hour or two and gorge ourselves on what I’ve heard is fantastic food.

But still. It’s my eighteenth birthday tomorrow, and although it could be “it,” I refuse to let it be. It’s not an end to an age (although literally, okay, it is). It’s a continuation of what seems to be a crazy-good time at an insanely interesting place. Seventeen was really cool, and I don’t like the number eight quite as much as seven, but that’s all right. I can deal. Instead of the fresh taste of adult existence just slipping closer, it’s right here and in front of my face. The hard brightness of independence is officially arriving and nothing I could do will stop it. It’s easiest just to let it wash over me, like the crash of the surf in Mexico. It is whether or not I’ll let it knock me on my ass and drag me around in the sand that’s the important thing.

It won’t knock me down. Change is eternal, and change is a balancing act. Just like the tides, it will ebb and flow and keep my world from running crookedly. Eighteen is just a single swift ripple that seems huge when it’s approaching, but by the time it’s crested I think I’ll have a better perspective on it. It might not be as intimidating as it first implies. Or, perhaps instead of looking imposing, if I run straight towards it, and dive through it, it could be a lot of fun.

I don’t know. I just hope tomorrow will be a really good time and a promising, exciting, vibrant start to another year. If it’s anything like this T-Rex I edited earlier today, it will be a freakin’ sicknasty-great year.

Yeah, I whitened his teeth. Jealousy accepted, since we all want that dashing grin.

Here’s a criminal mind… mine

I have discovered why I have been so unhappy lately. Why my senior year of high school made me so miserable. Why there’s just this little spot of rot just above my heart that keeps eating away at me.

It’s because I’ve reached the point in my life where people expect a great deal of me. So it’s not only my own self pushing me, but I have to live with the idea of those I respect the most really counting on me. Counting on me to make the most of myself, to kick ass in college, to do so much with my life. To learn more than how to tie a string of eighth notes together.

In addition to that, I’m facing the stark reality that the dreams and hopes I’ve carried for so long might fall to the wayside. They might never happen. The best intentions could result in the worst circumstances. So many terrible things could happen and with the drop of a hat, my life’s course could change forever, take an angle I’d never considered before.

I’ve always considered myself lucky and blessed to have grown up in the environment I did. Last night I was trying to fall asleep and found myself thinking about Criminal Minds, and writing. I’ve been obsessed with the show lately (lately meaning, a few months on and off), and in my daydreaming (and actually dreaming) hours have found myself picturing scenarios, picturing an alter ego of myself acting and solving crimes. Getting inside the minds of the Seriously Screwed Up and figuring out how they tick.

My interest in psychoanalysis doesn't come from these guys, but the show adds fuel to the plot-generating fire

I realize there are only about eleven real profilers in the world, and don’t worry– I have no intention of switching careers right before Eastman. But I’ve always had a lingering fascination with the why of the human mind. What trigger in their past claimed their energy and turned it to murder? How did their parents’ relationship affect them, how have vital occasions in their life turned them into serial killers?

Mingled with my predilection to write, to tell a story, this appreciation and interest in psychoanalysis has led me to develop some pretty whacked out plotlines. Despite my glee at arriving at such atrociously exciting stories, though, I can’t help but think, in all seriousness, how do people do such horrible things to one another?

I tend to wonder about and picture every possible aspect of others’ lives in my spare time. We could be driving past a suburb and I wonder, who lives in that pretty house, and what are they hiding? What do they enjoy? Do they hate their job? Dog or cat people? I see two Canadians come into Tim Horton’s and I think, why are they traveling? What brings them to Gowanda? Do they come to Timmy Ho’s because it’s familiar or they want coffee or they need directions? Or potentially all three?

It’s a compulsion to be curious, I suppose. And with that compulsion comes certain darker thoughts, especially when I mix it with a healthy dose of serial killer research and my own life.

If someone had gotten into my house at night– which, I’ve discovered, would be pathetically easy– and killed my family, how would that affect the world? If I–or someone near me– snatched up that root beer bottle and smashed it over someone’s head, what would the consequences be? Would they be evadable? If there was a slasher in the backseat of the vehicle I always make sure to lock, how would I escape them? How would they try to kill me, what would their past look like if mapped out, to lead us both to that point?

Then it all circles back to, how do people do this to each other? What was the significant event that pushed that button: kill, hurt, maim, make suffer? How is it that beings who are predisposed to crave love, end up creating ruin? Is it in pursuit of love, of attention? How can it be rectified?

