Thursday, January 30, 2014

What I learned in 2013.

I did a similar sort of list with 2012 on my xanga, but alas, xanga has had its time. RIP to the blog that harbored my silly 13-year old thoughts through my 22-year old musings. On to the next one.

x. The pokemon Dewgong is named after an actual mammal called a dugong. Was I really slow on the uptake? Did everybody else know about this?? I didn't know dugongs were a real thing.

x. I learned what the houndstooth pattern is. I've always known what it was, but I never knew the name of it until this year.

x. Adults are really no different from children. They throw temper tantrums, they can be very uninhibited and hedonistic, they can be petty, they can be immature. There is no magical age threshold at which one's mentality suddenly changes. It's not on your 40th birthday, it's not on your 30th birthday, it's definitely not on your 21st birthday.

x. I learned how to fill my tires with air. Usually it was done for me at oil changes, but I finally had to do it on my own one unfortunate day in Blacksburg when my tire was, unbeknownst to me, punctured.

x. The clock in the apartment of How I Met Your Mother is always pointed at 4:20pm.

x. Happiness is a state of mind, not a result. I find that being able to point to reasons as to why I'm happy doesn't mean I'm actually happy. Being happy for reasons x and y and z kind of sucks, because reason is susceptible to objections and fallacies and sabotage and can thusly be compromised.

x. Not everybody who is well-spoken and eloquent is smart, and not everybody who has limited vocabulary is stupid. Perhaps this is common sense to people, but I always thought that the more control over language that someone held, the more intelligent they were; I thought eloquence reflected erudition... and boy, was I wrong. Being articulate with your thoughts is still a thing to strive towards, though.

x. NyQuil gets me high. Ask my room mate or any of my best friends that have had to take care of me while I was sick with a cold who dared to make the mistake of giving me NyQuil; I get weird. I think the last time I took it, I found myself eating cantaloupes naked. I also remember crying when someone (I forget who--sorry, whoever you were) kept telling me to keep my clothes on.

x. The difference between arrogance and confidence is entitlement. This was a question I had in last year's list of lessons, whereupon I pondered what exactly the difference was between the aforementioned traits. If you're confident, you know what you are capable of and are at peace with the consequences that brings. If you're arrogant, you know what you are capable of but are deluded of what exactly that entitles you to (i.e. recognition, accolades, or otherwise).

x. The capital of Australia is not Sydney. It's Canberra (pronounced "cambra"). Sydney is the capital of New South Wales, a province of Australia, though. I learned this when a random British man and Australian woman were bantering cheerfully about who knew the capitals of the countries of the world, and the former asked me what the capital of Australia was, and I responded, "Uh... Sydney?" to which he said "Thank you!" as if I were confirming something he'd been arguing for a while. The woman laughed in indignation and said "No! It's 'Cambra'!" and the man replied, "No one's ever heard of this 'Cambra,' stop making things up."

x. I can't control everything. This is a "duh" to a lot of people, but I have lived much of life believing that if I really wanted something and knew it to be feasible, I could make it happen (or even find a way to make it feasible). But some things have to fall into place on their own, not rushed by my hand. What will be, will be. Some people have to realize things on their own, as well; I can't force them to confront demons they are not ready to face. I can't control people, and I shouldn't try to, whether by manipulation or coercion or whatever other tools are at my disposal as a woman.

x. I don't have a "type" of guy I go after, but I can't be with a guy that believes he is smarter than me. Whether he actually IS smarter than me or not isn't the issue here. It's the fact that when somebody believes themselves to be superior to you in some way (in this case, by intellect--which really matters to me), this belief will start manifesting itself in the way that they treat me and talk to me. They will lie to me because they think they know what's better for me than I do (or simply because they think I am not smart enough to figure out their lies); they will try to manipulate me; they will play games with me; they will sneak around because they think they can get away with it; they will be condescending and belittling towards me; and most of all, they will not respect me. Or perhaps I'm jaded...

x. The "DK" in "DKNY" stands for Donna Karan. I don't know why I didn't bother figuring this out sooner. I only found out before Mother's Day when I bought my mom a DKNY handbag, which I remember was her favorite brand when I was growing up. In my head, I always kind of read it as "Donkey Kong New York." Close enough.

x. It's okay not to be okay. As Jessie J says: "Tears don't mean you're losing, everybody's bruising--just be true to who you are." I don't always meet my own expectations. I am weak, I make mistakes--it is nothing to try and cover up. Letting myself be not-okay doesn't mean I'm lowering my standards for myself or that I will fall into a spiraling depression. Rather, it means self-respect; I respect myself enough as a human being capable of insight and learning to allow myself the opportunities that being not-okay can provide, such as hope, resilience, and new perspectives.

