Wednesday, March 31, 2010

lowercase thoughts

because this blog comes up on google, i can't really name names unless i say something positive, which is upsetting because i think a lot of negative things, but whatever, it's probably better this way, because the more i say negative things, the more people think negative things about you, and to be honest, when i feel negative things, it's really more of a reflection of the negativity i feel around whatever the object of my negativity is. when someone makes me feel stupid, or makes me feel uprooted, naturally, i feel negatively toward them even if they are the best person in the world and they are just being honest.

i am a stupid person, when it comes to certain acts of tact or levels of prudence or this specific habit i have of snatching things, and interrupting people or saying how i feel out loud when no one cares, or standing right in someone's way,  i fail miserably at life, and no one can really respond in any way but ignoring it or saying something like "aarushi, get out of the way," that's when i know that i've done something stupid, and then it's awkward because i should just stop or apologize. usually just stopping is the path of least resistance. it's at these times, i wish i were quieter and less obtrusive.

a weird thing is jealousy. the more you act on jealousy, the more you have a reason to be jealous. i've tried to stop being a jealous person, because it gets you nowhere in life. as far as envy goes, i do that even less, because i actually like being myself, because i think that it's the only way i can really function. i am a person who is empathetic, i am a person who likes to learn, i am a person who cries at something legitimately moving like that one sequence in "Up," and gets too excited when something musically poetic happens. 

something weird about relationships is that in order for a relationship to work, you have to be able to work without the relationship. or at least, this is my opinion. you shouldn't be half a person when the person you're with is not around. a relationship is legit when it is the meeting of two minds who support each other, not two halves of one mind.

about politics. it's complicated, i don't like writing people off, and so i don't want to write off obama. i think he's doing good things, and compromising to get things done. i know that makes him unpopular, but better that he be willing to get a little unpopular to push forward change. i don't agree with each and everything he does in my idealism, but i trust that he has a good idea of what's right.  i don't normally write about politics, because i feel like i have no right to waste the internetspace with my musings about bipartisanship, etc, etc.

maybe i don't want to be a scientist? i love the idea of science, i love the feeling of satisfying a question, finding answers. but i want to answer specific questions, so that they may be enacted in reforms to the world. this semester, not taking an international studies course, i often forget that feeling of justice or injustice that comes with knowing about the bottom billion and the ways that education can build a better world. when i reported on that story for the simpson street free press last summer, about julie bolles and her time in afghanistan building schools, that's when i knew that i didn't want to be the journalist who wrote about these magical changes that mobilized previously frozen populations of oppressed people, but the peacemaker who brought about the change. it's crazy, though, i don't know if i can ever be that person. i feel i have the capacity, but knowing that and doing something about it are two different things.

so as for science, i'd want to use it to fix the problems of disease running rampant through populations of the poor and the uneducated, the forgotten. i would not use it so i could work in an office all day and see patients who are otherwise fine, besides the fact that they need a foot x-ray because they sprained their ankle biking. these people are deserving, don't get me wrong. but that's not what i'm passionate about.

i gotta know the science to do what i want, but to what extent, i wonder? should i go to med school and be a doctor sans frontieres ? or should i get trained in political science? should i become fluent in french? or would it be smarter to become fluent in hindi because i can understand it already?

too many life questions.  i'll be 19 tomorrow.

time it was, oh what a time it was

I've been feeling pretty rebellious lately. I've been wanting to do things that I shouldn't do, and have been parading around my right to do them because I can.

Some examples:
-I can make people who don't know each other very well hang out with each other and like each other.

-I talk about my menstrual cycle, and whatever dudes, everyone who's not a guy's got one or will have one. I'm in Human Sexuality Class. It's a fact of life. A fact that creates life. Or doesn't.

-I stay up late. I do what I want!

-I stop making this list.... I diverge from the beaten path.

I just realize that as an adult, I have rights to my time, rights to what I want to do with it; I realize that I don't ever want to get stuck doing something I don't love in some place I don't love because of what's expected from me. I've watched enough people settle to know that I don't want to.

