Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Things I Hate: The Apology

Yes, yes. Hate is a strong word, but really, there are some things out there I hate (not people, just things–that's a lie there's a very short list of people too, but never mind that). One of these, is stupid people. I am constantly overwhelmed by the stupidity of other humanoids. But another thing I hate, is lying/not following through/breaking promises/falling down on the job/not taking responsibility/blowing people off. I get it, it happens to all of us sometimes (god only knows), but thee are people who consistently say one thing and don't come through, and THAT, I hate. I was always raised to think that saying you were sorry meant you would change said behavior that you had to apologize for. Consequently, I'm a little mind-boggled by people apologizing for things and then doing them later. If you apologized, you recognize it's wrong and avoid it. This does not seem to me a particularly challenging concept. This does not appear to be the case for the rest of society. Because sorry actually means you will alter the behavior, my family doesn't apologize a whole heck of a lot. SOmetimes people complain that I don't apologize enough, but, quite frankly, unless I truly plan to avoid doing something again, I don't apologize; so, no, you won't hear it a lot. On the other hand, it means when I say it, I actually mean it. Now there's a whole other realm of apology which is the one-sided, fake apology. This is the "I'm sorry x happened to you," rather than the "I'm sorry I did y," when both parties are totally aware that the repercussion x was completely a reaction to the action y. I do appreciate people that avoid these, even though I'm sure I occasionally commit them. In general, say what you mean and if you don't mean it don't bother. It's disrespectful and not super trustworthy; not really qualities anyone looks for in others. I guess my point is that I wish people spent a lot more time saying what they mean instead of what they know they're supposed to say. Be genuine, for better or worse.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Dry Your Tears

Crying, to me, is a very odd phenomenon. For much of my life the only things that could make me cry were fights with my parents, pain, or myself. I never understood this wishy-washy crying at weddings, or sad television shows, or depressing commercials from charity groups looking for donations. Until about a year ago, I had to be angry to cry. And then, (DEEP DARK SECRET SPOILER ALERT) I started watching The Biggest Loser. Without fail, an episode of The Biggest Loser will make me cry. Now, the whole Biggest Loser business was probably a lot less important than the coinciding realization that for the first time in my life someone I was in love with was slipping away from me. I have thought I was in love at least three times (though only with two people), but in the last year I've realized I was only ever really in love once (I suppose that's really the deep dark secret, and anyone who knows me knows who but probably not when). Being in love (and, more importantly, knowing it) made me feel things. I would assert that it is because at some point while one is falling in love, one must realize that they do not decide the fate of that transaction. Somehow placing your heart and your happiness in the hands of someone else is terrifically empowering to let you feel.
I suppose I started musing about this because, at Fran's memorial last weekend, I cried. I'm sure normal people are sitting here going "well, yeah, of course you cried, it was a funeral," but that isn't how I work. Perhaps only two or three of my friends have ever seen me cry and if they have probably only once or twice. I'm not quite sure yet how I feel about this new phenomenon because on one hand I feel weak and on another I feel more compassionate. Then I realized that's exactly how being in love feels. You're weaker, and you have less control, but you are given an incredible ability to care for someone else. It's a little different than just loving a friend of a family member; yes, I'd probably take a bullet for those people, but for different reasons. I'm friends with who I chose, and my family, though not choosable, I get to select who I am close to. Who I'm in love with, though, that falls in the hands of the cosmos, and karma, and fate. Being in love is also intriguing in that I don't think it has a prerequisite of being completely mutual. I doubt you can be in love with someone who never has and will never be in love with you, but I don't think two people are necessarily always in love with each other at the same time.
Anyway, I cry now (mostly when my grandmother does ridiculous, radical things like say she wishes Fran were reading at her memorial; selfish of not, I'm 17 and it would be a lot harder for me to live without one of my best friends than for a one year old to live without someone she's never know and won't miss surrounded by an undeniable amount of love from people who step up to fill the void).

Get Well Soon

I permanently operate under the assumption that I do not get sick; I mean I do NOT get sick, ever. Quite frankly, this is far from valid, I'm probably sick just as much as the next person, but mysteriously the thinking you aren't helps a lot. It seems to be something of an old wive's tale that one can think their way healthy, but it genuinely works for me. I wake up congested with a sore throat and promptly decide that I am not sick. Within a few hours I feel fine and it doesn't resurface. However, since this tends to work so well, on the rare occasion that I do get truly sick (once every few years), I'm insanely reluctant to accept or address it. For example, I am currently completely convinced that I'm having a weird seasonalish allergic reaction to something in my house (I just visited from college for five days for Thanksgiving). Unfortunately, my thinking I'm fine isn't getting me as far as it usually does. I've felt under the weather for four days and been back at school for one. Cognitively, I'm aware that I probably have a cold, but I will persistently continue to not accept that reality. I have allergies. That is all. Deal with it. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving Adventures