x. A relationship should be a celebration of happiness, not a salvation from sadness. I know of a lot of people who get into relationships simply because they are lonely and/or cannot deal with their misery on their own. They think having a girlfriend/boyfriend will make their problems go away, somehow--a "save me from myself" cry. Maybe that works for some people. I just know it doesn't for me, nor do I want to be with anybody that it does work for.

x. Technology, which I thought would bring me closer to people, is somehow making me feel more disconnected. I snapchat people I've only met in person once or twice, if at all. Then comes the time when I meet them in person, and I'm flustered because I have no idea how to interact organically anymore. I only know my phone and keyboard. Not good.

x. It's okay to change your mind and ideologies often. In fact, it's encouraged. Better than being closed-minded and stagnant.

x. Atlantic City is in New Jersey. I don't know why I didn't know this before. I guess I didn't care to ever go? It scares me how many things there are in this list that I never questioned until I learned the truth.

x. There is a first time for everything. Terrifying, but also encouraging.

x. I learned about "primer" in make-up. Go figure such a thing exists in cosmetics, since it exists in paint, and they're pretty much the same thing.

x. I learned that there is an EST and EDT in denoting time on the east coast. I kind of always assumed it was just EST, but EDT is after spring forward, and EST is after fall backward.

x. I learned how to say no and stand up for myself. I learned not to let people guilt-trip me. Never let somebody make you feel bad for wanting something you are absolutely entitled to. If you break up with somebody, don't let the other person make you feel bad for leaving them. If you stop doing favors for somebody, don't let them guilt-trip you into resuming. You are your own person. When you say no and the other person still continues to try and change your mind, it's not up to you to say no in a nicer way, or to word it differently, or to give into certain concessions, or to give up and put their needs before yours. No is no, and the other person shouldn't be trying to control you and your will.

x. I learned why I don't like it when people touch me. I never noticed it before, apart from the instances here and there when I noted that my arm or leg would immediately twitch away if someone brushed up against it unexpectedly--but I thought that was normal. I would tense up but only for a few seconds, and eventually the tactile contact would be forgotten. It wasn't until I read (don't judge me) Fifty Shades of Grey that I realized my reaction to touch wasn't normal and that there is a reason behind my reflexes...

x. For nostalgia purposes, I learned that I should keep a record of my playlists. I label them, e.g. "December 2013," and plan on revisiting them a year or two from whenever I originally made them. It's like an audio time capsule.

x. The way that nails on a chark or forks scratching a plate piss some people, the sound of dry markers skidding on paper and the sound/feeling of wet sponges being squeezed/rubbed against themselves give me goosebumps and make me want to hurt something.

x. Given that your best thoughts come to you before bed, I learned that I should keep notepads and/or my laptop by my side when I sleep so I can record the spontaneous thoughts of fleeting genius that come to me during that limbo when I am just comfortable enough to fall asleep (whereupon I convince myself that I will remember what I am thinking the next morning--which never happens).

x. Don't play games in a relationship. This is where miscommunication and overanalyzing comes from--misinterpretation, trying to stay one step ahead, trying to read between the lines, playing chicken, keeping a poker face while trying to call the other's bluff... It's exhausting. Thoughts like "I won't respond to him the next time he talks to me because he's kept me hanging all day." or "I'm gonna post a picture of me and that girl she's jealous of because she went for drinks with that guy I don't like." are childish, petty, and immature. Stoppp.

x. More often than not, I consult my friends' opinions when I am faced with a decision. I learned, though, that this is my life--my choices. So long as I'm not harming anybody, I should be able to exercise my own volition and trust my own opinions rather than hear about precedents and my friends' opinions. Basically, when it comes to big/difficult decisions, I have to do what I want and what my instincts tell me to do.

x. Until you’re truly in a situation for yourself, there’s no telling what you might do. Even if you know yourself extremely well and you can say “I would do X” in a given Y situation, you might surprise yourself. I know I have. It’s completely different when you’re in the situation for yourself. And knowing this, you are not in a place to judge other people for their choices. Everybody has different priorities, different beliefs, different schemas.

x. Fuck drake for forever taining this, but you really do only live once. I really may never get a "next time," and even if I do, it's not the same as right here, right now, with these people in this place at my age in my current physical/mental state of mind. I should go for those pole-dance lessons at the gym. Buy that piloting lesson on livingsocial and learn to fly a helicopter. Kiss that boy. Kiss that girl, even. Tell him I think he's cute. Try that speed-dating event with my best friend. Go skinny-dipping in the neighborhood pool (check). I can't be afraid of embarrassing myself--at least I'm doing it, and that is more than I could say for myself if I had abstained out of fear. Some people may take this "You only live once" mantra as a cautionary slogan, i.e. that you only get one life so you can't fuck it up. I say fuck up as many times as you need to.