Things that make me feel good:
 -knowing things (probably number one most happy-making thing. i like feeling informed, i like having enough know-how to be able to interpret events, i like understanding people and things and making them surprised at my insight)

-making people mix CDs that they like (i waste about 30% of my time assembling music into an accessible arrangement or hearing things and finding out what they are when I'm in the mall, when I watch a commercial, if I hear it on NPR, etc)

-when i'm not sore, when the weather is nice, i like doing physical things-- walking up a lot of stairs, going for long walks, running to class, with iPod in ears

-giving people I like a hard time

-having people like Gina and Fangfei who always support me

-my band whose genre I will never be able to really explain

-wasting time psychoanalyzing people

-reading other people's blogs; we're all little authors of our own prose

-watching CNN, they're like one of the only things I trust for news/ also, watching Christiane Amanpour podcasts on the treadmill, listening to This American Life at work (an idea I totally ripped from Becca who is an expert on the Teapot Dome Scandal)

-catching up on reading-- a load off and in my mind at the same time

-feeling beautiful in my own skin

-banter, talking to my friends, making friends, talking to Suvai, Crystal, Becca-- people who I've realized will always like me no matter how long it's been since we've talked last

-singing songs that I like to sing, reveling in how awesome a song is, dancing with myself in the car

-when I'm alone at home and get to jam with myself on the piano and not be shy about it at all because no one will listen/judge

-editing articles at SSFP; I get so much smarter from reading people's articles, and I get to hang out with some really intelligent, really funny kids

-making phytagel at the Gilroy Lab (it's actually a very calming task for some reason) and pouring plates

-Ugly Betty-- for some reason, I just always identify with what's going on. Being true to yourself? Pursuing your passion? Not giving it up for anything? Caring about your family? These are all values that I can subscribe to-- a formula that will never get old. This show just does a really good job of keeping a sense of humor, keeping a sense of reality, making people beautiful but flawed, ugly but incredibly attractive-- in short, displaying the contradictions inherent in people.

-watching Greek with Jason

-stretching out in a warm bed.

-watching TV with my parents who are somehow becoming more like me as I become more like them, having a dad who will always remind me of where I came from, who I used to be, and what's good about me,  and a mother who always makes sure that I've eaten, that I'm warm, and is really non-judgmental about my life choices

I don't think we're meant to stay here very long

People I miss right now:
Becca, Crystal, Suvai, my sister, my old self, countless others that I'm too embarrassed to mention

Times I miss: I always want to go back and miss a time that was easy and then I realize that it was never all that easy to be me. Or at least, it's never been as easy as now. I do miss the time when I lacked inhibition and didn't question myself as much, when back then I probably should have.

Sometimes I feel like I need to break away from where I am and the people I know, but for some reason, though my social feelings are always shifting, though the people around me change, though I learn so much, I sometimes just want to move away, to a new world. Maybe I'm naturally nomadic.

I get tired of sneaky society

It's now more than ever that I want to run away somewhere where no one knows me. I hate analyzing things to a greater extent than I want to, but I feel that it's the way my mind works, and thus, I suck dry the lands where I stay until they change. Maybe I only get this way when it's a school break and I have too much time to think to myself.

I think that I could solve it all by writing a song like this one. (This link is that song without the remix-y effects but only watch the first 5 minutes.)

So I did a google search :"Disappear," because I think for some reason it seems like such a nice idea to disappear away from people, from expectations, whatever. I found a lot of stuff about how to disappear-- some about disappearing form where you live and being untraceable, a few kooks trying to say that it's our right to be able to disappear, some suspicious step-by-steps on how to disappear without people noticing, a very interesting Wiki article about Forced Disappearance (they are killed or abducted by an agency but no one finds out) that made me think of Witness Protection (a branch of the world that honestly gives me the heebie-jeebies), as well as providing discussion about using the word "disappeared" as an intransitive by saying "someone was disappeared," to mean that they were forced to disappear... but really the whole thing is rather bothersome.

People always go to extremes. To end on a rambly note.

Monday, March 29, 2010

and everyone inside the mechanism is yearning to get out

I've been realizing now more than ever that I have too many thoughts that are too candid for the internet, for a blog, even one that no one reads. So I started buying some notebooks... but I'm still too afraid to write in them. I want to name names, I want to confide things into a notebook that I never confide to anyone, and I want to make lists that are inside jokes with myself.

I have this thing where I suppress my thoughts and only letting them out in the form of abstraction, talking around the point, or the worst: accidentally dropping hints as to how I'm feeling by way of conversation patterns or secret actions that I can talk myself around and out of.

It's kind of dishonest in a way, because many things I think and feel cannot be admitted to myself except in the form of some kind of whimsical joke or "hypothetical harmless pondering." Because when you say something out loud or write it down, it gets filtered into the universe for anyone to pick up on and mess with and distort. I firmly believe that most of what we think or even do should not be spoken aloud just so it doesn't end up in some biography later on giving a truly false picture of the person in question.

And more than that-- I have this image of myself that I like to preserve in my mind so that I can believe that I am the person that I want myself to be.

