Equilibrium

12/24/14

Equilibrium

Well, we’ve reached the point of equilibrium again. In every cycle, this is just what happens. First equilibrium, then the waves start getting larger and further apart, then equilibrium.

It is so strange to me how all of this works. If my friends are like a bell curve in how many I have per age category due to my age, with the most scattered around me as my peers, then I will be honest in that I often don’t receive the best reading of reality.

Silly, it’s all very silly. This was a cycle much more compressed and yet, equally as daunting as junior high and high school depression. Five years in four months. It’s weird, because it was like lighting a fuse due to love. Explosion in literally every direction, from family to friends to school to work to the dark hidden insecurities in anything and everything. And yet, I don’t know if anything has changed. I certainly know how to deal with it now, and my faith was not shaken. My memory came back entirely. When I say that, I’m solemn and serious as the grave. I became utterly fearless.

In college, this “quarter life crisis” crap is studied often. When you “grow up” and adjust to who you are destined to be, making choices all the while. Now, many people assume there are an infinite series of alternate choices, but I don’t think so. If anything, choices are the convenient illusion it takes to test our character and intentions so that we may grow. Ask God, I have no idea. But if the waves get bigger on both the beautiful and terrible ends of the spectrum, that is a gift, it is not necessarily a choice or an outcome.

No one really knows what they are talking about, at least I learned that very young. What I don’t understand is how much common sense had to die to let rise to an industry of quick fixes, materialism, placebos, and hospital beds? If this runs in my family as my parents claim, then a lot of residual unhappiness and bad conflict management does as well. I believe you pass on just as much nature as you do nurture to your children, which begs the question: Why do we study it?

I read a book in 8th grade that helped me become skeptical enough to move through this the first time. The Depression Cure by Stephen Ilardi, who conveniently became my personality psych teacher here at KU. He advocates 6 different facets of health to combine to influence depression and happiness as lifestyle choices. Sometimes I wonder if my psychology professors are any happier than us students, as a group. I just wonder why we study it.

I believe a person has to choose to change their life if they dare. I know it means letting go of what is slowly killing you anyways. But I don’t understand how some people “recover” and others do not, given choice. I do not understand how my life is any different than a Bildungsroman with teeth and relevance.

When James Joyce or Edgar Allen Poe, or even Nathaniel Hawthorne (if we’re affording ourselves extra bullets) wrote it, was it ever any different? I’m not asking because I am curious, I’m asking because I seriously doubt it. These books and teachings comprise the fabric of our Western consciousness, and although I place no more value on concepts of Eastern enlightenment than I do their western equivalencies, could it just be much, much simpler: an acknowledgement of the times an our mortality as the human race?

We are all tasked here to live and live well, to the best of our abilities. If I hashtag my reality, is that any better than Shakespearing it into existence? I often wonder.

If art is art, why do we suppress it, knowing that stories are part of us long before we grew finger paints on bare walls? We punish our children for crayons and blank slates, but the only thing that has changed is our reaction and the progressively daunting outcomes. From the beginning of time until the end of it, shouldn’t we just do our best to be happy? Either way you slice it, we’ve only got ~100 years tops, if we’re lucky. Some of us have less than weeks.

It just boils down to what will kill you, depending on who you ask. I know that I’ve seen more than some people ever live through ever in 20 years, but I also know for a fact that it is all cripplingly subjective. If my biggest heroes are the people that were bold enough to die, will I leave with them? We are all going to be taken out at some point. This is no hero or victim complex, no martyr or fairytale fantasy, this is the real living Ferguson that some of us have the pleasure to ignore. What then?

I really couldn’t tell you. I’ve already come to terms with death, and in the larger sphere of human existence or whatever that is, I know that I’m already pretty successful in terms of happiness. If the ability to survive was the most sacred gift I received, I knew even then that I had to share it. How divinely odd.

I write however I want because I am 20 and we write that way, constantly, everywhere. At the same time, I am a grandmother and a mother and a teacher and a friend all inside of the same living moment, and it’s sublimely bizarre every day. I cannot help it if others misinterpret and project onto me false intentions that never existed. But if my life was always like a mirror, and my heart was always a sponge, should I not use that to our advantage?

If I know how to pass in nearly every place imaginable by copying mannerisms and a lot of internalized tact (unless you tell me otherwise), shouldn’t I mimic in all things that are already unrealistic? If someone tells me that who I am is just their reflection, what can I say? Many of my friends are often irritated with me enough as it stands, if anything, this would only intensify those odds and shine a little more insight (let it not be mine, please).

