Friday, April 30, 2010

Ooh, I'll be the one who'll break my heart

So yesterday, like any other day, in my life, in the past year, I was feeling disillusioned.

Disillusionment is a funny thing.

So I guess it starts with me generally not knowing who I wake up for in the morning, and then realizing, through an array of circumstances, that I should probably sublet this summer, get my own room, and be with myself for a while.

I had known that part for a pretty long time. Yesterday, I went on a really long walk. I don't know if it was really THAT long, as much as I had needed to get lost, and then find myself, so to speak. Ah, behold: my Henry David Thoreau moment. Bear with me.

It started with an admittedly mentally rough day at work: there was an issue with the seed for the bacteria transformants, and it was stressful. Because of the nature of research, it felt like it was all my fault. Aside from that, I've been questioning how capable I am to do anything; it feels like I've been just coasting through everything I do. So, naturally, like anyone, I ignored my feelings and listened to "This American Life" (the Pen Pal episode) and "Stuff You Should Know" (How Desertification works, Are there people who can't feel pain?, How Braille Works). Unfortunately, I'm super good at making connections between things I hear on TV or the radio and my real life, and thus, I started feeling upset again.

After work, I went to Becca's dorm; it was a pretty blissful walk aside from the way I felt. The sun was bellowing down and I was listening to my iPod and sweating, and pretending to be in a movie scene while walking among the high elevation buildings and hills that are along the road that leads to her door. Becca and I sat outside and had a contemplative discussion about what we're both looking for in life. How I want a Ron to my Hermione rather than an Edward to my Bella or a Harry to my Ginny. I'm not really a mushy person.

It's nice when we can do that. Sometimes I feel like my friends and I just get into a routine and don't stop to think with each other. The more I can talk to my friends about the way I really feel, the more I feel connected to them, the more I feel like I'm not a robot. So it goes.

Then, I went on this walk, which was motivated by a desire to be alone. On campus, the majority of the time, I get done with my day and don't know where I should go. Should I go to Jason's welcoming apartment, where I can lounge and pretend to do my homework? Should I go to Rheta's (the eating establishment in my dorm) where I can eat and socialize and pretend to do homework? Should I go to the Paul Bunyan room where I will definitely get some work done... or should I go to my dorm? Or worse, the basement of my dorm where no one can talk? It's kind of a problem trying to find a place to be alone on campus, because in most places there are people all around you who you kind of know or know well, or have seen several times but don't talk to. So then you're not really alone with yourself, you're alone in the situation. Sometimes, that borders on making you feel lonely.

In college, it's hard to see yourself outside of everyone else, and it's hard to find a good place to have a good cry, something I wanted yesterday but didn't get. I walked and walked and walked and walked. It only took me 10 minutes to find myself in a place I didn't recognize. But it wasn't far; I was just looking at the campus from an angle I hadn't known before. I walked all the way off-campus to where Panera Bread is on University Avenue. That's a distance of around 5 miles from my dorm on winding terrain and it took me about an hour and 15 minutes. The whole time I kept having an inkling that I might run into someone I know. Halfway through my mother called me and I told her that I'm subletting; she was a little sad but generally okay with it.

Every time I would want to run into someone I know, a part of me banished the thought. It made me really mad that I always thought this way. Why did I have to spend time I was alone hoping to see someone I know? In any case, I always get really surprised when I see people out of context.

It also weirded me out that so many people were on the path; people were running with their kid's in strollers in front of them, there were people who looked like they were doing some kind of ecological research on the lake, there was this couple hugging, there were the lone riders, and there were sets of girls running together. Next to them, I felt wholly unimpressive, but I kept walking anyway. I felt pretty uncomfortable, because I was sure everyone could tell that as I walked I was thinking really hard, which I don't like to do in the presence of others in case they can read minds or something. It was one of those strange alienating feelings I have been getting a lot lately; I did not want to talk to anyone I knew at all; I did not even want to remember they existed. I especially did not want to be noticed by these strangers.

It's always just kind of confused me that people go running outside. I feel like they are sweaty and vulnerable and feeling out loud, but they do it anyway. I was the same way, yesterday. Sweaty, feeling; crazy confused, but still walking. I guess the running part allows you to get away from the situation fast should you pass through an awkward stretch.
I do realize that I'm self-alienating here. Shouldn't I be happy that I never have to be alone?

