What is love? (Baby, don’t hurt me)

So recently I’ve had a few inspirational experiences. I’m not sure if “inspirational” is the right word, but it’s all I have right now. I’ll spare you the gory details and maybe share some of my thoughts/reflections.

What is love? For centuries, millennia even, that question has befuddled the most intelligent of people. I like to think I have a pretty strong grip on the concept of love and maybe you’ll agree, maybe you won’t.

-Silvius, As You Like It by Shakespeare

Love. There doesn’t have to be an agreement where you see your loved ones every day. If you know in your heart that you love him/her and that she/he loves you back, that should be enough. Military families go months (years?) without seeing their loved ones. How is it that I see military couples, happily married after sending their loved ones off to serve over-seas dozens of times, still happily in love if seeing each other every day is a requirement of love? Oh wait, it’s not required. You just love someone. You miss them when they’re not there and you’re happy when you see them. That’s how it works.

Love. I think it’s supposed to be something you can have and do other things at the same time. Multitasking, people. Yes, college is a time when a person can and should spend time finding his/herself, who he/she truly is and what he/she truly believes. If you think that love is something that needs to be put on hold while you’re journeying to find yourself, or even vice versa, you’re wrong. I think that it’s an incredible gift to be able to share the most exciting, important journey of your life with your best friend and you should absolutely do these two things at the same time if you’re lucky enough to love someone during such a crucial turning point in your life. If you’re being true to yourself when you’re with that person you love, you should feel, not held back by their presence alongside yourself in this self-discovery, but rather even more fulfilled by their companionship.

“We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another.”

-Thomas Merton

In life, it’s normal to get lonely. When you truly love someone, you’re never actually alone. That person is in your heart, as awfully corny and clichéd as that sounds. With every action you take and every word you speak, that person is present whether they know that or not, but you know it, you never forget that.

At the point in my life where I’m really starting to find myself (so far I like to think I’m pretty independent and strong, but we’ll see) I don’t NEED the company of another to make my life complete, but I want it with my heart and soul and I go out-of-the-way to show it every day. I’m self-reliant, I’m self-sustaining, I’m ambitious, and I’m independent; that doesn’t mean I deserve to be alone.

The ambitious people deserve to be loved too.

Sorry if that was excessively ranty. Had to let it out. Thanks for sticking with me through my temper tantrum. I promise it doesn’t happen very often.
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Why Craig Ferguson has my heart

Lately, I’ve been struggling with content, but I finally found something that I need to post or else I will be genuinely angry at myself. It’s not that I can’t come up with content (I’ve never sat at my computer and asked myself what I should write about) or that I don’t have the time to sit down and write (well, that’s some of it), but it’s mostly that I’m so self-conscious about what I think it worthy of sharing with people. I really need to get over it because I love writing and I really shouldn’t care how many likes it gets or page views. It’s just so hard to ignore that stuff sometimes and if you’re not careful it can become a measure of self-esteem and, trust me, it’s a downward spiral you don’t want to be in when you love writing as much as I do. Anyway, this is completely irrelevant.

I found something today that slapped me in the face and then hugged- no, it crushed all the superficial, insignificant worries out of my body. I have always had heaps of respect for Craig Ferguson. The man is a hero in so many aspects. Okay, so I found this clip from one of his show a little over 3 years ago (before I was able to actually enjoy my time awake at night by watching late night talk shows because I was too busy doing gobs of homework), it speaks for itself. My heart aches, in the greatest sense of the word, for this man’s talent and his integrity. Please watch. I apologize for the video quality.

By the way, I found this video as supplementation to an article about Justin Bieber on NPR. Go, NPR!

Think Different

In 1997 Apple Inc. created a new advertising slogan, “Think Different.” I was really affected by the original concept of the campaign and the philosophy it reflects. The original text is below. I found it on Wikipedia.

Apple Inc. Think Different advertising slogan in 1997.