I've decided you can't come home from college for more than three days and less than two weeks. You get back into the relaxed groove of home and just as you're starting to love it again, you go back to the monotonous, rumble-tumble, no-sleep, neither here nor there life which is college. About 99 percent of me desperately just wants to crawl into my own bed again tonight and sleep till the ends of eternity, the other one percent, though, wants to get back as soon as I can to get the next 19 days done as soon as I can so I can have that break.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Perch

So there's this fabulous little student-run coffee shop on the bottom floor of my dorm called the Perch. It is open from eight in the evening till two in the morning every day. This was a super good scheduling call on the part of the Perch people. I have had many a deep conversation at college, but, without a doubt, about 80 percent of them have taken place late at night in the Perch when I probably should have been doing homework. The other day I was talking to a friend who wants to be involved in politics about the policy changes I would need to see from him to sign on as a campaign manager or press coordinator and it just sort of struck me: in 15 or 20 years, how many people will be looking back on nights spent in the Perch (or other little places people have found at college) thinking that that is where it all began. How many beginnings of great ideas am I surrounded by when I sip the hot cocoa of the Gods at one on a Tuesday night (Wednesday morning?). People talk about how if you were in Silicon Valley at the right time you were surrounded by innumerable genius minds coming up with ideas that would shape the future, but how many of us are really going to get a chance to be a part of something like that. I think that at American, in DC, right now, we may be part of something, or maybe that's just my naivete talking. Maybe I'm just still young enough to think anyone can actually have a meaningful impact on the course of the world.

Drunken Spectacles

There is literally a period from 12 to 3 on weekend nights when I go out to roam the halls just to check out all the amusing things the drunk people are doing. Highlights: getting told it was super hot that I was having sex in the shower (this did not actually happen despite intoxicated individuals thinking it did), getting begged at, "don't hate me," by my class president's girlfriend, getting half-tackled by a boy who, earlier in the night, dove on a beer pong table and spent the rest of the night covered in beer, and hearing my very straight-edge RA yell "I swear to God, I'm going to kick his ass," at one of the few sober people on the floor (albeit, he's annoying sober or drunk).
Also, one of my friends is sleeping on my extraneous mattress because he has been sexiled, and, just before we went to sleep he lept up and ran to the bathroom to "get there before it got thrown up all over." This was probably a good call on his part, but only time will tell.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Untitled but Remembered

I can remember my grandma telling me, somewhat jokingly, when I was little that she knew she was old when her friends started to die. She told me that, one day, I would feel that, too. But I doubt she had my seventeen-year-old self in mind. Yet, I have only experienced the loss of one person my age. That was hard, but somehow, losing people who I am close to who are also much closer to an age at which it is appropriate to die, has been astronomically harder. Perhaps it is because those who we expect to die soon we have much longer periods to accumulate sadness for than those who die suddenly. Two people I have dearly respected have died in the last six months, one of whom I considered almost a grandmother and one of whom I considered a hero. Mortality has never troubled me greatly; I'm not worried about souls or people being forgotten, but I am worried about making sure the people who didn't get to know these women know what they did. My surrogate grandmother died at five this morning and my grandmother, mother, and I have been charged with finishing her present to her newborn granddaughter. We are building a dollhouse, because Meredith needs to know her grandmother and know how much she was loved.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Self-Image Project


video

This is a project recently assigned for my Visual Literacy class. We had to make a compilation of images about us. Our professor said he was always surprised by how revealing they were. So, this is me. And a lot of it is insanely personal, but there's no reason anyone but me would understand any of it. Also, this is perhaps my favorite song ever (it happens to be by Girlyman, Ty wrote it).

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Art of Seduction

In general, I would assert that throwing one's self on another human is kind of, lets face it, trashy. Recently, I have been confronted with one particular man that seems to get people throwing themselves at him all the time, I may even be a tad guilty (though, to clarify, I'm distinctly uninterested). I've met three such guys in my life, at least that I know of, that are great, but in no way, physically or otherwise, completely irresistible (I feel I can say this because I have had a crush on all of them at some point). I never fail to be baffled by these seemingly ordinary men constantly having the attractions of an obscene number of women. One I have dated and two have been best friends. Two are also bisexual. All of these things continue to puzzle me. At any rate, one of them I've been spending a lot of time getting to know recently, and he has now been dubbed an "accidental man-whore" because of all the girls he has circling around him. What I find especially fascinating about these guys it that they rarely seem to recognize that their experiences are, in any way, not normative. So, the men are intriguing, but the women command equal intrigue. When one knows a guy is, for lack of a better term, a man-whore, why would one continue to pursue them? Why is it that we find so attractive something that will, inevitably, cheat on us or break our hearts in some other manner? 

