I want to issue a blanket thanks to everybody who reached out to me the past couple of days regarding my last entry. I’m ruining things left and right as I go, but I think I’m still on a gradual march upwards. I want to thank you all individually, and I will eventually, but I just wanted to let you all know that your messages were read and felt and greatly, greatly appreciated. I’m not the best at reaching out, but knowing that you guys care, and that I can should I ever find the courage, really makes a difference. So…thanks a mill! :]
Shortly after I vented publicly online*, I felt relieved. Whatever it was I’d been holding inside of me flew the [locked, barricaded, highest-security] coop, and it was like…with this Gross Thing out on the virtual page before me, I had so much more room inside for something meaningful. Sure, I’d put it in a place where everyone could see it, with its teeth and gnarled fingers and radioactive slime oozing out of every pore, but maybe that’s where it needed to be, just this once, so that people could see and start to understand. A friend recently described me as an “all or nothing” kind of girl when it comes to sharing. I think that’s right on. If I don’t know you and I don’t trust you, you’re not going to get anything but smiles and the confidence of a well-adjusted, successful young woman. As soon as you pick and pry, though, you’re getting it all. [Un]luckily for you (and maybe me as well), I trust the vast, eternal void that is The Internet.
(*a word of advice: never do this. it is like taking a wrecking ball to your social life. venting may be cathartic, and omitting important details may seem like you’re saving people from your moodiness, but the public stage is not the venue to air out your stinky underwear and a lack of specificity only leads to unfortunate misunderstandings. vague rants about my personal relationships are going in a private journal for me from now on, folks)
Anyway, what I mean to say is that I was thinking after I played show-and-tell with my issues, and I started thinking about introspection. I am a Grade-A introspector, maybe because I spend so much quality time with myself. When I drive, I go over everything stupid I’ve done in the past three months and cringe with embarrassment. I relate the lyrics of crappy love songs to my crappy, nonexistent love life. When I’m eating, I analyze all the ways I’ve managed to go wrong in my interactions with other humans. I wonder how the hell I’m ever going to to turn my life and accomplishments into things that matter. When no one’s coming in for burritos, I kick myself over and over again for what I consider my greatest personality flaws…which, to be honest, are pretty much everything. So, when it comes to introspection, not gonna lie, I’m pretty much a champ.
But I was thinking about introspection a few days ago, and I wondered if there’s not a such thing as positive introspection. If I’m so good at introspection, why can’t I turn it around and make it go the other way, too? There’s no where in the definition of introspection (“the examination of one’s own mental and emotional processes”) that says it has to be negative. So I decided that if this is really going to be the thing I consider my favorite hobby, I’ve gotta make it something constructive. As a first step, I’m going to revive a meme I used to do back when LiveJournal was my main blogging platform. Basically, the meme forces you to think about 10 things that made you happy on any given day. Since it’s only 10am, I’m going to change the rules slightly and go with 10 things that make me happy about myself and my current life. Deep breath, folks. I’m about to attempt something radical.
1. My house and my housemates are wonderful.
2. I saw the Punch Brothers play in Finney Chapel again. I don’t think that needs much more explanation. They were mighty.
3. My hands and feet look really pretty because I painted my nails a “bewitching bordeaux” that matches the sweater I’m wearing, which is my favorite because it makes my shoulders look fantastic.
4. I have beautiful hair. It is long and thick and soft and shines like keratin gold. I can braid it and twist it and use pretty hair clips that, while I’m not defined by the beauty of my luscious hair, make me feel divine.
5. I am going to Ireland (with a brief stint in Scotland to visit a friend) in 10 days. Despite the fact that I’ll only be there for two weeks, I think that just getting there is going to be the greatest adventure of my life. I start in Oberlin, make my way to the Cleveland MegaBus stop, catch a bus to Pittsburgh, catch a different bus to New York City, arrive in New York at 7:45am, then have to find my way to JFK airport, then have to navigate JFK and find the AerLingus terminal, then I get on a 7-hr flight to Dublin and arrive at 5:20am. And that’s (literally) only the beginning. My body actually tingles with excitement when I think of what’s to come.
6. I’ve gone bowling twice in the past week with great people. Even though my spare-shooting could use some serious work, both times my scores were over 110. Oberlin College Lanes continues to be a safe space for happiness. Thank you, Tom Reid, for creating that and sharing it with me.
7. My old advisor and her husband have hired me to help them to some grunt work on their research projects. I’m a little worried I’ll disappoint them, but the simple fact that they respect me enough to share this with me makes me so supremely happy. They were both such wonderful influences in my academic development at Oberlin, and maintaining that relationship with them is more than I could ever ask for.
8. I am proud to be Catholic at Oberlin. I have met so many wonderful people through Newman, some of my best friends in fact. Every Sunday is refreshing both spiritually and socially, because I am surrounded by such wonderful humans and I feel connected to a community across time and space. I leave Mass feeling like everything is going to be okay.
9. By letting go of my fear of looking dumb or ungraceful, I’ve already progressed so far in dance. I can do jumps and leaps I never thought I’d be able to do because I used to think they made me look like a silly sort of duck whenever I tried.
10. I have an amazing resilience. I have persevered, and I’ll continue to try because that’s just who I am. I’m astoundingly strong and independent and I can do anything…
Do you hear that? I can do anything.