On goods and greats and mommy health blogs

I’ve decided to start blogging every other day unless I’m doing something of importance, which I’m often not. After work I just kind-of do…nothing, and until a miracle happens and I find the motivation to drag myself to the gym for health ever at all I need to have a Thing™ or I’ll probably continue actively melting my brain with Netflix and online retail therapy.

I’d like to re-title this blog, because “[uncertain]” is fake deep and way extra, but in truth it’s the one word that describes every single aspect of my life (except my S.O., we’re killin it. #goals tbh) and I think the brackets hint nicely that it may one day be replaced with something better. It would be cool if that hadn’t sounded like the start of a mommy health blog.

Though, I suppose, if it had been the start of a mommy health blog, the blog would have a theme and the author would know her purpose. That’s where I’m struggling, I think. I’m not quite sure how to identify myself as separate and unique of others. I’m good at many things, not particularly great at one or the other, and there isn’t one single thing that I can pinpoint as my favorite — which is going to get me into trouble in this branding class I’m taking, probably. I like outer space (but don’t enjoy and can’t understand higher-level physics concepts, and so can’t pursue much there), I strongly believe in the (intersectional) feminist movement (but as a white woman it feels more necessary to listen than contribute much to the conversation), I have neat handwriting (but there are thousands of beautiful calligraphers, and they all use the same Pinterest fonts), I can play the flute (above-averagely, which isn’t good enough),  I love photography (though am mediocre at best), I love travel (but lack the funds), I adore the theater (but fall short of talented), I’m perceptive, self-aware, organized, good with kids, reasonably funny, and observant, I value kindness, want to see more women in STEM, and often give good advice — but so do millions of other people.

I don’t know what my passion is, is the problem. And maybe there isn’t anything. That’s okay, I guess, but doesn’t bode super well for standing out in a job market or branding myself over the course of this semester. Or being happy with the career and life path I choose.

I’m just good at being good at things, you know? If I could get a letter revealing my talents and options moving forward, whatever they are, even if I’m not very fond of them now, I know if I work at anything I can usually pull it off. I’d study chemistry and wine and business and open a winery if I knew it’d be successful. I’d sit through another 4 years of college of all physics classes if I knew I were destined to be a NASA engineer. I’d even have a kid and buy organic and cut out all sugar if I knew my mommy health blog would be a hit. I like being good at things. Of course, “good” isn’t nearly enough for…anything, but if I just knew what to go after, I’d do it. I’d work extra hard for “great” if I knew.

There’s some repressed memories of rejection and fear of failure playing into all this, I’m sure of it.

I like where I am now, I do, and for now (through May, when my job contract will end) I’m content to live in the present. Today was great, I got in almost 10 hours of work, and tomorrow I’m attending an Eagle Ceremony for which my brother is the Master of Ceremonies. There’s also free dinner. My lacking-prospects future is a back-burner worry, my friends. C’est la vie.

On fresh starts

Thursday of last week I co-led a bullying awareness workshop for kindergarteners. To my own earlier surprise, its necessity was not brought about by the smallest possible public-school-aged children being bullied, but rather by their collective obsession with justice and its enforcement. While nearly all were familiar with how to say “I’m sorry” as sincerely as possible (we went around the circle and practiced), only one knew “I forgive you” to be a good response — though he also threw out “Stop, Walk, and Talk” when asked how to respond to a bully (tell them to stop; if they keep bullying you walk away; if they follow you talk to a grown up), so we figured this wasn’t his first rodeo.

In his book “Emotional Intelligence,” Daniel Goleman illustrates this phenomenon in young children, and points out that when they get into squabbles and an adult manages to stop the screaming or hitting, the children’s ” … thoughts are still fixated on the trigger for the anger … and the anger continues unabated,” (48). This is because, Goleman explains, young children often lack the capacity to cultivate self-awareness, and are neither able to access the option to not-act on their anger nor the option to let go of it altogether.

So, with research from the psychology field behind us, my co-lead and I spent the majority of the workshop emphasizing the importance of forgiveness, and of giving people a “fresh start” when the offense is minor (all those present under 6 were astounded to hear not-sharing was a forgivable infraction).

