Wow, just wow.
Only about 100 students a year, across the nation, get a perfect score of 240. (The PSAT Score Report)
I find that very hard to believe.
Critical Reading 80
Writing Skills 80
This is really cool. ;) I only hope that source isn't too inaccurate, and that this doesn't screw up my ego...lol.
Edit: Critical Reading, not Creative Writing. Can't believe nobody called me on that.
Hey there, everyone.
This afternoon I got a message from Gaia on Facebook saying that she's really not interested in me at all even though I'm a "great person," and she hopes that I understand. Ugh.
I'm absolutely miserable and my life is turning upside down. I don't know what to do with it now. She's literally changed my life and now there's a big hole in it that I can only fill with prayer. She's an absolutely amazing person and I meant to make a blog entry sometime around now just praising her and talking about how awesome she is for heart's ease. I will still probably do that, but now it will seem half like a death knell to me as I write it.
I'm not really surprised. I was pretty sure she wasn't very interested in me, but I hoped that she would eventually grow to like me more as we got to know each other better, or something. The play that I'm writing for her seemed a decent equalizer (that doesn't seem like the right word) for that. This message struck me very hard. She wasn't at all bad about it - she couldn't have been gentler while still seeming herself and not compromising the message. Maybe it's better that she didn't leave tiny strings of hope attached, even though I've already built those myself. This way I don't torment myself even more with not knowing, worrying until my brain explodes.
I wasn't at all mad when I got the message. She shouldn't have tried to make herself 'like' me, even if she wanted to. There is zero blame in this scenario, or rather zero for her. I could have been more appealing; I could have tried harder to stutter less when talking to her one-on-one. I'm quite an appealing person IRL, good-looking, funny, etc., but when I get nervous I'm obviously less so. I have no idea how one makes oneself attractive, if that's even really possible. If it makes any sense. Even if I could have changed this for the better by trying harder (or less hard) myself, though, there's no sense thinking of what might have been. What might have been is a nonentity. It does not exist, and it never will. Perhaps we'll be together in the future one day. I hope so. I can't let go, and although I know better, it doesn't seem like I ever will.
Ugh, I'm so depressed. A year ago I would have taken this out on someone, or at least openly sulked to get attention. That's what I'm sort of doing now, but at least I'm not changing my signature to "Fail" and linking it to this page. I need to talk to someone, but I don't know who. I talked to my mom, but she's too close to help all that much. Perhaps this doesn't seem like a big deal to a lot of you, but I'm sure I care about Gaia more than many guys care about their girlfriends. This is depressing, and it's a good thing there's a half day tomorrow because I'm going to need a long sleep to recover part of my wits.
I was getting my hair cut to look nicer for youth group (for her, pretty much) while she sent me this message, ironic? She wasn't there, double ironic. Ugh, I'm so depressed.
I sent her a really nice PM in response, which I hope touches her. I hope it makes her feel better, not worse - because from the sound of it and her Facebook post a little later she's not feeling too happy right now either. I hope she feels better than I do.
My life has a huge hole in it, what will I do? :P I know this is adolescent and immature of me to be worried about a relationship between two people in the middle of high school, but I can't help it, and it's normal.
...and no, it's nothing so controversial as abortion. :o I don't think I'll do that again. :o
Okay, so lately I've been more and more worried about my ego. For a while I thought that I was really nice and all that, and being tolerant, and all that, and a pretty good representation of Christians on Sal's (although parts of me and other people both disagree with me on how important that is). I knew that I was lazy, but I was willing to tolerate that and put resolving it off. But today I had another thought.
What if I'm just delighting in my self-approval? I've been thinking about that for awhile, but today it hit me more strongly. That "Klingon Bible" topic was not to make fun of the people who wrote it - I just thought that it was funny; I didn't think I was better than the people who wrote it. In fact, it takes genius to write that sort of thing. :P However, I feel like I've been "living through my humility," if you know what I mean. I've been happy that I feel humble, and happy to word things two-sidedly in the Debate Room.
Also, I've been having more and more doubts about my views on homosexuality being fine - what if it's not? Nobody who reads my blog dislikes it, so I should be fine posting this. :s I don't have "homophobia" - but I did feel very uncomfortable when two girls were discussing near me at lunch how disgusting anti-homosexual people are. I shouldn't have, but I did. I've also been having doubts about my hetrosexuality, which is normal at this point in life, from what I've heard. But all biases aside, I honestly don't want to be bisexual. It's not for me. I admire several people on this forum who are bisexual and homosexual, but I still worry. It's odd, and decidedly unpleasant.
So I'd just like to know - what are my bad points? I know it's selfish to keep having these blog entries about myself, and rarely comment in anybody elses, and I can help it. I just don't feel particularly inclined to post in anybody's blog at the minute, even though I am interested in what people are doing. And I'm going to bed now, anyway.