I may have been born an “intense” person, but I know how to play my cards better than most people. If you pander to their stereotypes, then at least they let you go. The most explosive moments are those that trap you between two necessary evils and tell you to choose. You can choose blindly, as most people do, or you can pay attention and go with the nagging feeling. I know that not everyone’s nagging feeling screams like mine does, but I know that it is there, for sure.

From bodhisattvas to magi’s to martyrs to heroes, haven’t we always tried to know how to steward our understanding well, collectively? As humans, we recognize that there are not always easy answers, and we do our best to coach each other through fear and other harrowing circumstances. On one end it is service, on the other hand, it is the blind leading the blind. You tell me.

At the end of the day, I truly do not care if anyone reads this, so much as my ego will permit me to say, except I hope that if there is anything useful inside it, that it find those who need it and that it would be true. I think it’s funny that we define our great thinkers by how much they charge, and I wonder how much beauty is hiding in plain sight, cast into a muddy gutter.

Great authors and great people and new thoughts that are just kind old translations. I believe the Bible is a lot like that, because I believe it is the same kind of mirror. It will be what you make of it. You can make it a bullet or a rose or a knife or salvation, none of us can ever choose for each other. I must admit, it is rather frightening. But we all have choices to make, and we have always confronted the same odds together and only known it in better disasters and destruction.

I wonder, as someone who rarely reads anything but textbooks, if absorbing other authors’ ideas will only throw off my own? Hah, to be human and have such a stupid ego.

If James Joyce didn’t start as a 20 year old, then does it even matter, any of what he wrote? The only difference is that this is free, public, and real to today, from my perspective. Nothing has ever changed, but what we call relevant. Not even one splinter.

The Internet has become such a great bookshelf, after all. If the only thing posting any of this affords me is the right to be stolen from, let it be a blessing! I would rather give for free than die as a rich woman, because seriously, what the fuck? I still have no idea how Andrew Carnegie could justify becoming so wealthy. He was able to shape the course of history into foundations, but at what price? Many will just call that “personal preference”. I do not by any means hate the rich; I just know that we are all people. And in my experience, I have been most happy with next to nothing; however people would like to interpret that, have at it.

I wonder if Charles Darwin was terribly awkward at the parties of his day. I imagine he must have been. He was just a lucky researcher made famous. What about the research we have waiting and dying in vials, which would change everything with enough dollars? If to bring goodness you have to charge, then do you also bring equally great poverty? Reasons why I keep things simple and volunteer my time and talents. I do not hate money, but I’d like to leave less of a carbon footprint, moral or otherwise.

I still believe that we’ve always had all the knowledge we need to solve the world’s problems, it just boils down to human nature. People had to feed the poor in Medieval England just as people have to feed the poor now. Are the mechanisms we have in place nearly so effective as kindness?

At the same time, between Cotton Mather and the false prophets of today, can there be any difference? Both will tell you to give time, attention, and resources to vague causes based on sensationalism and skeleton dreams. I just think we can do better. If all of this consciousness-raising is really just a race until Jesus returns, can anyone in their right mind claim to have a corner on the market of ideas? I hope not, they’ll just sell it or rent it out, whichever is best kept and easiest endowed.

The only reason anyone rises to fame or falls out of it is that their words were seen as significant for a time. Yes, they resurface here and there and in 8th grade English, but shit, does anyone dare to believe in any of it? Are we just teaching so that the ones that will believe anyways will have a fighting chance? I hope so. They will have to choose anyways someday, as they do every day, I’m sure.

It is such a great relief to me that nothing really changes; I wish that sense of comfort and peace for all people. If you read this and decide to share it, please do, and take it as an offering and nothing else. I am just another person trying to aspire towards humility, and even though I suck at it terribly, I hope that someday it may find some common use if God chooses. Fame is basically garbage and always has been, but writing is catharsis.

Anyways, I hope you have a lovely holiday,

Haley

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haleylol

I am a teacher-to-be who loves people. I am not afraid of many things. I like to explain my thoughts logically on a very birds-eye view level--I was born thinking that way. I follow Jesus Christ, and I accept only that label to describe my identity--that I am a child of God, as are infinite others, regardless of their other identities. Christ is my one thing.

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