“You get three behavior strikes here, right? And if you got three strikes today, how many strikes would you start with tomorrow? Zero! Because we give you a fresh start each day, even if you maybe weren’t so nice the day before, right?”

Eventually, the kids got the call and response down:

“If you hurt someone at all, what should you say?”

“I’m sorry!”

“And what should you do if someone apologizes kindly and sincerely?”

“Forgive them!”

“Because we want to give them a–”

“Fresh start!”

Of course, we did not raise the capacity for these 5-year-olds to become self-aware and deal maturely with their anger in a half hour workshop configured with their short attention spans in mind that day. We did, however, introduce them to the idea that no matter how long it’s been and almost no matter what the offense, everyone deserves a fresh start.

Including me, and this blog.

I haven’t posted in over a year, but I was incapacitated with severe dehydration (and likely a combination of drastically poor eating habits) one week ago for an entire day and have since more often than not stood up to black, patchy vision and also I don’t exercise.

In short, one week ago gave me access to the self-awareness I needed to get my life together, and rising from the ashes is this blog to keep me in check and hold me accountable to doing more — and better — for myself. Clearly I don’t know what that means right now at all, but if my life wasn’t in shambles at 23 how would I ever have a shot at being a surprise millionaire with a quirky backstory when I’m 60 and the planet is dead and I have just enough millions to get me a ticket to the nearest habitable planet and reverse my aging process? It’s all a strategy.

I’m making light of depriving myself of basic self care because I make $12/hr in a devastating job market and have lived with the irony of “advanced and gifted” intelligence v. anxiety for years, but please, if you want or need one, and you’re reading this, take a step back and give yourself a fresh start. It’s never too late, too early, too many or too often. We deserve that from ourselves, at the very least.

On ordinal-linguistic personification synesthesia

Last night, in a fit of boredom and irritation at having to focus on state policy, I decided to message one of my more intelligent and interesting friends asking them what could be a fun topic for my next blog post. He suggested:

“What personalities you think certain numbers would have. 12 is chill, 7 is a prig.”

And that was incredible to me, because I’d always thought that was just a little quirk had, maybe stuck still from writing weird stories when I was younger. Now, in all my 22 years I’ve certainly come across mentions of synesthesia a few times, but even so it had always been in reference to people who can see colors when they hear music or look at a number line. I never imagined associating numbers with personalities was an actual documented phenomenon.

Needless to say, Ordinal-lingustic personification exists, and is defined as: a form of synesthesia in which ordered sequences, such as ordinal numbers, week-day names, months and alphabetical letters are associated with personalities. (From Wikipedia; I think personal blogposts can probably stand to use it as a source.)

Of course this isn’t some massive revelation, like I’ve found my real parents and they’re super spies or the rulers of some far-off nation, but it’s a kind of identifier that I never imagined I’d have. Sure, I was in the “Advanced and Gifted” program in elementary school — but so was everyone else at UNC. I don’t have any particular talents — I’m average at many things, and make average grades. I don’t have time for hobbies. Human beings love identifiers; it’s why we take the Myers-Briggs test and check our horoscopes, even though we know they’re bogus. I didn’t really have an identifier before, and now, however, small, it feels like I do. And it’s a cool one.

I suppose I should share my opinions on the personalities of some numbers, then. Not that it’ll prove anything but I, at least, think it’s fun.

  • 2: shy, likes vanilla cakes, smiles at deer
  • 58: rugged, intelligent eyes, very protective of their mother
  • 17: sharp-witted, naive, quick to anger
  • 9: environmentalist, fast runner, doesn’t like reading
  • 36: lots of laugh lines around their eyes, loves baking, is bad at baking
  • 24: poised, likes scrapbooking, puts product in their hair
  • 31: swimmer, favorite season is spring, doesn’t like cats
  • 99: gets regular manicures, probably doesn’t have kids, has a glass of red wine every evening because it’s “good for your heart”

Is that supposed to be exhausting to do? I’ve never purposely thought up numbers for the sake of assigning personalities to them — it’s just happened sometimes when I see certain numbers. Not to be that guy that’s like “that just took so much out of me, I’m so drained, my talent is wasting me away;” I’m just tired and I wasn’t before. Interesting. Maybe should lead the next bit of research on synesthesia.