Hopefully I'll see a post here in the morning. :o
Good luck everyone, and God bless, if you don't mind. :s
I usually don't target blog entries at individual people, but I want you to know how freaking annoyed I am at you. Really? You seriously think you can talk that way about the DMs? I was in favor of getting rid of the group myself, but it'd be a joke to do that when they're behaving in a more distinguished way than some of the current mods. Hopefully the admins come to their senses and demote you and Yuan, because you're both way out of control and frankly you both deserve a long suspension. I almost suspended you for a short period of time as it is; I only held back because I've never warned a fellow staff member before and I didn't want to go too far - one step (or seven steps, as it were) is enough at once.
Yuan, I would have warned you too, but for some reason you have mod powers now (idk when you got them back, presumably 5 minutes before you started acting like a total moron), so I obviously can't. Anyway, consider this a warning: I'm done with you. If you and Venom are still on the staff in a week, which I can't imagine, I'm definitely not sticking around on Sals. I'm already too busy IRL, and I hear back from Dartmouth tomorrow afternoon. I don't really have time for this forum anyway, and I can keep in touch with all of my friends via MSN. Maybe I'll make a special exception for Mafia, but that's it.
Anyway, consider this a goodbye. I've posted this in public so that everyone can see my intentions. I'm sorry that I'm leaving when so many cool people are coming back, but I can't stand this place much longer. The mod forum has been a hellhole for the past few weeks, months really, and the DM Halls aren't much better.
Happy October everyone.
Why do they exist? Why are certain things suddenly everyone's business? And why has everything turned into a spiderweb of respect and annoyance and lack thereof?
I'm sure most of us have enough drama in our personal lives without creating more online and arguing and feuding with each other.
I don't know what exactly I'm criticizing, if I'm correct or if I have a right to comment at all. But as an extremely broad statement aimed at everybody, regardless of whether or not they need to hear it:
Before you comment on something, double-check and make sure you're saying what you want to be saying. It could prevent a feud or two, at the very least. We could use less drama and more ... normal. Whatever that is.
If you're looking for a witty picture or an amusing anecdote or few, then you're not going to find any here. I feel like Lemony Snicket saying this, but if you want to read something pleasant, go elsewhere. This is a whiny, pathetic blog entry. It's pathetic. I'm writing it because I need to get this out and I don't want to bore anyone by complaining directly to them, and it's much simpler to get it down here. Unlike other blog entries, I won't be especially sorry if this receives little traffic. It's not something I want the world to read about, but it's not something I can keep bottled up, either. I'll probably make it a draft in a few weeks. Then only Jamster, Kyle, Sparhawke, Neo and Xaria can read it, but since none of them, to the best of my knowledge, have ever visited my blog, it'll probably never be read again. All I ask is that if you haven't already left, don't be turned off my blog because of this one lame entry. I'm in a bad mood, and that will probably change. I can't see how anything will change in the near future, but what do I know?
All day the word "pathetic" has bounced around in my head. Possibly more than any day before in my life, and usually applying to myself. That in itself is somewhat pathetic. In fact, most things today were, in some way, pathetic. Except for anything remotely academic, fortunately, which is most school stuff. My classes were unusually good, possibly because I was praying so hard constantly for the beginning of the morning. That's what I do when I'm absolutely depressed. Depending on who's reading this, you might think that, too, is pathetic. It's not, but whatever.
I'd better start from the beginning. As you probably know if you've read my blog recently, I'm obsessed with a certain girl. In a long blog entry that I never finished and consequently didn't publish, I gave her the pseudoname of Dani. It was funny in context, it's probably not going to be funny now. Unless Dani actually reads this. Oh well.
Anyway, in Valentine's Week, I sent her a package that arrived the day before Valentine's Day. The package contained a CD that held some peaceful instrumental music and a Microsoft Word note that said, "Dear [Dani], You are completely and totally awesome. From an admirer." In Braille, with musical notes for dots. There was a nice sunrise background, transparent but easily visible. In case you didn't know, you can get a background to your Microsoft Word documents by going to Format > Background > Printed Watermark, then selecting a picture to put in. She liked it, according to an email she sent me. I hadn't signed my name, but she knew it was me. Nobody else near us would do something that ridiculous. :D
I'd hoped she would come to the Valentine's Day dinner my church was putting on - a huge gourmet dessert with a movie (Fireproof) playing afterwards, for romantic couples. We've worked together at church events before. But this time she didn't, which was lousy. It almost ruined my whole evening, but I felt so helpful that it turned out okay. Being tall, I helped put up the lights, which people said looked awesome, and I was a "pen waiter." I went around carrying pens to people for surveys about their significant others, then collected them and handed out prizes. It was the atmosphere that made it tolerable in my disappointment about not having seen her - I saw her at the public library a little before the event, but hadn't stopped to chat besides saying hi and stuff, because I was leaving and thought I would see her there. The people were nice, and the after-dinner entertainment was hilarious. Still, I kept thinking to myself wryly that I was a waiter in more than one sense of the word, and hoped that what I was waiting for would eventually come.
I want to love her. I really do. But all I can say now is that I really, really like her because I barely ever get to talk to her and know her better. And I might have more often, but right now, I feel more pathetic than anything else.