Sometimes, I just don't want to admit to being vulnerable-- to having emotions that are just straight up intangible. So, I just pretend they don't exist, which is how I bet most people deal with it.  Unlike most people though, I'm normally unable to put these out of my head. So I'm doomed to endless doublethink and waiting for things to become irrelevant so I can rest my thoughts.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

it's so beautiful, our lunacy

ahhh, repose.

after a long day (or thirty) of painstaking work, worries and woe, it is nice to put your feet up and relax so that you can reconnect with your roots... radicals, rebellion, randomized playlists, rest, radio, revelation and reading. maybe discovering, discerning, decadence and delirium? or maybe loneliness, lingering and life planning. in any case it is temporal time, to be tempered with whatever tests i decide to try it with.

in any case, i'm going to fill the days of spring break with the things that i long for in my day-to-day grind, meaning that i will spend the majority of the time just reading for recreation, a little volunteering, bathing, and doing one or more creative thing in a day.

Monday, March 22, 2010

grow up where you're planted?

Why does it scare us that things don't always last forever? Why do I pity those who are alone in their lives? But then, why do I wish for independence?

I guess I've been scared of one thing forever, and it's being defined. I never revel in any one definition of myself. I want to be seen as smart, but not just a smart girl and as hip, but not one-dimensionally so. I want to be beautiful, but not in a flimsy disposable way. I don't want to be seen as the person who needs others or the person who shuns the world. I feel totally uncomfortable around people who don't know me that well, because I know that they either see one part of me or another. Without this understanding of who I am, they're left to guess what kind of person I am. Meanwhile, I wonder if who I am is something I even want to try to define.

I was on top of the world last night, but today I feel there is higher to go.  I want to shoot upwards quickly like an arabidopsis plant, but I know that I can't grow this way without suffering a little. When you take the plant out of the fridge and the gel and put it in the soil, you very well may damage the roots. The seed is stressed out in the growth chamber for a while, but then it eventually recovers and resettles its roots, after a couple days of being covered and watered. But I fear so much the pain of having my surroundings shaken that I cling to the plate and the gel. I know though, that I'll eventually outgrow the plate and if never put into soil, I could just wither away and dry out.

However, it's not just a question of my pain. It's also the pain of the other seeds planted next to me right in the gel. As I am lifted off the plate, I am lifted away from the others, and maybe their roots will get ripped as a consequence of our entanglement-- it can happen when you leave a plate growing for too long. Does changing your life always have to change the lives of others? Is it better in the long run?

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Having deep conversations with people

It's a great pastime to share your thoughts with a group of people, to debate, to question your beliefs, and to argue them from many sides, but it often leaves me feeling sad.

Seeing that things aren't simple as they were when I was a child breaks my heart whenever I'm forced to deal with this stark reality.

It starts with realizing that all facts are filtered through the mind of whosoever saw them and reported them. All accounts of reality are only as strong as the degree of trust between people. Give someone a survey, and they could lie. Ask someone what happened and they could forget or exaggerate. Whatever we know could have been biased or false or tampered with. Most people who speak up about issues are the people who hold extreme viewpoints, and almost everything that's worth reading is biased in some way--it's probably impossible to say that something isn't biased in some way. But yet, we still pick up the newspaper or watch the news and believe it for the most part. We believe books we read because we believe in the system that prizes the truth. However, little things are so small that they could be fabricated. How many little things add to a large miscalculation?

From examining this, we find that there is no truth that can't be debated. One can always question the motives of someone else.

However, there is also our truth, our personal truth, what is correct for us, what we see as reality. Were we in love? There is no truly objective answer. Was it right? Are we right? My parents did this thing and so did everyone else I know. If I grew up in a culture where it was okay to hurt others, would I think it was right? People do things under the assumption that their beliefs are wholly true. So, how do you tell them they're wrong without doing it by force? And how do you know that you're right?

I'm a proponent of optimism and idealism. We need hope because only with hope can you proceed forward, and you need ideals to strive for, otherwise there is no direction.  But you can't forget the reality of the world you live in, you can't set policy solely on idealism. Instead, gradual changes must be made in the system to deal with our problems and grievances in better way.

The worst thing about discussion is that you can define the problem relatively simply, but generalizing about humankind is hard, and trying to say how something should be done is not the same as saying if people would agree and putting it into action. And what is the best way to go about something?

Sometimes I think it would be best if it was a dictatorship, but it would be run by someone with great morals, someone with a keen understanding of the world, someone who wasn't all one thing. But this person will never be the person everyone is okay with, and this person could change and become someone who isn't this person. One person can't know or do everything. And this person would be hated and love simultaneously.

