Thursday, November 08, 2007

Coming to conclusions, for today. (There is always tomorrow.)

Today is a reminisce about childhood day.

I don't mean that in a gloomy way, more of a contemplative way. I was thinking about how when I was in high school and it was gray and cloudy out I would just go home after school (i.e. before 3pm), make myself a cup of tea, and sit around the house. Did I do that? It's getting hard to remember but I feel like I did... sat at the kitchen table, likely cluttered with newspapers and bills, and read my book and ate toast. That's a funny memory because it should feel really warm and cozy but in reality it feels sort of cool and gray, the way those days were. Still, I would prefer it to sitting at a desk all day in fluorescent lighting staring at a computer screen.

Then I was thinking about the simplicity of some things. Home cooked food -- I know it sounds cheesy but honestly, sometimes all I really want is spaghetti or something. At Google, the food is overwhelmingly complex and fascinating and unusual and to be honest, sometimes it's frustratingly gourmet. (Oh yes, Emily, please, complain about your free lunches.) Choice can be baffling.

It's interesting to thing about the "base state" of your life. Like, what you would do with no outside influences. Obviously that's impossible -- you're beset by outside influences from the moment you're born, and if you want to get into human behavioral biology, you're sort of stuck with them even earlier -- but I mean on a daily basis. What if you lived in a city you didn't know anyone? What would you do?

I know what I would do, and I know it with a mixture of shame and longing. I find that when other people have plans, when I have a night on my own, I sit in my house and I do nothing. That's not a particularly bad thing sometimes, but it would be terrible if it happened all the time. One thing I like about living with Dan is that he doesn't really allow for the sitting-at-home thing. Meaning, he doesn't think that you should, by default, choose sitting at home over doing something fabulous in the city. Neither do I, but sometimes it's good to have him remind me of what's out there.

Still, tonight is a sitting-at-home night. I had Campbell's split pea soup with Saltines for dinner (talk about childhood, eh?) and I'm sitting here blogging and downloading some music and doing silly things like reading Self magazine and watching The Office. I like to call these nights in "dates with myself," which is probably some cheesy phrase from a dumb magazine like Self or maybe something like Sex and the City but the reality is that that's a really good way to look at it. Take yourself out, or in. You know, treat yourself like you are worth it, blah blah. I know I'm sounding even more cliched as this paragraph goes on but it is good to remind yourself of these things sometimes. When my sister was here we got into a discussion (abstractly) about our relationships with men. It was brief but my conclusion was, sometimes it is hard to be a girl. You are fighting a lot of weird, deep-seated societal habits. Not even pressures, not even oppression, but just habit, I think, most of the time. So I think I get in the habit of being unhappy with myself, my body, my brain, whatever it is... and the key is reminding yourself to break the habit.

Last thought. Today I mentioned to Justin that I was really glad that he could "deal with my crazy." (On a serious note, I am. I know he reads this, at least occasionally, so this is rather silly, but one of the most surprising things about moving to the city was my friendship with him which I'm now really grateful for. And that makes me think about how surprising friendships are... I'm still surprised that Dan and I are such good friends, I'm thrilled and surprised about how wonderfully Ace is as a roommate and friend, I am constantly flattered and amazed by the friendships I have and the loyalty that those people have and their patience and brilliance and ridiculousness and uniqueness. I will stop this parenthetical here!!) His response was "Don't get too caught up in your crazy. We've all got some of that." Suddenly I remembered that, paradoxically, the strongest I've ever felt, the sanest, the most sure of myself, was when ---- and I were breaking up and there was a moment he actually asked me if I was sure I wasn't just crazy -- because he felt like he couldn't recognize me. But that lack of recognition was because right then, I was being really strong. And I knew myself better than anyone else could. And so it's strange, but that is the strongest I've ever felt and the proudest of myself I have been, for anything. And right now I would like to find that strength, not for anything in particular but just because it was a great feeling, and I felt empowered and happy and brave. I think that is how you should approach every day. (I hadn't thought about this until Justin made that comment and it reminded me that I should never think I am crazy. Because everyone is, a little bit, and because the idea that women are insane is far too common, and because I'm not.)

It is good to have little victories like this. One of the best things about life is stumbling across things in your past that inform your present, lessons you forgot you learned, channeling old emotions or feelings or what have you into your present and using them for future good. That is, in a way, the upside of nostalgia... I find that if I can tap into the visceral feeling of something -- coming home from school and having a cup of tea and a book, feeling strong, feeling smart, feeling creative, feeling in love, feeling comfortable, liberated, whatever memory you have that you can grab ahold of, that is like a medium or a path to achieving that again, or avoiding it, or whatever it is. It's not just a matter of learning from mistakes, it's a matter of literally feeling that again, down to your bones, and hanging onto that, even if you can't replicate it exactly (you wouldn't want to). It's like a shortcut to yourself.

So I guess I have a position on the boundaries of blogging and Facebook and what have you. I guess I'll just be honest. I don't think it can hurt. I think I yam what I yam. I have things to say and I will say them.

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