About the email she sent me: I replied back to it on Wednesday night, after youth group. I didn't tell her I liked her, but I gave her a synopsis of what had happened in youth group that night. A guy had visited us and told us about his terrible experiences with sexuality - basically, he used girls all the time and slept around, manipulating his girlfriends... You get the idea. Then I spent a bit of time talking about how that had gotten to me and mentioned a few slightly personal things about that, like that I'd struggled with sexual thoughts in the past and looked at a questionable picture on purpose once. Probably nobody who is very likely to read this entry will take issue with that. I didn't think she would, either. But I don't know why else, maybe, she's avoiding me.
The whole thing, again, seems pathetic. I feel pathetic for sending that email. It was tactful (my mom actually read it :( ), I think, but she might have felt slightly uncomfortable getting it. I probably made it sound worse than it was, but still, I'm prone to being irrationally hard on myself. When I think of it or read it, I just snap angrily at myself and mutter violent threats to myself. I do that all the time; it's almost unconscious. One of my favorite practically involuntary threats is "I'm going to impale you with a giant sequoia, Emanick." Because it doesn't make any sense at all... :D (I don't take my own death very seriously. It's not that I'm naive and think I'm "immortal," but I generally look forward to dying more than I fear it or anything. Heaven will be a lot more fun than being here.)
Back to the point. She wasn't there at youth group on Wednesday (although I sent the email after that). Apparently she knew that beforehand though, because she said in the email she sent me, "See you on Sunday," implying that she knew she wouldn't be there by Monday afternoon, the time of sending. (I don't know why; last week was vacation, and it's not like she has a weekly activity on Friday nights. She's usually there.) She might have been at the brunch I was invited to with the rest of the youth group on Friday. I don't know; I couldn't make it. I went to meet up with some friends I only really see at summer camp, which wasn't as fun as I could have hoped - we watched an extremely sexual movie (no nudity or anything, but it half ruined the humor for me) and then they decided to write music that made fun of Christian songs. I had fun while I was there, most of the time, but there don't seem to be any residual happy memories from the day. Anyway, I don't know whether to hope she was or wasn't. All I care about is that she didn't avoid going because I might be there, or go because she heard I wouldn't be there. Over most things about her I would feel guilty for putting my concerns over hers, but this is such a small thing and it matters so much to me.
Then on Sunday, she wasn't even in the service. I checked the bulletin, but she didn't have to work in the nursery to watch over the little kids or do anything else. I saw her in Sunday School (which is freakin' awesome, and really fun, and we all hate the name "Sunday School" but haven't bothered to think of anything better), and I didn't wind up talking to her much. I really wanted to, but was it my imagination, or did she not want to talk to me much at all? :P I don't know. I really don't know.
During the lunch we always have after church I talked to her a little, but not much. This was when I really got the worry that she didn't want to talk to me. And this is when I started being pathetic, because I wandered off to go to the bathroom and just stayed away from the action, trying to figure out what was going on. I often feel caught these days between being older than my age and younger than my age. Either I'm acting as a leader or a follower, responsible, behaving as an adult, or I'm being an immature schoolboy or an overemotional toddler or a pubescent kid being naive. I can never figure out exactly how to act my age. How do you act like a fifteen-year-old? Is there even a way? Does everyone switch between an immature kid and an adult at this age? That sounds very likely, but it doesn't make me any happier about it.
Eventually I had the one-on-one class I've had with a man who's been a mentor to me for years. We generally just talk about the Narnia books, but he was the first person I told about feeling in love. Besides Evin, that is. (If you're reading this, Evan, thanks for doing so.) He's very supportive, but he hasn't been very helpful. (Nor was he this time, although it felt better to talk about it.) To be honest, nobody really has. I get the feeling that nobody I've talked to about this has any better idea of what I should do than I do, and I don't know at all. Maybe I should ask Dani herself, but I don't want to put her on the spot. Yeah, I shouldn't. But I still feel pathetic.
I got up this morning with a heart full of lead, and from dawn I began planning this blog entry. It was pretty much the whole thing that kept me going today. Pathetic. That and a story I wrote yesterday for my CW (Creative Writing) class. It's based around the theme of "Twenty Years Later," which essentially means we talk about meeting someone we know in twenty years, whether from our perspective or somebody else's. I picked my teacher, who is one of the nicest teachers I've had and already pretty close to retirement age. I depicted her as an evil, comically insane woman who was obsessed with old literature and extremely violent. Most everyone who heard it loved it, although I haven't heard her thoughts about it yet! :D
Like I said, I had a pretty good day academically. Lunch was the most pathetic part of the day, in retrospect, maybe because it wasn't academic. I had a terribly boring lunch while everyone around me had a great one, and I was constantly interrupted while trying to tell a story. (My guess is that it wasn't quite as good as the one about my wicked teacher.)