Apple Inc. Think Different advertising slogan in 1997.

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward.
Maybe they have to be crazy.
How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?
We make tools for these kinds of people.
While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.
 

In the past year I’ve experienced so much, not even a fraction of what life has to offer. It’s overwhelming, but I think I’ve figured out what I want to do with my life and that is change the world. There’s so much wrong in this world that doesn’t have to be. I’ve been joking recently that my to-do list gets longer and longer with every mention of world news and how am I going to save the world when the world is working so hard to prevent being saved. I know it’s not a one person job, but talking about it this way makes me feel obligated, responsible to affect change- or at least try. I have one whole life to live and when I’m gone, everything I wanted and everything I had will be inconsequential. I’ve always been passionate about living my life for others, but I think the idea really embedded itself into me since I’ve arrived here at Virginia Tech. With all the opportunities for self-discovery and learning about others, it’s hard not to come away with the idea that we are not alone in this world, so why live only for ourselves? Anyway… I digress.

Steve Jobs was a great, smart man. In 1994 he spoke in a documentary by PBS, offering his wisdom. Like Jobs, I’ve seen a trend in the way people approach the idea of “life” in that it is an existing, predetermined structure, that we are all pieces in the game and we follow the path to the Candy Castle or we get stuck in the Molasses Swamp on the way. That’s not true at all. I like to believe that we can affect the game board; that we are the path, not the pieces. As Jobs put it, “when you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world… That’s a very limited life.” I want my life to be broader than those smothered by this simple idea that the world is unchangeable. It’s not. I, like Jobs, want to change life to make it better.

I want “to shake off this erroneous notion that life is there and you’re just gonna live in it, versus embrace it, change it, improve it, make your mark upon it.”

Though I haven’t figured out what medium through which I’ll attack all the messed up things in this world, whether it’s through pursuing a degree in higher education and working to reform the cookie cutter university model, or bringing my fresh ideas based in ethics to the world of corporate finance, or flying to Nepal to work with orphan children and pursue my purely humanitarian interests. All I have in mind is the end goal for now. I’m going to change the world and I’m going to stray from the path on the game board; I’m taking the Gumdrop Pass (whatever I decide it will be).

Religion: wisdom from the Dalai Lama

Quote

“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”

– the Dalai Lama

His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet.

His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet.

Ctrl+F and the chronicles of Nerd Girl

Me (right) dressed up for Nerd Day in high school.

Me (right) dressed up for Nerd Day in high school.

Whenever someone asks “If you could have a super power, what would it be?” my response is always “I want to be able to use the Ctrl+F function of computers in real life situations.”

I loose things a lot, more like misplace things. I like to call what I do “hiding things from myself” and I’m really good at it. I once managed to lose an important paper my teacher passed out in class within a matter of seconds. I was holding it and the next second it was gone… I couldn’t find it anywhere and it actually really creeped me out. I never saw it again.

So the Ctrl+F function is my favorite thing about computers because it allows me to find anything I want without having to put in too much effort. Reading an essay for class and writing a follow-up paper on… let’s say women in the media? No problem. Use Ctrl+F to find whatever evidence you need to support your argument that women are underrepresented in the media, but they’re such bad asses.

So if it were possible, my super power would be to employ the function Ctrl+F in my daily life. I know what you’re thinking, “this girl must lose her keys all the time and hopes that she’ll be able to find them with Ctrl+F.” I will admit that at one point in my high school career, my parents had at least 10 back-up keys made for me because it was inevitable that I’d lose most of them. However cool it may be to not have to worry about where I’m putting things down, like my keys for example, I could use it for all sorts of things.

After I’ve found my third set of lost keys from high school,  maybe I’m pretty worn out and I’ve lost my motivation to do homework or study for the exam I have tomorrow. Losing my motivation happens frequently so if I were able to Ctrl+F to find the motivation to continue to do well in school and complete my assignments on time, that would be just wonderful.