But the thing is, you can't wait for the perfect system to arise. There needs to be some action for anything to happen. Redundant? Yes. But you'd be surprised at how little is done for fear of how naysayers will react.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Urban Sprawl Like Me

 I've been thinking lately, much under the influence of my Geography 339 Environmental Conservation class, about the history that has brought America to this point. Our ancestors (or more aptly, the ancestors of people who did not emigrate here in the last generation as my family has) have gone through a few crazy phases in which they had this desire to chart out the wilderness, to conquer it, and then not to conquer it, and then to use it, then not to use it, and to keep it safe by spraying it with pesticides, and then to not spray it because the pesticides killed what was beautiful, and then to sprawl to live in it, only to destroy it with cars, with overuse, with pavement.

Our relationship with the environment is just like any other. It's an issue of balance, of using but not abusing, not of needless reverence, but of respect. We can have fun with the environment, we can play with it, we should hang out with it, and we shouldn't smother it with our violent love.

In gaining this new perspective, I've come to examine the great problems with my life that I had dismissed as the way things are. It was easy in my old living arrangement. When I lived in Fitchburg, I lived right next to my middle school and elementary school, my daycare was biking distance as were most of my friends.

Things got worse when I had to go to high school in a different district to accomodate a move to the area just between Madison, Fitchburg and Verona, kind of in the country. While at the time, I suppose, my parents who were building their dream house-- the physical reflection of their hard earned hopes and dreams-- thought that this living arrangement would give us peace of mind, I soon realized that it was very far away from my school; my mother commuted downtown each day (a 20 minute drive) and my father drove (35 minutes) to Stoughton everyday. It was little consolation to me that it was mostly highway/country road driving, when I was at school as late as 9:00 waiting for my working parents to pick me up, unable to take the bus because the city didn't send buses to my house save two school buses.
As I became more conscious of environmental concerns, I came to see the error in this arrangement. Not only did I feel like a leper, living amid nature and beauty, while it bore the costs of our inhabitation, but also, I felt guilty when I had to go anywhere. How could I cope? My whole life was accessible only by car across ten minutes of country road.

When I got a car and a license, the feeling of freedom was unbeatable. It was the sense of freedom I had always desired, not having to rely on someone else to get somewhere. But with the car, came the anxiety that comes with diminishing fuel tanks, and driving a 1999 model Lexus with one person in it.

We are the definition of sprawl and bad infrastructure. Living on campus, I see the immediate improvement. The farthest place I have to walk is a twenty minute slow walk, and the buses are abundant. I can survive without the aid of anything big, except a few textbooks. My legs are my vehicle. Living this way makes me reject the concept of a dream home. Honestly, it's never really appealed to me. For me, my dream home stole me out of my school district, away from my friends. It always gets dirty, requiring constant upkeep. Though sunny and spacious and "environmentally designed," it still kept me away from it all. It felt like there was green space and parks, but no one went to them, no one wanted to sit in nature away from it all.

I found that my friends in closer neighborhoods, who lived among each other, as well as green places went to their parks more, and then they went to the library, and then they biked downtown because they could. They had everything in their backyard, their friends, their library, their school, just like I had once and they took the 10 minute walks and experienced it. While I didn't venture out because there was nothing there for me.  I'd look in my backyard and see a wide empty golf course that we technically weren't allowed to walk on, and an endless stretch of road that if I took a good 3 and a half hours to walk along (I would create a nice thick desire line), I could go to Target by the time it got dark.

The worst thing was that I never rode my bike anymore because I had no place to bike to. The terrain in my neighborhood, with its hills and patchy sidewalk, was quickly my enemy.

With a true love of mine, I drove to West High School (the western equivalent of my high school) and decided that it was entirely not fair that their school was surrounded by trees reddened by autumn.  I felt surely that this must be the only way to live, amid nature, where the roads were more like paths, and nature was not just gardening but a pervasive element of the architecture itself. I felt that if I had lived in this neighborhood, my home would be a two minute walk, my friends would come over after school and I could run out for some flour if we decided we wanted to bake something spur of the moment.
My high school on the other hand was next to a mall, two busy roads and a bank.

So I've made the decision to get my bike fixed and bring it to campus. I want to rebuild my love for biking, in a city that I love. I want to be one of "those people." And when I get older, I want to live in a city, where I can walk to where I need to go, and I can go outside and lounge around without feeling like I'm in the middle of the wilderness.

Monday, March 01, 2010

The afternoon, you're out on the stone and grass, and I'm sleeping on the balcony after class.

Vampire Weekend, though more recent than some of my other musical interests, have now become a staple in my music library. I just like the idea of blending genres, making music that is foot-tappin' African-flavored upbeatness.

A huge problem for me as a songwriter or whatever, is that I don't know how to write a satisfying upbeat song. It always comes out wrong; it sounds like Britney Spears or like I'm orphan Annie or something, or too girly for it to be okay. I need to write a song for a woman that is driven by just the right amount of testosterone to be not a man. And I believe that I can do it. I just don't know how.