The worst part was when I worked on the school magazine after school. Dani works there every other week, and this was her week. She came down for a moment before heading off to a poetry-reading thing. (I'd like to be in that, but I stutter a lot when reading out loud. I'd be terrible.) I asked, and it sounded like she'd be back. I really needed to talk to her and ask her, in the most tactful way possible, why she hadn't responded to my email. I'd really, really wanted a response, and I also asked in it for the second time what sort of music she listened to, because I was between bands and had been so for months, and I had no idea what to try next. I was being perfectly honest. I hate lying in general, and there's no way I'd ever lie to her. (And I didn't tell her this, but I know I'd think of her whenever I listened to something she suggested, so even if it was by Soulja Boy I'd probably love it.)
Oh yeah, and I'd ask her why she hadn't been at youth group, and anything else I could think of to make conversation. I miss her so much, it's pathetic. Unlike most pathetic things today, though, this is perfectly natural.
She didn't reappear, though, even though I'd heard from the only other person who remembered to show up that the teacher in charge of the school magazine (the same as my Creative Writing class) was sending her down after the poetry thing. After the other girl left, I was pretty much done with editing everything (except my own story), so I started forming a potential order in which all seventy-something submissions could wind up in in the end. It was something we hadn't planned on starting on until next week, but I needed something to do until she showed up. At half-past three, the librarian told me that she was positive everyone else had left the building by now and that she was planning on leaving soon herself. So I shut up shop and walked home, berating myself the entire time and thinking of at least three ways to start this blog entry. Pathetic.
I don't understand why Dani doesn't like me. I'm not saying there's no reason, but I don't understand what it is. It's not like I'm an unlikable person. I'm smart, and I have things in common with her, like writing and (apparently) philosophy. We're both Christians, and according to several people I'm looked at as a bit of a leader in that regard among my peers. I'm good-looking; the picture in my blog is pretty bad. :D A woman at church yesterday (yikes, it's almost the day before yesterday, look at the time!) told me I was very handsome and asked if I had a girlfriend. When I laughed a little and said no, she told me that would. (And she's not the only one. I wouldn't usually bring that sort of thing up, but I feel very pathetic right now, in case you didn't notice. :s) I'm funny, certainly. I'm not saying this is enough to make someone as special as Dani like me, but it's not like I'm unlovable.
Of course, I have problems, too. I stutter often. I'm not always the most social person in quieter gatherings, and when I do feel at ease in social situations, often I'm too boisterous. That's probably enough reason for anyone to turn someone down, even if she likes them as a person, like I think/thought she likes/liked me. But I don't feel like I've done anything wrong. The worst that can be said for me is that I'm pathetic. I'm not a jerk. I hope she doesn't see me as such. I don't really feel like I'm making bad choices. I don't know if I've made many bad choices in this adventure at all. (Yes, it's an adventure!) But I don't know if I've made any good ones, either. I feel like I'm stumping around blindly, sometimes, bumping into walls with only one eye open. And maybe I'm supposed to hit some of the walls, and maybe I've hit some of the right ones. But I don't think I've hit them all.
I really, really like her a lot. I want to do the right thing. If she asked me to do something for her, I would do it. If it was also something morally good, I can't think of what I wouldn't do. If I knew for sure it was the right thing to do and she wanted it, I would probably go and get myself banned from RuneScape and Sal's. To be fair, I'm not even sure I would need to know that she wanted me to do it first before doing that - I think I'm too obsessed with "doing the right thing" sometimes. But I also want to help her. I want to do her favors, maybe to help her with her homework if she ever needs it? To run into a burning building and save her? (Lol, who hasn't daydreamed about that? :D) I'd just like to help her out. I like to help people. And I like her.
It seems a bit unfair sometimes, even though I know it isn't. People are supposed to love each other, and they're supposed to help each other out. I want to love her, how come I can't? (And I'm not talking physically. This is one thing where I really don't want any innuendo involved.) I want to help her. How come there doesn't seem to be a way to do that? There must be. Everyone needs help. Don't I know it.
Maybe the best way I can help her is just by helping humanity, and doing the right thing. How do you help Bill Gates, for example? You don't give him a hug or help him with his homework, you help him benefit mankind. Same with Mother Teresa. Maybe that's what I should be doing. Maybe I should treat her like Mother Teresa. Sounds like a plan. All I need is faith, love and hope. Hope, most of all.
I still feel pathetic. But hopefully I've learned a little, and maybe I can be less so in future. I think there were some other things I wanted to say, but I forget what they were. Oh well...
I don't understand why so many pro-abortion people, even males, accuse anti-abortionists of disrespecting women. I really don't! I just, and I'm sure the rest of the people who agree with me just, think a whole life is much more valuable than one year for a women.
Another thing that bothers me is the accusations, period. I may be oversensitive, but I really don't like it when anybody hates me, or just dislikes me. Take 123man for an example. He really doesn't like me. I don't know why, although it probably has something to do with my views. I don't like him very much, either, but it's just the accusations that I almost can't stand.
