Be Truthful, Gentle, and Fearless

The title of this post is a quote from Gandhi. It’s a quote I saw on Pinterest at some point not too long ago, and it instantly inspired me. As most quotes do, this left me feeling introspective about what exactly these words meant to me. My interpretation and meaning may not be the same as yours, but that’s fine. That’s how these things work.

Truthfulness, to me, has a lot to do with vulnerability. I’m not always good at that. Acting and theatre were a huge part of my childhood and growing up. It’s no coincidence that I am comfortable with using acting as a safety net. Throughout my life, I’ve made it through social situations and meeting new people and surviving group projects by being a person that I knew would do well in the situation at hand. This has always left me feeling disconnected and distant from a lot of people I’ve met in my life. I still pick up on times that I’m doing it. It’s just this past year that I’ve really been feeling progress towards being myself regardless of what situations I find myself in. It’s made a big difference, and I’m really proud of myself for learning how to be truthful to myself. This may not have made much sense, but that’s okay.

Gentleness is often construed as an unhelpful quality, and we are told that we have to be tough to “make it” or that we need to pretend like nothing gets under our skin. Not caring has become regarded as being so  “cool” and nonchalant. Not caring has been praised, preached, and pretended. While there is certainly  something to be said about being resilient, I think there is an aversion or maybe even a stigma to caring too much about anything these days. In reality, what I really admire is people caring a whole darn lot. It’s brave. It’s inspiring. It’s passionate.

And, fearlessness? Where can that even fall into my normal life – I’m not a soldier or a missionary or a cutthroat journalist or a revolutionary.

I’m not used to thinking that fearlessness has ever really been a concept that I can play into my own life, especially not day-to-day. Sure, there may be plenty of things I’m scared of (disappointing people I love, intimidating professors, and the classic show-up-to-class-and-there’s-an-exam-I-knew-nothing-about nightmare), but what am I really fearful of? I think, at least at this point in my life, the things I really feel fearful about seem to be more abstract and unknown and undefined (maybe the abstract and unknown is scary itself).

My life is on the edge of, well, a lot. 2014 is one big, challenging, and momentous year for me. This year, I will be (somehow) making it through a semester with four 4-credit, writing-intensive courses; I will be graduating; I will be getting married (and planning the whole thing); I will be moving out of my parents’ place; I will be getting a new job (or two?); I will be apartment hunting in the fall for a second place for me to move to this year. The list can go on as long as I let it. There’s a lot that’s coming at me, whether I feel ready for it or not.

This past year, I’ve tried to become more open to being uncomfortable and being outside of my comfort zone. Looking at what I’ve been through in college, and the year ahead of me, I’m starting to think that life is just one big challenge of our comfort zones and limitations. In 2015, I’m sure there will be a whole slew of new decisions for me to make and things for me to adjust to. And the same in 2016. It’ll probably never end. Knowing this, accepting it, and standing up tall to face the challenge (even if I don’t “feel ready”) is what fearlessness means to me.

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12/12/12 (with 12 Days ’till Christmas)

In spirit of the day, here’s 12 things I… well, just 12 things.

1. It looks like I can start working through the application process to go to London next fall to study for a semester!

2. I swear the Thought Catalog knows my life and publishes pieces that are eerily applicable to my life all the time.

3. Parenthood, the TV show, is perfect and gives me all sorts of feelings and I think everyone should be friends with my friends who are the characters on the show.

4. I don’t think I’m the only one who can say this, but I really wish I still thought Christmas is magic and that it brings miracles and that everything is magically okay and easy and no one feels out of place anywhere including me.

5. I really hope 2013 beings better and more promising that 2012 did. I am looking forward to that.

6. Random fact: I need to get back to focusing my health after exam week. New Year’s resolutions to jump start and all that.

7. Oh yeah! EXAMS ARE OVER. I made it. I don’t know my grades just yet but I’m done with this semester and I’m so very much enjoying having no responsibilities when I’m not at work and being able to sleep in until unreasonable hours.

8. Should I be done with my Christmas shopping? Are normal people done with their Christmas shopping yet?

9. I want more money but I don’t want to work more. Hrmm.

10. There’s a play I want to audition for and the role that I am best suited for as far as description, but… “she is age 18-40: Very pretty, kooky, with large horn-rimmed glasses. Quick to strip down to her underwear, and then runs around wrapped only in a sheet.” Yeahhhhh. That last part won’t fly. Shame.

11. It’s time for bed right now but I have to finish this list.

12. Today was rough. This week/month/semester has been rough. Time for a sleep coma.

And goodnight.

The post that was harder to write than I thought, and is a little more personal than I’d like.

My sister has got it figured out. Her first job was a summer internship at the place my dad works at. In the Fall, they asked her to stay with them, and soon offered her to be full-time. She never had to put in applications all over town, or go job hunting on a rainy day, running into every store in strip malls asking if they’re hiring. She moved out as soon as she turned eighteen. Like I could ever imagine affording that. She just got married at age twenty in March of 2010. She never had to go through a post-graduation, pre-anything-meaningful-in-life, quarter-life crisis or anything. Not only is her life fulfilling, simplistic, and everything she’d always wished it would be, it’s everything I wished my life would be.

There she is, happily married, has always had an enjoyable and rewarding job, loving being a wife and cooking and working out and trying new things, driven, and being exactly where she feels she is meant to be. And here I am. I graduated High School last summer, and then went away to a wonderful school that I loved, only to be flipped on my head. My Vocal Performance major, which had been all I had known, ended up not being what I loved or thrived doing. Linguistics, my new focus, was not offered as a degree at that school. Also, it turned out that I actually felt limited and trapped on campus rather than the “Go, be free and independent!” that freshman year of college is supposed to promise.