At this point, I was having hunger pains and a gnawing dehydration that was threatening to take the wind out of me. I probably should have had something to drink 3 hours earlier. The almost 4 hours of sleep that I had gotten the night before was also proving to be a weak foundation for this kind of activity. Once I got to University Ave, I went to Panera Bread and had a meal.

 There I read the Capital Times almost cover-to-cover and got kind of upset that Dardanelles and Ancora on Monroe Street are closing, Ancora due to competition from Trader Joe's and Dardanelles due to health reasons on the part of the owner-- one Barbara Wright, who once told me while reading my tea leaves, "You need to learn that not all emptiness is bad." How profoundly her message hits me now at a time where I'm considering making my life very simple and open. I wonder if this whole walk bullshit was just destiny's scheme to get me to read this article. Nah.

I just have to re-train myself not to live for someone else, in pursuit of someone else, or in constant consideration of someone else. I come from a collectivist society, I love my family with my all of my heart and every time I think of going home, some part of me feels whole again. However, this is not what I need. I don't want to feel whole if in fact I'm not whole; I want to truly, truly discover what matters to me.

I have this problem, where I start falling in love so that I don't have to love myself. I start helping people so I don't have to help myself. I try to figure people out, at the expense of myself.

Really, it's kind of like what a bitchy, critical person would do. Those people judge everyone else and point out their flaws, so they don't have to examine their own problems. Except that I'm not mean about it. I just like to think about other people. I'm just kind of a self-negligent person, which has been okay because there's always someone around looking out for me, and I'm not completely crazy or anything.

Therefore, I gotta put myself in a world where people aren't always taking care of me.

That's why I'm going on this bout of crazy asceticism, or what a more individualistic person might call "being normal." 

And another thing, I need to seek out what I really want in life, and reject what won't get me that.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

catch 200

I wanted to make a post about having made 200 posts finally since the beginning of this blog, but that would make this my 201st post.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

"once upon a time i was falling in love, but now i'm only falling appppaaartttt"

I heard the absolute worst karaoke rendition of this song. I'm telling you. THE WORST.

My parents and I were on vacation in some random locale, like Florida or Branson, Missouri. I was really young and the place had a karaoke area, and I remember my dad had just started eating beef when most of his life he'd been a vegetarian and I thought the idea of anything with the name "Angus" getting close to my mouth was the grossest thing ever.

The song "Eclipse of the Heart" is like ten minutes long, and the karaoke machine broke while she was singing it, probably a testament to how bad she was singing it, and so they started it up again and she sang it AGAIN.  It was totally off-key, not just like a little off-key like when Becca sings (actually Becca is consistently a third above whatever you're singing if you sing with her, so really, she could be quite successful in a Diana Ross & the Supremes situation), but mind-numbingly I don't even recognize this song anymore off-key.

God, was my 7-maybe-10-year-old self pissed. I thought it to be totally unfair that some older lady who had been making out (people did that?) with her boyfriend (a concept I thought was only possible in movies-- because even now, it seems pretty statistically improbable for two people to like each other to that extent at the same time...) for like 6 minutes straight prior to ruining this song for me could just go up and sing karaoke when she was clearly insane. Why didn't those people stop her?

So of course, I did what any youth would do. I went up and sang a Savage Garden song. Except that guys sing an octave lower than girls and I got all confused so I sang the song like 2 octaves higher than the original Savage Garden guys. Remember, this was the 90s, and Savage Garden was cool. So then, they felt all bad for me and decided to make the next song I sang, "My Heart Will Go On," a few steps lower. Consequently, it was too low for me to sing comfortably and I was really uncomfortable about it.

It was then, that I realized, it didn't matter that that girl RUINED such a great song, because somebody loved her.

I never got my shining karaoke moment, at least not that night. A few years later, my family would go to Tony Roma's on Karaoke Tuesday (or Thursday or Friday or something,) and I would sing "The Greatest Love of All" by Whitney Houston to the appreciation of a happy mostly tipsy audience.

I thought they were taking me seriously, but people just like to watch little kids sing.

Friday, April 23, 2010

An update on Arizona

Obama spoke on the issue of the new immigration bill in Arizona:

He calls it "misguided," and says that he's going to have the situation monitored to make sure it doesn't violate civil rights of people.