What are your views on 123man? I don't like him very much at all, and that probably isn't very justified. To become a mod he must have been an admirable person. Tell me some positive things you know about him, and maybe some negative things too. :/
Abortion views wouldn't hurt much, either. The injustice of it almost overwhelms me once in a while, and I can't see why on earth anyone who wasn't pregnant would support it. Give it your best shot, though. At least I know that all people who support it aren't evil selfish gits, which is a relief. :/
...that Blyaunte was my mother.
Yeah, it was really weird. It wasn't that long, because I woke up when my alarm went off before the dream progressed very far, and nothing very scandalous happened, so I wouldn't feel bad about talking about it here, if I could remember much of what happened. I do remember being confused because I had thought my mother was a conservative Christian, and here she was arguing passionately in favor of liberalism and atheism and stuff on Sal's and what? Kind of confusing, and she wasn't even acknowledging that she was my mom. I was disappointed in my mother for not acknowledging our relationship. :)
The whole dream was like "WTH?" and I was kind of glad to wake up when I did. It took me several minutes to realize that Blyaunte wasn't actually my mother. I am a very convincing tall-tale-teller, I guess, although apparently only to myself.
Exam week is going well, only meh with my standards, but no use crying over my 93 or whatever.
So, for those of you who don't know, I'm leaving for Kenya in 48 hours! :closedeyes:
Yeah, a group of my friends and I are going to be working with an organization that helps disabled kids in Kenya. Until recently, the prevailing view in Eastern Africa was that people with disabilities were cursed by God, and although that view has been officially abandoned, there's still a huge stigma against disabled people in Kenya. There's also obviously a huge amount of AIDS orphans over there, and so there are a lot of kids that need a school to go to, but can't, either because of financial concerns or because their kids are disabled and they don't think they'll be able to get anywhere in life because of that.
So an organization that my youth leader's sister helps run offers free education for disabled kids, and we're going on a missions trip to help out. It'll be amazing; I'm so INCREDIBLY pumped. :) I'll be gone from the 24th of June (Thursday) until July 6th, so you can expect me to be completely and totally inactive during that period. For a good reason, but still. You won't be seeing me around or anything. So yeah, all the trolls will be able to take over the forums and you'll all perish, unless Po is promoted, in which case you guys will be completely safe.
Anyway, I'm bringing back lots of pictures, and probably some stories. Gaia is going, as are six other "kids" from ages 16-18, plus me and three young couples, including my youth leader and his wife, who go there every summer. (My leader's wife was raised there, so she's even more of a vet.)
Can't wait. I'm anticipating this so much that it's affecting my grammarz.
I voted a 7, Maybe, and No.
I don't want this to be a topic of dissension, but it would be interesting to see what you guys think of him now that he's gone. He was quite a guy and I never saw him do anything too bad. I remember good things about him and precious few bad things - his uphill climb lasted for much longer than his downward spiral.
Anyway, time to eulogize or roar in delight for appeased vengeance. Any member as longstanding as Macki deserves a farewell blog post, and since I haven't seen any, I might as well make one.
I wrote a very introspective, but, I hope, insightful essay this evening instead of doing my homework. Tell me what you think of it. Does it ring true?
I was just thinking about the constant diversification of society, how people focus on making their own views part of themselves, how people today are better educated than ever but in many ways unhappier. People today know psychology, they know equality and ideals and all sorts of utilitarian concepts. Yet they're more vulnerable than ever before. This is ridiculous. The only human improvements in our institutions in thousands of years have been physical, not emotional. This is not precisely true, nor, obviously, can I confirm this, but it'll do for a good thesis. Certainly people used to be more resilient than we are today.
Let's look at mildly genial but ignorant parts of the American South for examples. Lots of "rednecks" down there are poorly educated and not especially intelligent, sometimes racist, and often unfriendly to people for no rational reason (race or religion or whatnot).** Yet they are, generally speaking, more secure in themselves and more comfortable around like-minded acquaintances than most people from middle-class, well-educated American families. I'm not going to criticize these people or defend them; personally I have no strong feelings on "rednecks" either way. :P But let's be honest with ourselves here, people like this have a significant advantage over the middle-class, educated "caste" in society. They live a more comfortable existence "inside," so to speak. I know that this isn't true across the board, but in general, people today live a more guarded, individualized lifestyle than ever before. Do people really have to be this way to not appear ignorant or intolerant?
Obviously, I don't think so, or I wouldn't be writing this; I'd be playing a cheap banjo and singing "O Susannah" plaintively as I wept for the fate of humanity out in the park behind my house.
From the day we're born, most people are taught that they are their own person, that they are individuals and that they alone decide their path. (Many of my fellow Christians may disagree and say that we should follow God's idea for our life, not our own, but the point is essentially the same in that no human being can decide for us what we want to do with our lives.) This is a good philosophy, and I don't mean to trample dirt on it. Yet the idea has flaws. In embracing our individuality, we by definition lessen our connection to others. This is also a good thing; if you go around considering yourself part of everyone else you will cry out in pain whenever anyone around you stubs their toe, and you will eventually wind up in a room with soft, white walls, where in time you will grow to adopt the insanity of your inmates as your own mental state, and so earn a permanent berth there. But in deciding that you are entirely your own person, you make a commitment to letting no one else make your decisions, to forming your own views entirely by yourself. You essentially conclude that until someone gives you reason to suspect otherwise, your ideas are 100% right, and anything conflicting with them is at least slightly off.