On giving thanks to the best of your ability in your current circumstances

In honor of it being the week of Thanksgiving and ignoring the irony of our celebrating the one time welcoming refugees into the country actually did wipe out existing cultures (that was us; we did that), I figured I’d write up a post on what I’m thankful for so I have some statements already in mind when we go around the table Thursday.

  • I’m thankful for Fiber One protein bars, because they are my breakfast every day and last me through the many hours when I can’t eat because I am in class or on the way to class or at work or scrambling to write essays.
  • I’m thankful for cancelled classes, because then I can do assignments during them — the exact same thing I do normally — except without earning an absence for it.
  • I’m thankful for the Timehop app, because it allows me to realize just how abhorrent I used to be and to at least somewhat appreciate who I am now as a suffering adult.
  • I’m thankful for the growing media, because without them I would not be constantly overstimulated and might be able to focus for long enough to actually work on papers for more than ten minutes at a time. (This is a positive thing because productivity proves you are only a cog in the machine.)
  • I’m thankful for my tendency towards procrastination, because without it I wouldn’t have been able to force my body to operate on naps alone in order to give myself more time awake to work on my assignments.
  • I’m thankful for raisins and lemon-flavored things, because without them I would not have food to dislike and it seems a little overzealous to claim you’d eat anything.
  • I’m thankful for water, because I know that if I actually drank as much as I’m supposed to it would probably help my skin, and I think that’s really nice.
  • I’m thankful for bees, because they are honestly keeping us all alive and not enough people are thankful for bees.
  • I’m thankful for my cat, because even though by this time of night she isn’t allowed in my room as she is rambunctious and I am trying to focus on many things that I will get graded on that will determine how well I am set for the future, she is very beautiful and takes lots of naps and sighs a lot and I can relate.
  • I’m thankful for boys, because if I didn’t specifically mention them they would probably ask why not and explain to me that I am what’s wrong with feminism.
  • I’m thankful for college, because while I know more than when I started I also know that there is much more to know and of that I know very, very little.

And with that, I have another blog post and a seven-page research paper on state policy to write. This wasn’t as much of a pick-me-up as I’d hoped.

On finding little joys in Tuesdays

Nothing of particular significance happened today — not that it really ever does with how routine my life has to be until I graduate — but little things added up to make it a good day.

This morning, I remembered that I owned green pants that were shoved in the back of my drawer from when it was still warm at the beginning of the semester, and finding them meant that I could finally wear my jean jacket without clashing with actual jean pants. “This isn’t the 90’s, and you’re not Justin Timberlake,” as my roommate would put it.

However, I will forever regret not growing up as a teenager in the 90’s when jean jackets were a thing and music festivals were about music and not how trendy you could make your of-the-earth outfits look on Instagram; we talk about being 90’s kids, but I think we missed the window by a few years. I barely remember Wonderballs, and often wonder if they’re implanted memories by whoever controls the simulator that is one explanation of the Fermi Paradox. Which should be a discussion left for my probable existential crisis post.

My tests and projects and papers and subsequent stress, poor eating, and lack of sleep have subsided, which means my face is clearing up — so I felt good. I liked existing today.

That sounded more dismal than I meant it to. But you know those days you just don’t want to leave the house and see people and have people see you because society has deemed a woman’s worth as how much she turns men on? Gross, I know — they’re really not worth it. But I haven’t felt great for a few weeks now and today was just. Good. I felt good.

I heard my roommate leave the apartment before me in the morning, but still caught the same bus as her, so that was sortof a personal triumph.

I had a politics exam (POLI 101 — shouldn’t be too hard, you’d think, but it’s super not my forte) first thing upon arriving on campus, but had to grab a scantron and a blue book from Student Stores — there was no line, and nobody behind me making me feel like I had to rush and get out of the way and tuck my wallet and papers haphazardly into my backpack as quickly as I could to accommodate them. That was nice.

And I actually knew how to go about answering the essay question on my POLI exam! Amazing! Good work!

My other classes flowed smoothly, and though the day was long — extra long, as I had to see a film for a class at 6:30 p.m. that didn’t end until around 8:30 — it was beautiful, and kind to me. No harsh sunlight, no biting winds; a perfectly heavy, soothing fall day.

I know it was a Tuesday, but for once I really wouldn’t mind another.