Grace

One of my friends just mentioned how she liked that my blog had this title because, even though it is thoroughly unrelated, Grace also happens to be my best friend's name. This got me to thinking about one of my long standing life philosophies which I thought I'd better share. Another best friend told me many years ago that he had always thought that the person you were supposed to end up with, life would give you a lot of chances to find. Now, I am not remotely traditionally religious, but I consider myself very spiritual, and I am still toying with my personal beliefs about fate, but I truly like and believe that statement. The world will give you as many chances as you need to get things right even if it isn't how you initially planned them. While this was referring to love, I find it has quite broad applications. Grace, for instance, came up in these to scenarios. I also have a particular affinity for the number 17 or 7 specifically. It makes it a lot easier to take full advantage of the world around you knowing that there will always be more opportunities.  

Pit Bulls

I will say upfront that I'm fuming as I write this, but rather than start a shouting match it seemed appropriate to complain to the readers of the blogosphere. I don't understand why people are voluntarily mean-spirited without any provocation.

I have returned since I originally wrote those first few sentences now that I am less angry. Basically, my mom made a Facebook status about how it's sad that people don't adopt pit bulls and think they're vicious when really that mostly comes down to the way they are trained. So then this lady, comments that her husband is a doctor and they see so many pit bull bites and that the dogs deserve all the scrutiny they get. While it may be true in some places that pit bulls cause a lot of bites (locally, it is not), that wasn't the point of the post. So I commented that I the spirit of the original post was good-spirited and she should just let it be, at which point this individual commented again about how much damage pit bulls do and how mean they are. I have met plenty nice pit bulls, and I have come across some mean ones. That isn't the point. The point is that my mom made the post to be nice and bring up an issue. It doesn't matter if you disagree, what on earth would inspire someone to be that rude and mean-spirited, especially on Facebook. If I see a post, unless it is truly offensive (it which case it is probably a better idea to message the poster and let them know it may not be appropriate), that I disagree with I just ignore it. I don't understand why anyone would go out of their way to make the poster feel bad for trying to make a nice comment.

Anyways, I was troubled.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Poverty Project

In US Society a few days ago, we were talking about the social construction of poverty. Now, that's interesting but not a huge shocker to me. What was a shocker was this simulation, playspent.org. It makes you make financial decisions for a single mom and child for a month and kicks you out of the game if you run out of money. You have to talk a month. The game lasts about fifteen minutes and is insanely stressful. Don't feel bad, everyone kills the dog.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Girlyman

My journey with Girlyman started a little over four years ago, on the eve of my first day of high school, when I heard them open for the Indigo Girls at Wolftrap. Now, I was pretty unenthused for this concert to begin with as we were going with my ex-aunt, who I severely dislike. I got into a few of Girlyman's songs for at least their duration, but I think the experience was overwhelmingly eclipsed by my general indifference to the title act and a reasonable amount of anxiety about the day to come. I never thought to think about how deeply I had emotionally connected with the music (a point which is now critical for my appreciation of an artist or song). At any rate, at least six months later I still had this song, "Reva Thereafter," stuck in my head. I could remember the chorus, that the guy had sung it, and that it was about his grandma. I couldn't forget this song, and so the quest began. I told my mom I wanted the album with "Reva" on it. Low and behold, my mom gave me Joyful Sign, for Christmas. Thus marks our true anniversary. Since then, I have seen the band live three times (one of which was a few hours ago), and own all but one of their albums (and, yes, I pre-ordered the upcoming one, Supernova). On another note, music has always spoken deeply to me. I can't help but sing along at the top of my lungs anytime something I know is on and dance like I ought to be institutionalized. I have also played violin for nine years. There is, of couse, some specific music that has always particularly appealed to me. Probably fostered by my parents playing Tracy Chapman and Mark Chapin Carpenter, acoustic and folk sounds have always been a soft spot. Anyway, I love Girlyman's sound, rapport, and message. At first I just loved the songs, and then I came to realize that I lived all the songs. In my 17 years I have managed to be in two incredibly serious relationships (one two and half years and one at least that though probably closer to four) and I have gotten to feel all the pain of a 13 year old in love. Girlyman speaks to me in this. It has also informed an incredible amount of my transition from an awkward teenager to self-confidant young adult. Girlyman is about anything and everything, it is about life and living, loving and laughing. So I feel this odd bond to these three (well, four now) people who have taught me so much of who I am but who I have only exchanged a maximum of 100 words with ever. Last year, on November 19, I saw Girlyman perform at the Barns at Wolftrap. Nate, Ty, and JJ were joking about how Dorris had gotten sick on their UK tour and was refusing to let go of her last piece of Britain. About ten days later, Dorris was diagnosed with leukemia. Well, tonight, November 3, I saw Girlyman at the Brans at Wolftrap. Dorris is officially cancer-free. So not only have these people changed my life, I have also been a part of this incredible journey for them, if only through passionately singing along to their music literally everyday driving to and from school. I don't know that I, personally, would have survived high school remotely as intact if I hadn't had that outlet for happiness, sadness, anger, and everything in between. It's remarkable that I will cry with these people I don't know just as soon as I would laugh with them. Somehow, something is communicated through those harmonies that is deeper than a long friendship and more unbreakable than blood. The really sad part is, that connection, it only goes one way.