Again, this is a logical way to behave. I'm not advocating doubting yourself at every turn; quite the contrary. But we all know the headiness of deciding that you have the right to make some decision for yourself, not anybody else. This feeling can be intoxicating at times, can't it? Maybe not heady in the same way as alcohol or some drugs, but it becomes compulsive. One feels the need to make up one's own mind about things all the time, even sometimes when one doesn't even know everything about something in particular, or when one doesn't need to judge.
There is nothing morally wrong with judging situations all the time and deciding what should have happened, or what should happen, of course. Yet it has its problems when put against others' judgments. The more you assert yourself and set yourself as apart, different, from people you consider yourself close to, the less common ground you have with them. This usually plays no visible role in your interactions with these people. Respectfully telling your friends you disagree with them is unlikely to offend them most of the time, and neither is it wrong, obviously. But the more you do this, the less common ground you will have, and the more an unconscious feeling of separateness, judgment, will come between the two (or more) of you. Furious, heated arguments have destroyed many a friendship and many a marriage, but not as many people realize that continually asserting your opinions as a foil to that of your friend or partner can lead to less closeness. Humanity bonds through similarities, not differences.
This is not to say, of course, that to have good friendships or a healthy marriage, you cannot talk about serious things. Quite the opposite! But in doing so, it is essential to do so in a non-combative manner, not to pit yourself against your friend or partner but to work to reach a consensus. Leave as few gaping chasms as possible between you and your companions. Less obviously and more importantly, do not simply agree to agree. Agree on principle, on deep-felt ideology. Agree on as many things as possible. Consensus is a treasure in today's world, where everyone has the power to make their own judgments on everything. People come together the closest when they have shared goals and beliefs. World War II is so romanticized because it was one of the few times in the history of America when the country was virtually 100% united in the same outlook and goal. Few argued, come 1944, that the war did not need to be fought; nearly all wished for the safety and bravery of the men gone overseas; nearly all wished for victory and felt grief, pity, love, at the same moments.
Why is society so fractured at this day and age? Because, of course, everybody believes something a little bit different. Nobody wants to concede an important value just to make a friend a little bit happier. But tragically, these issues are so often the focal point of interpersonal relationships, rather than ideals shared and personally felt sentiments deeply held. Conflicted discussions should not be the meat of our dialogue with friends and family; they should happen only from time to time, and consensus should be the basis for personal relationships, not controversy. Then even controversial issues can be discussed with a fuller understanding of the beliefs and sentiments of our friends and family. You will never change the mind of anyone about anything if you don't share common ground.
Without consensus, you have nothing. Without this as the bedrock of your relationship with your friends and family, you have no connection. This is to be cherished and bolstered, not ignored or minimized. You need this solid ground, for it is by losing this very thing that most marriages collapse, that many friendships shrivel or vanish. Even if you think you have everything in common with a friend or loved one, if you do not remind yourselves of this and continually bask in your "union," it may disappear and you will be left wondering what went wrong. It happens all too often.
When I have succeeded in friendships, they have been based solidly upon not what I would refer to as individuality, but what I and my friend have both done, what we both enjoy, what we both believe in. I have had friendships with people on the opposite end of the ideological spectrum that have flourished. In contrast, I have had friendships with people very similar to me that never went anywhere, because we never focused on our shared qualities. We did our own thing, we paid no special attention to our similarities, and in consequence we never bonded.
It's excellent to have friendships with those who are different than you, to form strong bonds with them, but doing so just won't last if you remain intent upon emphasizing all of who you are. Hiding your character is an equally poor idea, but the old ideal of accepting others no matter their character is an incomplete one when applied to friendships. Your relationships will always be stronger if viewed through the rosy but essentially accurate tint of personal similarities. (Heck, even if you want to argue with them passionately, you will be more likely to reach a consensus in this light.)
If everyone had relationships with their friends, family and significant others that were rooted in common ground, we would all get along better. Whenever a dispute arises, it should be resolved with appeals to common experience. Perhaps this is the secret of the redneck community in getting along internally with its fellows: most of them share similar expectations of society, view the world through a predetermined mindset and have a close-minded view of the world that is based, in many cases, on an extraordinarily narrow perception of "right" and "wrong." No wonder they all get along so well! On some level, one of the most derided of all American subcultures has gotten one of the key elements of happiness right before any of the high-and-mighty educated middle class. How does that make you feel, noobs?
** Incidentally, I don't mean to offend or stereotype Southerners when I refer to "rednecks." People like that exist, I have no grudge against them and they demonstrate my point well. That's why I feel okay about stating things like that.
Do any of you guys ever take on the mood of the book you're reading after you finish, and wind up coloring your actions the way the narrator was just coloring his prose, or else end up acting the way the speaker was just acting? I do sometimes, particularly when a book is extremely well-written. It's exceedingly strange.