Included on the page is Obama swearing in some immigrants--people just like I was yesterday-- taking the oath of naturalization. As an immigrant turned citizen, it totally throws me off that you could "tell who's not a citizen by looking at them," without racial profiling. The people at the Milwaukee Courthouse with me yesterday were like a pamphlet on diversity. I fraternized with people from Ghana, Mexico, India, and Canada. They are all now citizens of America who do good work, and want to assert that they belong here.

I want to know why illegal immigrants are not legal immigrants. I want to know what programs could be built to stop this from happening. Surely, as long as immigration is by the book, it should pose no threat to other Americans. It's desperation, in many cases, that causes undocumented immigrants to end up in America.

Being a nation of immigrants, to me, means that we recognize what people who are different from us have to offer and the rights they should have like any other to live their own lives.

The judge yesterday said, "The Constitution doesn't guarantee you happiness. No one can do that. But it does guarantee you the opportunity to pursue it. You have to understand that the Constitution is a document that limits the power of your rulers. Power can corrupt in the most awful of ways. But the best leaders are those who are not impressed with power. The constitution: it gives you the power to question your government. It also gives you the power to due process; you can take anyone in the country, even the president of the United States into court if they violate your rights, because no one is above the law."

What these people want is the chance to pursue happiness, just like any other one of us. Profiling of maybe-maybe-not-citizens violates the right to due process. Although no one is above the law, including undocumented immigrants, it is necessary as always to use judgment to address these problems. Isabel Garcia repeated over again in the CNN interview I posted earlier that, "This is not a police matter, this is not an executive matter." I don't think the issue with undocumented aliens is as black and white as "it's against the law to be in this country undocumented." It's a much more nuanced issue, which will take more than this law (that is a step backwards anyway!)

It is in this situation that it is important to question the power of our lawmakers and the enforcers of these laws.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

post i found from a while ago

I feel like my head inbox is constantly being flooded with messages.

"You could be less awkward when you talk to this person."

"I hope you know that you should BE WORKING ON THIS PROJECT"

"You have a gig next week, better look hot."

"Does this person really like you?"

"Increase your stamina! Eat more fro-yo!"

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

This makes me really upset.

Apparently there is a law being passed in Arizona, which allows the police to have "reasonable suspicion" to arrest someone who they suspect is an illegal immigrant.

I think that this kind of issue is just the most painful thing to deal with; such a law, however, I feel will definitely encourage racial profiling. This just brings to mind the McCarthy era-- can't they find another way to screen for illegal immigrants? I don't know enough about the issue to know if (in the CNN interview) Republican State Senator Pearce's claims are accurate or if legal defender Isabel Garcia's facts are accurate either. However, I get annoyed that all undocumented immigrants get shit for what only a few of them do.

I want to know why it's necessary to change the law at all. With the current law, immigration status is checked when the person is arrested for a crime. However, now, this law will allow cops to stop anyone who they suspect might be an immigrant, which I feel, fosters an environment of fear for anyone of Latino heritage (or people who look like they have Latino heritage). And that's that.

I've changed shape just to hide in this place but I'm still an animal

I have feelings. I really do. I know this was probably very apparent since I am the type of person who talks about their feelings, writes them down, finds songs to express them in ways she can't and tells people when they're pissing her off.

But some (of the most important) feelings that I have, I'll never say out loud.

Joy and I were talking today about what kind of persons we are, according to Myer-Briggs measures-- are you a spontaneous person or a non-spontaneous person? Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Do you have to see something to believe it?

I think there are other subtle things you could notice about people and the way they function:

- Are you the type of person who color-codes stuff because it actually has an effect on your life?

-Do you wear bright colors or dark colors? Pastels?

-Organized or organized chaos?

-How important are lyrics to you?

-Do you change who you are depending on who you're with?

-When you're with someone hanging out and your cell phone rings, do you tell the person you're on the phone that you're with those people?

-Do you compulsively charge your iPod/computer battery?

-Do you look things up for yourself or ask others who you know will know?

-Do you make flashcards to study for any given class?

-Do you make an outline before you write an essay?

-Do you know what you want to do and then embark upon it, or do you assume that you'll get stuff done eventually?

-Would you date someone you didn't think was hot? Would you date someone you didn't think was smart?

-Are you weirded out when someone mentions any of the following in passing?: menstrual cycles, sex, excrement, underwear, race, politics

-Do you think that people with exotic looks are more/less/equally attractive than the general population?