Another problem I have fairly often is losing my direction in life. I know I want to save the world, but sometimes I just see myself working for a huge corporation that  cares about money and profit more than the well-being of society as a whole. I sometimes find myself conflicted in the way I picture myself in the future- what I’ll be doing, where I’ll be, who I’ll be with. If I could Ctrl+F to clarify what I’m really hoping to get out of life and how to get there, that would just be wonderful too.

Sometimes after making a poor decision or regretting the way I handled a situation, I fear that I’m losing touch with my values, who I am. That’s the scariest part of growing up. You’re finally beginning to figure out who you are and what that means, but you can’t guarantee from one day to the next that you’ll still want to be that person. What if the world sees your compassion and desire to please others as vulnerability and walks all over you. You’d become cynical. You’d lose touch with your values to compensate for your so-called vulnerabilities and fight back against the ones who are pushing you around. Sorry, I went on a rant because I’m experiencing a little bit of this right now in my life. So wouldn’t it be just wonderful to be able to press the Ctrl+F sequence on your keyboard to reaffirm your values and remind you why you value compassion and understanding- keeping you moving in the right direction!

BUT PLEASE don’t think I’m selfish. I would share my talents with anyone who needed them. I could help that underprivileged youth who’s lost his way and ended up in a dangerous situation to reevaluate his decisions and find his direction in life. I could help the corrupt politicians in the world find their values and use their positions of authority for the good of the whole people, to enact change that makes my job of saving the world a little easier. This power has so many useful applications in today’s world, I can’t even stand the fact that it’s not possible.

Saving the world with Ctrl+F. It’s my dream. You can call me Nerd Girl if you want.

Confessions of my teenage smoke screen…

I have something that I really need to get off my chest. I hate writing. I hate it because I’m scared of it.

I’m self-conscious of my narrative voice when it comes out too obnoxiously or not at all and my writing starts to sound like it belongs in a professional email. I’m scared that people are judging me, especially when I share my blog posts and news articles over social media. I’m scared that I don’t write often enough and that I’ll lose my talent, whatever talent I have. I’m worried that I don’t see or feel my so-called talent at all, that I only consider myself talented in writing because of what others have told me. I’m worried they’re just being nice by saying that I’m a good writer. I’m scared because I don’t believe them. I’m scared of my high expectations of myself. I’m scared of failure.

I love my blog and I love writing for the Collegiate Times. I love putting thoughts into words with a passion, so much so that it actually becomes a huge source of anxiety for me. I want my “baby,” my creation, to be absolutely perfect. I want my whole heart and soul to shine through my words and fill those reading it with warmth and strength. I want to affect change. I want to inspire people. I have unreasonably high expectations of my writing, as well as every other aspect of my life. I expect every news article and every blog post I write to be profound and moving. I feel like unless my writing is philosophical or ontological, it’s really not worth anyone’s time. If the words don’t transcend the simple, superficial ideas most writers find in writing prompts, if the words don’t have some sort of deeper, affecting meaning, why write it at all? Any writer could tell a story of the date of his/her dreams. I’m not special. But I cling to the simplicity of my experiences, no matter how trivial, because they’re easy- unsatisfying, but easy. I’m too scared to aim higher, to explore more meaningful, more fulfilling topics. I’m scared of a grand failure. I’m scared that my experiences don’t warrant wisdom or the discussion of complex ideas; I’m nineteen. Simple ideas are safer. But then who cares about my first day of school and what it meant for me?

And who am I writing for?

I feel that I’m too reliant on the recognition of others. I thrive on the numbers; page views and comments.

Are the readers who I’m writing for?

Shouldn’t I be writing for me?

Or should I be writing for the idea, because I feel passionate about something?

I have so many thoughts buzzing around inside my head that when it actually comes time to write, I become overwhelmed. I can’t write. I won’t write. I don’t write.