My main focus in the past week has been on reading Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, a strange and terribly fascinating novel about a man who kills, whose unbearable internal suffering forces him to seek remorse for his deeds. I won't spoil anything, but the book is certainly riveting. It's not one of those books that you can't put down; on the contrary, although the book itself isn't hard to get through, the words are so powerful that I think I'd have been doing myself a disservice if I'd run myself through more than 150 pages per day. The book is depressing, but bearably so, thanks to the fact that all of the characters have some warmth in their humanity. Even the greatest villain of the book is quite amiable; he gives most of his money to orphans because he's fond of children.
Anyway, the main character, Raskolnikov, is distressingly similar to me in a number of ways. I'm not a criminal like him, except in the sense that I sometimes commit traffic violations and random misdemeanors, as when I frighten pigeons and thus break the rightful, just laws of my state. -.- But I have the same unhealthy tendency towards monomania, being obsessed with a single thing (though I'm generally better at resisting this impulse than he is), and I stay shut up in my slanting room far too much, mainly because of homework. We're also both absurd introverts who don't feel alone even when they are alone, but we differ, importantly, in that I actually like people. ;) The character doesn't frighten me, but he does make me very uneasy about living too solitary an existence. As the villain repeats to Raskolnikov, "what a human being needs is air, air, air!"
I spent part of Wednesday and Thursday painting my youth group's new loft with a bunch of other teens. On Thursday I went to my friend "Dean"'s house, and on Friday I did another rehearsal with my acting troupe and went to see Inception with another friend of mine (who happens to be in his sixties, incidentally ;)). On Saturday, after getting my senior picture taken I went to a party hosted by another friend, but she and I have literally no friends in common who happened to show up, so I left after an hour. On Sunday, I went to church and then did another rehearsal with my acting troupe. (Our final performance is a week from today.) It's not that I'm secluding myself. It's this infernal introversion and fear that keeps my comfort out.
When I was in the middle of Crime and Punishment, a pleasant part, after closing the book and going off to practice parallel parking (which I normally dislike), I was positively cheerful and infectiously delighted with the world. Then as the book went on, I slowly got farther into a feeling of awful suspicion and irritability. Finally, by the end of the book, my brain seemed to have chameleonized into an organ that wished to view things in a positive sense, but was instead, cross, miserable, and intensely guilty. There was nothing to be guilty about, dang it, but the feeling remained for nine hours, even lasting through my sleep. Dreams about strangling arctic foxes probably didn't help.
The way I put it to Gaia on Facebook, reading the book is like clambering around in a four-dimensional well. (Incidentally, she got back from her college trip to the mountains fine. In a staggering coincidence, last Saturday I ran into the bus driver who was going to pick her up - I thought about sending him a letter to give her, but thought better of it. She seems to have had a great time and is quite excited for college, judging from FB at least.)
I'm going to Texas on Tuesday to visit my grandfather. This is great, because I still need to reread Pride and Prejudice and The Invisible Man for AP Literature and Composition, and this downtime will give me ample opportunity to do so. I'll probably be offline until Saturday.
So I wrote half of a great entry about the Deathly Hallows and the subtle philosophy and genius behind Harry Potter, and was going to put it up here, but then lost interest and stopped. I'm starting to get seriously worried about my ability to actually muster the energy to write these days. :/
Anyway, I got my exam grades back and finished my best ever semester at high school. This is cheery. :closedeyes:
Here's what I got for second semester:
Honors Algebra II- B+
Spanish I- A-
AP US History- A
Honors American Literature III- A
I'm still really mad about how few AP courses my school offers for juniors. My only other options for APs this year were science courses, which I had no room for, and I don't plan to make my career in science anyway. Next year I'm taking three APs, though, so that should make up for this travesty.
There's an award given to the best student in every subject at the end of every year, and I won the Chemistry and AP US History awards, along with one of the school magazine awards (my friend and I were both so good that they gave us both an award :P). My best friend won the Honors Chemistry award and was called right before me, and so we did a bro high five in the aisle, and that was pretty excellent. Then Gaia's sister, who was sitting across from me, told Gaia about how many awards I'd won (tied with our valedictorian; even he only won three, unlike his five from last year :o), and she congratulated me on Facebook, so yeah, that was pretty cool.
And I got back my 5 on the AP exam, so this also makes me happy.
And I joined a gym and went every day last week, and plan to go every day this week as well (minus Sundays, which will be my day of rest :)). So this is excellent too.
That said, my grandmother almost died last week, and I have no idea how much longer she'll be hanging in there... and on top of this, I have next to no social life at present, which is depressing me because my brother spends LITERALLY 80% of his waking hours at his friends' houses. He's only 14 and he never comes home anymore. This makes me feel like a complete loser, because I'm home pretty much 24/7 and I still don't have my driver's license, so I still have to depend on my parents for rides. Of course, none of this is a big deal (besides my grandmother almost dying, which I don't want to talk about), but without anybody else around to energize and exhort me to action - since my father only cares about chores and my mother has spent the last week or so with her own mom - I feel like I'm falling into complete apathy. I don't like large cities, but I'm seriously starting to consider moving there and living in a small apartment if I continue to act so lazy when alone. :s
Anybody else have problems like this? I don't need sympathy or anything like that, but suggestions for getting out of a slump would be helpful. :s About the grades, I just put those up because I always do, and the fact that they're a month late is just a triviality.