I realize that these questions probably fit on the Myer-Briggs assessment anyway.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A word on desperation and crushes

We all have desperate moments. Sometimes I'm desperate for the printer to work, sometimes I'm desperate for a cup of coffee or a shower or to listen to a song I really like.

Barring all sketchy situations that no one wants to ponder, desperation is barely ever attractive.

This is not to say that we don't all have feelings of desperation. Desperation is probably an okay thing, because it's a reflection of our want for something, perhaps our willingness to go out of our way. When you want something badly enough, you are willing to do incredible things, and that is great.

But it's all about your reaction.

Most of the time, even if you are desperate, acting desperate is not the way to get what you want.
When self respect < desire, then we have a big problem.

 This goes for when someone has a crush and lets the fact that someone doesn't pay a lot of attention to him/her negatively impact his/her self-esteem, because for some reason they feel that that person is more of an authority on what's cool and what's worth time.

Maybe if someone makes you feel stupid or awkward, maybe there's something wrong with that someone. Or maybe you're not approaching the situation the right way. Maybe you're hoping for too much.

I tend to hold the perspective that the more you dwell on these feelings of desperation, the more apt you are to succumb to them. I hate hearing things that sound like, "S/he could never like me."

Then, why do we have to talk about it? It's not productive. If you really feel that way about yourself, it's not going to change if he does like you.

Why not say "Should I like this person? Is this a good investment of my energy? Why do I feel this way?"

If there's something you feel is wrong with you, combat it or forget it; don't think that someone's affection will solve your issue with yourself. Take a second, and think about why you're attracted to someone. If it's not about looks, it might have something to do with the way that person approaches life. Can you learn something from them?

Rant over.

Friday, April 09, 2010

I don't want to do it your way; i don't want do it your way; i don't want to give it to you your way. I don't want to know!

I think I'm most possibly the weirdest person ever.

For example, I've been doing this thing where I have traumatic, sometimes completely life-altering things happen, but all I seem to care about is whether my iPod is charged and whether I've been reading the news.

I've completely forgotten about school, and surprisingly, nothing apocalyptic has happened; I guess this is an effect of not taking a science class. Never again. I've been wandering around like a dream, hoping for some imaginary future which seems like it'll never come.

Today, I started thinking about the future and I was transported back to last semester when I was freaking out about what I wanted to do with myself. It's annoying. I'm even annoying myself.

However, everyone else who knows me is giving me the most positive frigging reactions I've ever had. It seems like everyone is telling me I'm great, I'm pretty, I'm nice, I have a good voice, and my hair is nice. It's getting hard to handle. I've never been good at accepting compliments. For the most part now, I'm like "Yeah, thank you so much. Yeah. Yeah. Thanks."

Either, I'm in the best shape of my life, or there's some rockstar thing rubbing off on people. Maybe it's the fact that I'm not caring as much about what people think and just doing whatever I want.

Meanwhile, I'm being a raucous teenager nineteen-year-old. Oh yeah, I'm 19, did I tell you that? I'm a prime number. When I'm introspective like this, I'm prompted to look at myself. Upon looking at myself, I see that I'm the same girl; same chubby cheeks, same big ol' questioning eyes, same well, nose that my family members in India like to hail as my worst characteristic. Moreover, I'm reminded that I'm the same goofy person. I say things in a way that only I would. I'm not quiet, I'm not reserved, I don't have any of those demure "girl" qualities, except that my hair is long and my cheek-bones are high. In fact, if I knew me, I'd probably think I was annoying as all heck. I would probably wonder who I thought I was. If I saw myself when I was talking, I would think I look ridiculous.

I might be saying goodbye to the only thing that's been constant in my life for a very long time. I said please don't make this harder. After that, will I be the same at all? Will I rebel, like I have in the past? Will I be even better for the experience? Will I be....lonely?

For once, this is for some pretty unselfish reasons. 

Do you think the heroes had doubts? Or do you think that they forged their paths that they knew would be different from everyone else's and stayed true to themselves for the long haul? More importantly, how will I survive without Ugly Betty to guide me?

Thursday, April 08, 2010

It's not that easy to get laid.

I want to know why people skirt around the reality of HIV.

Elizabeth Pisiani is the shit. No one wants disease, so give people incentives to not spread the disease. If you don't skirt around the prevention part, you won't have to deal with the treatment part. 