So I came home. I transferred to my local community college, taking some courses that will work towards my degree (nothing specialized, unfortunately – just Spanish, film, English Comp, etc.). Now, I NEVER imagined myself being here. I still kind of can’t believe I’m here. Unlike my sister, I am exactly where I never hoped or thought or imagined I would be. I’m going to community college. I’m working a part-time job, to make money, to buy gas, to drive to my part-time job. I then come home, where I live with my parents, and put up with three obnoxious, past-their-cute-prime, eat-my-favorite-articles-of-clothing dogs. I have a car that thinks going into the shop once a week is a spa treatment – seriously, it’s been in the shop three or four times in one month.  I didn’t just come back home to figure out what to do next, or to work and get my degree, I came home to an unfriendly not-so-welcome into the grown-up world of court dates, used car shopping, boss issues, and realizing just how unaffordable and tedious being a grown up is.

I’ve been feeling a heck of a lack of drive. There’s no diploma I’m working for, or a career I can’t wait to start and do things with, or anything like that. The next thing in life I’m really looking forward to or excited about is getting married, starting a family, being a good housewife and mom and cooking and laughing. But it’ll be quite some time until I (or my significant other) can afford a wedding and place to live. And so it’s turned to myself. The only thing I can think to set goals with is to work out X many times a week, or tone up this or that part of my body. But even that gets old and tiring and discouraging.

My mom’s been bugging me about getting back into extracurricular activities that I loved in high school, which are not as easy or simple to get involved with or that have a point as when they’re run by your school (for example, working towards a recital or concert or opening night of the Spring musical). There is an audition for a play I’m going to do, but that’s in June (and as I’m writing this, it just hit me that maybe my week away in Georgia to see my best friend in July might hinder that involvement. I know a lot of times, they want some one who will be at every rehearsal – especially for any role bigger than “Chorus Dancer #6” or “Frightened Inmate #3”). I’ve been encouraged to call my high school voice teacher to begin lessons again – which I probably will, and I’ll enjoy it, but it’ll just be to pass the time. I know now that I don’t want a vocal arts career and so I don’t know if I’ll see much reason to it other than to just further improve my skills for… what, exactly?

When I put in a lot of job applications around town when I first transferred back home, two places were interested: a sandwich shop in the town right down the road, and the Cafe I work at now, which offered me an interview and job sooner than the former had. That being said, the sandwich shop did call me twice about an interview, but I had to tell them I just couldn’t add on another job with being in school and already working part time. However, now that school is over, I called them and asked about an interview to possibly add it on as a second job. But they seemed hesitant about reconciling my current sporadic schedule and about the number of people they already have that will discontinue their employment there in the fall when school starts up again (I’ll probably just go on with my current job and school schedule, like I did last semester), and that they would call me back. And I don’t know if I really want them to ask me to come in. I don’t know if I want a second job because I might as well make money if I have time on my hands, or if I think it could be fun or if I actually don’t want it but for some reason think it might be enough of a change in my life to make things interesting. I might have a new goal of learning how things worked and the recipes and the menu. I just don’t know.

So this is where I’m left. To all of you who have it figured out and are happy and fulfilled with your lives, congratulations. You’re very fortunate to be in your position and I hope it continues to give you many years of contentment. And for all those like me, I’m sure we’ll get through and something exciting and meaningful will happen to us eventually.

And I’m just trying to figure out where to go from here.

2009

So 2009 has started out as the best year of my life.  I have so many great things going on for me. Here’s a genera overview of my life in 2009:

1. I MADE MARIA IN MY SCHOOL’S PRODUCTION OF THE SOUND OF MUSIC!!!

2. I’m really making friends and loving meeting people in the play. I told one of my fellow choir girls, “I’m excited about acting wih my friends and making friends with the people I’m acting with.”

3. [Private]

4.  I don’t know if this is good or not, but I’m kind of adjusting to being an only child?  Yes, I still have those moments where I’m like, “Oh, I can’t wait to tell Deanna this!” or “I need her opinion on what to say to this guy ASAP!” and I can’t, but I’m kinda getting used to it.

5. For instance, she doesn’t know that I’m starting a music project with a guy I met at auditions for the musical. But she does now.  Because she’s read this.  ;]

7. I’ve really noticed an improvement in my singing, and especially my nerves. They’ve definitely curved. I still get nervous, but it’s pretty much my body flipping out; I can calm my mind pretty well.

8. The term is almost over. That means no more Chemistry after next Friday! And I get to start out fresh in AP History.

9. My goldfish still arent dead? I haven’t cleaned their tank since summer, probably, I feed them only once a day if I remember, they’re in my old room so I never see them. I’m the worst fish mama ever and they’re still alive. I bet it’s because they can’t help but love me so much.

10. I’ve recovered. Last year, I really had a “funk” going on. I was angry, constantly self-conscious, I had zero confidence (which was reflected in pretty much every part of my life), I had no friends at school, I freaked out over my grades (all A’s, but if it was an A- or a B, I would pretty much cry), I was depressed, my mom and I fought all the time.  I’m better! Like, 110%!  Like I said at the beginning of this post, this has started off being the best year of my life. I’ve been happy (when people ask how I am, I honestly answer “good”!) and confident, and I make friends all the time.   =]

11. I think I’ve figured out what I want to do with my life.  I really think musical theatre. I LOVE acting. I LOVE singing. So.. why not put them together?  All the other things on my list of possible career interests can be part time jobs, or jobs while I go around auditioning, or hobbies. 

12. Unfortunately, I have to leave for school now. Which means sitting through all my classes until rehearsal (after school). So school takes forever now, because I can’t wait to practice. 

What’s your 2009 been like so far?