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Thursday, March 19, 2015

A critical look at romance

Dictionary.com defines romance as I'm just kidding, but I had you going there for a second, didn't I? 

I meant to write that beginning as a joke, but defining romance as "I'm just kidding, but I had you going there for a second there, didn't I" sounds weirdly accurate from a cynical perspective.

I've been thinking about the idea of romance a lot, lately, and it's come to my attention that it's a rather vague idea and word. I'm not entirely sure what to do with it.

I can understand "romance" as an artistic and literary movement, and I get "romanticization" as a problem with a blurred and fuzzy perception of more serious things -- but romance, as it equates to relationships? -- forget it.

I suppose I could spin some hasty poems about "her face glistening like a dew drop on a rose" or "his voice singing my name like a chorus of morning doves" or "their fingers caressing my skin like soft waves on warm summer sand" but none of those things mean anything without context. Romance is an idea, and it's an idea presently defined by societal and cultural norms and by capitalist shit-posting about what products to pile on those we love. (and I'm pretty certain at this point that capitalism is just shit-posting ads at my generation because they're not entirely sure what makes us all tick)

So if products and words don't necessarily make romance -- what does? Is it affection? Holding someone or touching someone or kissing someone? Is it chivalry? (no it's definitely not chivalry get that crap out of my face)

A lot of sites I've browsed describe romance as a feeling -- an elation and a change in usual cognitive function or a deep love, but I feel as though all of these changes can exist and be described in ways other than romance. You can be in love with someone without romance, and you can experience elation without romance just from affection and intimacy alone, which I don't think necessarily play into this idea of romance.

Romance to me seems more like an illusion, a stained-glass reflection of the reality of feeling, whether it be love or just infatuation. I could be wrong.

I'm stumped, kids, and I'm trying to figure it out. What in the hell is romance supposed to be?

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.