All this from the spinning mind of a soon-to-be music student. Maybe I should stick to eight notes.

Worrying away: the nonverbal power struggle between me, myself, and God

Self v. self. God's just chillin' somewhere waiting for me to figure it out, I guess

I’m a scaredy-cat. This is just how it is. I’m scared to admit my faith, scared to admit that I might (le gasp) not really be in charge of my existence, scared to think that the control I come to rely on so heavily might be merely a perception. Not real.

Basically I’m scared to admit that I’m a flawed human being that’s not in charge of my life.

This is the biggest thing for me to admit. It’s taken me quite a while to arrive at the admission, too: I’m a control freak. Not because I have a compulsion to lead the way: not at all. On the contrary, I simply don’t want to be seen as weak. I’ve grown up in an atmosphere of strong, confident, vital women. The core people in my life are primarily female, and are all incontrovertably strong in their own way.

I’ve been told, however, that I take after my grandmother, my mother’s mother. We both have the blond hair, love of food (she reins hers in, I don’t), and deeply seated need for peace. She suffered through two divorces and raised three children single-handedly while working full time in order to obtain her calm, her center of balance. So as much as she hated it, she stood her ground for her children. She refused to be run over by others. Now she’s happy.

Me? I’d just as soon give up than fight, but in addition to that Libra-esque desire for balance, I seem to have inherited the moral compass and backbone from my mother. A ruthless sense of justice and equality was bred into my blood; so I’m torn in two. While one half of my heart wants to lay down the sword (or whatever) and stop fighting, the other half will claim fairness. Will demand it, if it’s not given right away.

What to do when two warring halves of myself collide with the idea that I should give my life to God? My selfless and giving nature says, go for it. Just do it, and see where he will take you. You’ve already gotten so far, imagine how much you could grow with a little spoonful of faith. Or more.

The demanding and aggressive section of my brain would like to know what happens when God leaves me again. When he decides to test me again– which I’m positive will happen– and I’m left alone in the mental and emotional darkness that seems to fall on me whenever the glow near my heart fades and takes God’s presence with it. What then? Am I left to resume control until he takes charge again? Or should I lay down arms and be stampeded by whatever until God chooses to remember me once more?

The warrior and the peacemaker in me can’t decide.

Thoughts while sipping the first mugfull

 

I had a dream that I was sad. That I was left behind. That I was about to die.

The truth is, I am all of these things, however much I press it back into my subconscious during waking hours.

I literally just dragged myself out of bed and have a sip (okay, gulp) and a half of caffeine in my system. I’m still under the last haze of dreaming. But as my mind starts its slow shift back to the waking world, I begin to realize that I’ve stopped analyzing myself lately. Usually I’ll use my blog and journal-like writing to accomplish that. But I haven’t been doing it. I’ve been working, and when I’m not, I’m practicing. (Or swimming… or anything else in a countless realm of things that do not include blogging.)

So I haven’t spent much time reflecting on my own personal balance (yes, Libra reference there). It screws with my anxiety levels when I’m not fully aware of my own mind and emotions.

But now (thanks, dreamland) I know: I’m sad. I’m worried about being forgotten and discarded. And I’m alarmed by the reality that I’m getting older– and even that doesn’t matter because, really, any second could be my last.

My older blog talked a great deal about death. I discussed in great detail how I felt about life and trying to exist and make the most of it. Circumstances that had nothing to do with me ended up having the greatest effect on my views regarding death. I still believe that living all-out is the way to be… the way to go.

But now that I spend most of my time employed, at a job that’s pretty great if you need a job, but not where I want to be for the rest of my life, I have been thinking. What about people that have sucky jobs, that pay like crap? How do they stay happy? Sacrifice time with their friends and family in order to make more?

I figure now that you have to pay for time. It costs money to take your friends out to eat; it costs money to go shopping with your mother; it costs money to go to college. Does it equal out: the happiness versus the time lost to make the happiness possible?

I don’t know yet. I imagine when my cup(s) of coffee has(have) been emptied I’ll say the pleasant times are worth giving up so many hours in order to provide them. This is yet another concrete reason why I know I need to end up with a job I love. A job I live and breathe.

But speaking of work, I have to stop doing this and start getting ready. So, thank you for choosing Tim Horton’s, and have a great day.