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

I'm gonna fill my journals

with lists of the people I run into on campus that I've met before, the people i met this year, the people who i thought wouldn't impact my life but did, the people who make me feel happy to be alive
with every random thought I have that wants to be poetic
with the names of bands I've been meaning to check out but haven't
with non-appointments with myself
with the things i want to write on my stickies but can't because they're too personal or embarrassing

So I've been a little bit bummed out at work (the newspaper written for kids, by kids)  lately because this thirteen-year-old kid is constantly bored and despondent, always very dissatisfied looking, avoiding eye contact and not really listening, sitting like 8 feet away from me (while I write edits on his paper.) 

 I always ask him what he likes, and if he'd like to write about something else besides this instead if it's not interesting to him. He responds with, "It's okay." 

I ask him what classes he likes, he says "Gym." He tells me that there's nothing he really likes that is academic and that even if he likes sports, he doesn't like to write about them. I mean, like, serious bummer. 

Today, I talked to this kid about break hoping to get him to open up about what he does with time that's expendable. I asked what he's been doing. "Playing." 
"What kind of playing?"
"Inside playing."
"So like, on the computer?"
"Video games?" 
"Do you have a Wii?"
"What do you have?"
"Oh okay. What do you play?"
"Call of Duty."
"Isn't that a shooter?" 
"Like Halo?"
"Yeah. Kind of..." 
"Eh, I don't really like shooters. They're confusing!"
"What? All you have to do is point and shoot!"
"Well, I get confused about how to walk around."
"That's so easy!" 
"But then they shoot you first and you die!" 
"So shoot them first!"
First emotion I ever got out of him. No kidding. 
"Well, I'm sorry I'm not good at shooters. Geez, I like Super Smash Bros." 
"I don't like that."
"Why not?"
"Because it's hard. I was Kirby and I kept floating away and then dying."
"Oh well, that's so easy, all you have to do is use the arrow thingies."
"Well it's annoying, if he flies, he should."
"Well, see,  you see it's not so easy!" 

I got him to admit to me that he failed his science project that was worth 50% of his grade, but he got to redo it to recover his grade. I told him that he should've brought the science project to the office so I could look it over and help him. He said, "Then I'd have to bring all my stuff!"

"So bring all your stuff." 
"But then I'd have to print like 5 pages out!" 
"Hmm... five pages or fail?"

I asked him why it was hard for him. He expressed that he didn't think science was necessary for anything really and he didn't see why he had to learn it.  So then I told him this story about how I corrected his article last week that's about cars and they talked about carbon fiber which is lighter than steel and thus more efficient. Then later I was talking to my Dad and then this guy in my French class about bikes and how I was wondering if since those materials like carbon fiber and titanium reduce weight, is it ethical for people with unequal bikes to have races? 

I explained that his article, because I chose to ask him to look up what carbon fiber was, helped me understand something else that I didn't even know I might be interested in, and  in that little way, it made me more educated. In fact, his article is actually really(!) exciting in that it talks about cars with rechargable batteries that could actually recharge while driving, thereby not emitting. 

This led me to explain why I care about learning, why it's important to be interested in the world around you, and why you should want to get really good at something academic because no matter what you want to do, if you want to be somebody, you gotta put in the hours and you gotta learn to love and appreciate the opportunities you have to learn. 

And yeah, he looked at me like I was crazy, but I was super honest with him, and said, "I know you think I'm full of crap, but I was just like you are now and I didn't see the value in what we were doing. But as we went on through school, and as I started to really learn science, and social studies, whatever,  I started to realize how everything I learned was really important to know, and I liked it so much more.  Wouldn't you rather enjoy everything you do instead of just waiting around to be at home playing video games?" I went on to explain that though I sound silly and uncool talking about how cool it is to know stuff, I am having a great time with life,  I smile at people, and I'm excited to do what I came to do. 

I asked him if he was listening and he said, "Kind of, yeah." 

But he was smiling. 

Sunday, April 04, 2010

not much chance for survival

Is it just me or does this reporting sound more than just a little bit biased?

I mean, probably justifiably biased, but biased nonetheless. Read the article, it's pretty sad and that's all the analysis I'll put into it.

I saw sparks

.....after making a playlist which encapsulates all of my emotions. I wonder...what have I done?