x. When I get stressed out, I immediately feel the urge to poop. An odd defense mechanism. The nervous shits, I call them.

x. People doing good things does not mean they are good people; People doing bad things does not mean they are bad people. You may be good at one role but terrible at another. Somebody could be a great boyfriend, but a terrible son. Somebody can be a detestable socialite, but a wonderful mother.

x. Just because I can doesn't mean I should. It's never been a question; if I can do something, I should do it. This is mostly in pertinence to doing favors for people. But after 23+ years of attending to people all the time, it's exhausted me. I'm tired. Can you be there for me as much as I've been there for you? Can you apologize to me for once, instead of me having to act like it was all my fault? Can you ask me about my day as often as I ask about yours? Yes, I can give more than I take... but that doesn't mean I should.

x. It is not my responsibility nor obligation to look after people. I mean this in the sense of feeling like I have to attend to everybody's well-being in my life. It's not my fault if YOU fuck up your life. If you try to blame me somehow for either "not being there" or otherwise not being accommodating enough, I will tell you to go fuck yourself, because I have my own life, too. A rather busy one, at that. I like being a dependable person, very much. But do not depend directly on me for happiness, because I'm not perfect and am bound to fuck my once in a while myself. Do not burden me with the responsibility of having to look after you. I will be here for you, I will try my best to cheer you up when you are down, but should there come a time when you lash out in resentment against me for not babying or coddling you, then you have some growing up to do. I am all too willing to support my friends, and I try to be there at all times for my friends. But sometimes I don't know how to be there--do you want me to listen? Do you want me to coax and ask you to talk to me and break down your walls without you asking me to do so? Do you want me to just be here at your disposal? Do you want me to actually give you advice? It's unsettling (and infuriating) when I'm censured for not being there in a way you never even told me to be there for you. I almost always have my phone on me, I almost always pick up phone calls no matter what time of day/night it is, I almost always am willing to drive 400+ miles to comfort a friend... but I can't all the time. Is it my fault for creating some illusion that I will always be there? Perhaps. So this is a caveat, then: I won't always be there. Learn to be there for yourself. Interdependence is great; it makes for lasting friendships and solidifies cohesion between people... Relying solely on yourself is also unhealthy, so I'm not saying you should do strictly that, either...but please, please, please do not admonish me for being lost sometimes.

x. In accordance with the previous point, I learned that it's okay to be selfish. Unless I'm actively hurting somebody by being selfish, I think it's healthy to put myself before others sometimes. I hardly ever have breaks for myself, and it became very apparent at the middle to end of 2013; I started burning out. I needed time alone in isolation, but I've never done that before in my entire life, apart from sophomore year of college, and that's only because I actually needed to; my life pretty much depended on it. Silly worries plagued me; what if somebody needs me? What if I miss something in someone's life and I'm dropped from it altogether? What if they think I'm undependable? But it's like I said before--sometimes, I have to say no and set boundaries; I'm only human. Sorry that I'm "your last option" and that "there's nobody else that can do this" for you, but I do not want nor have to do as you request. Do not take me for granted, and do not walk all over me; you will miss me when I'm gone.

x. I'm fairly sure that Karma exists. Of course, this could all be up to interpretation, and it's coincidence--bad things and good things happen to people in and out of turn, after all. But this last Christmas, I learned some rather amusing information about my two most recent exes--both of whom screwed me over pretty hard earlier in the year--and I can't say I'm not a bit delighted, if childishly so.

x. I have to forgive myself in addition to forgiving those who hurt me. If I don't forgive them, I give them power over me--power over my well-being, my thoughts, my energy, my positivity. I expect minimal mistakes and borderline perfection from myself in many things, and to fall victim to being hurt or used makes me feel very inadequate. But again, I can't control everything...

x. Number one lesson: It's okay to fuck up. In fact, it is encouraged. The remorse and guilt and other self-deprecating feelings are what truly ingrain the conviction of the schemas of life that you want to live by; mistakes are just lessons learned. It's like Lily in HIMYM says: "There are certain things in life where you know it's a mistake but you don't really know it's a mistake because the only way to really know it is a mistake is to make that mistake and look back and say, 'Yup, that was a mistake.' So really, the bigger mistake would be to not make the mistake because then you'll go your whole life not really knowing if something is a mistake or not." I'm fairly sure this is a lesson I will keep learning; I have to learn to forgive myself...

The first month of 2014 is coming to a close already.

1 comment:

  1. Donkey Kong New York. LOLOLOL

    On that note, it's always great reading your posts. (: I'm glad you learned a lot in 2013, and I'm sure you'll learn a lot more in 2014 and continue to be great.

    <3 ~~**__