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Sunday, March 1, 2015

I am not legend

Transferring is scary.

I'm in my last semester at community college, I'm trying to snag two degrees and get into some of the more pricey and selective colleges available to me, and I'm moving out of my house this summer. Yikes.

But meanwhile, while I'm prepping for this, I'm doing a whole bunch of other stuff. I'm enrolled in five classes, I work 20 hours a week, I run a club and I'm planning a film festival for it, and I run a (usually) bi-weekly free-press, student run newspaper.

Sometimes I have a social life, too.

So, while looking at the work that's laid out in front of me, I was thinking at all those stories I used to hear growing up about immensely successful individuals who excel at everything by never sleeping and having tumultuous lives but seem really cool in print because their existences are epic romanticisms of pain and glory.

I really, really don't want that to be my life.

To clarify, I'm not comparing my successes in community college to the epic founding and content of say, McClure's Magazine (a prime example of pain and glory), but what I'm saying is that I'm very much self-conditioned to expect myself to hit that level of success very quickly and to do so by neglecting to take a break and, I don't know, eat something. Which is a bad idea, kiddos. Self care, first.

It's one thing to tell myself that I need to chill out, and that I'm doing fine. It's quite another to believe it.

I don't know where I'm going with this. There's some point to be made here about taking care of basic needs and being kind to yourself. I just liked my clever title. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

My theory on happiness

[Important note: this has nothing to do with my last post, although it seems like an appropriate follow-up]

I'm enrolled in a philosophy of happiness course-- admittedly my first philosophy course ever-- and I just read an intro, catch-all academic article on different philosophies discussed throughout the existence of mankind on what happiness is and what makes us happy.

I thought it would be painfully difficult to come up with an original theory for the philosophy of happiness (I'm sure it's not actually original and is related to other theories, but it comes from personal experience as opposed to me rewording another philosopher's idea), but I have an idea of what I think happiness is.

I once had a therapist (I've had many, but this one said something relevant to this discussion) who told me that one bad experience is worth several good experiences. I'm not sure if this is scientifically valid, or if I'm not remembering her correctly, but I remember that this idea was put into my head that I had to seek out positive experiences to balance out the negativity in my past, and therefore I could move forward and learn to trust people.

It's kind of a sad theory, but I think overall happiness is having a higher ratio of good experiences to bad experiences. Like 5:1 would be a good base ratio.

This is a horrible thought, but I think it may be accurate. And I think that's why I find it so important to treat people well (although I've failed in the past) and take care of my community.

Man that theory sucks.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

How you can tell you're lying to yourself

I've been going through bit of a rough patch.
I've been very angry lately, and it's been taking a toll. It's been taking a toll on me, and it's been taking a toll on the people I love.

Sometimes, when someone feels threatened or scared, they put up a facade, a false front, and they pretend that's who they are. Sometimes, you wear that front for so long that you start to believe it's you.

But that's when things start to become uncomfortable. You see yourself talking to people in a way you normally wouldn't, and your worldview begins to shudder in an abstract way; you can tell something is wrong, but you're not quite sure why everything seems distorted and time ceases flowing in the patterns you remember. It's a clear upset, but you're too busy holding the facade to notice the damage.

I realized recently I've been putting up a bit of a "tough front." I experienced some pains I wasn't ready for, and instead of taking them and reacting to them, I rejected them and held them off by charging forward like a bull. That's not the best way to handle it.

I've been playing myself off as being more aggressive than I actually am, and for a little while, I was determined just to blaze through this last semester at community college in the least social way possible. That's a bad idea, and if I want to move forward in my life in a constructive way, I can't hide in plain sight by setting my gaze to a glare and hoping everyone leaves me alone.

So, I'd like to make two statements about myself. One of them will seem silly, but it's important to me. The other is not silly, and it needs to be taken seriously.

So first off: I'm a huge softy, and I don't hate people. I say I hate people, all of the time, at least a few times a day, but that's a lie. I really do like and care about people, and denying this is likely a defense mechanism to keep from feeling hurt when someone uses my kindness and takes my compassion and plays it like a game. Or when I'm treated like dirt every shift by customers at work.

My second statement is huge, and it's going to require some linking to back it up, unfortunately. I identify as bisexual. This means I'm attracted to both men and women, as well as people who don't identify in the gender binary.

I have a feeling some people may read this and say "no, you're not. You're just confused. You've never even been with anyone before. How would you know?"

This argument has always seemed easy to unravel to me. If you're asking this question, you are assuming that the default sexuality for humans should be straight or heterosexual.

If you're looking for a great jumping off point to understand bisexuality, or proof that it exists (because bi-erasure is a problem) here is a great feature article on it from the New York Times.

Bean out.