I got hacked on RuneScape.
This was several days ago - Monday, I think. Maybe Tuesday. Anyway, I logged in to find that I was in Varrock. "That's odd, I didn't know I went there," I thought. I looked at myself and found that I wasn't wearing my new Torag's and Dragon Plateskirt. "Must be in my bank," I thought, and opened it. I looked through everything three times. No good armor.
Then I thought "Wait, I logged out in the Falconry arena. Why am I here? Oh no." Slowly, it dawned on me. How could I be hacked? How could I be hacked? I'd been playing for three years. I'd never gotten hacked before. I'd never given anyone my password, not even my little brother. At least, not for the past two years... I hadn't visited any websites with keyloggers...oh wait...:P
I'd visited a PM site which a person with 3 posts had sent to me. He said "lol u got pwned in that vid." It was a link. How could my pride resist giving him a polite but disparaging reply? Of course, I'd have to watch the video to see how I could chatise him for mocking me...
I opened it. "Huh. This vid has been taken down. Must have been illegal. Well, at least I'm shot of that."
Then I thought, "Darn, could this be a keylogger? This video could have been a keylogger, it was taken down, probably for that reason, but it could still be a keylogging site..." Didn't make much sense, so I searched for the website. I didn't want to turn up anything too explicit, so I looked at Sal's first, just in case someone else knew what it was. Thank God for searching Sal's. :P Thank God for even making it possible! :P The universe could have formed in many, many ways, and God made it so that a search engine was possible...
The search turned up one result. I clicked on it, and was taken to a thread about someone's fear that this site was a keylogging site. A few people replied. One had heard of it, and he/she said "Just Google it if you really want to know what it's about. It's not something we should talk about on Sal's. You probably shouldn't have said the name."
I searched it, with a mingled load of relief and apprehension. My suspicions were proved. From the few lines of text per result Google turned up, it was obvious that this site was a porn site. I mentally wiped my brow in relief that I had resisted the temptation to originally visit the home page of the site ... porn is not something I want to look at. I looked at it once when I was ten, looking for a cartoon game on Scholastic.com about "butts" jumping over highways...pink totally appropriate icons that didn't strike me as odd in any way. Apparently what I found was porn. I gasped in horror (I can't remember being more horrified and shocked) and x-ed out the window, then walked downstairs in disgust. I had to bring up the courage to talk to my mom about it, who cheered me up eventually by telling me that it wasn't my fault. I was in hysterics! I'm not boasting about my chastity or anything (I know some people who read this probably look at porn, which I think is wrong), because I certainly want to look at it myself sometimes. I just don't. :P It's probably based on my upbringing that I think it's wrong at all. Thank God again that I don't live with terrible parents...:P (Not implying that parents who approve are terrible parents, just parents that don't care about kids' morality whatsoever.)
I'm drifting off topic here. ^_^ I PMed the guy to tell him that PK videos were not something to boast about, and that everyone dies sometimes in RuneScape. It wasn't some of my most intellectual criticism. ^_^ For one thing, I hadn't even done the events I just mentioned yet! (Except for the ten-year-old porn. :)) My memory is really failing me. :o
Now when I logged in, I remembered this. Undoubtedly this PM had been a lot more cunning than I thought. I underestimated him or her because they had 3 posts. It's a recurring flaw in me that I tend to treat people with a lower post count as less important - in my head. I think it rarely spills out into my interactions with people (if you've been tracking me, then by all means correct me if you think I'm wrong :P ), but that is not good all the same. They're all equal, and is that how I would want to be treated if I was new, or merely relatively unknown? No! So why should I underestimate people that have a lower post count than me? :P
(I value people I don't know less even if they have a few hundred posts. I still try to appreciate them, but I don't respect them as much if they have a low count. This has to stop! :P )
Undoubtedly this PM had been a lot more cunning than I thought. It took me to a video that was apparently down, but that was just to lure me into a false sense of security. I had been keylogged, and I logged in to hunt like a fool. During it, I actually screenshoted a picture of my arranging 25 kebbit skins in a 5x5 dot formation - something I was quite proud of. Was this overboard? Did I have a right to be prideful about this? No, I did not. Further proof that I deserved what happened to me.
I purchased Torags and a Dragon Plate Skirt just so I could do well in the Duel Arena tournament arena. I wanted to pawn for the first time. I wanted to do really well in fights. Was this wrong? No! Yet I took it to a stronger level. I actually boasted about it to my friend Sryen, one of RuneScape Stories's expert writers (the Sal's subforum is what I'm referring to, actually). I attempted to change the subject somewhat and cover up the initial rush of pride, but I think he knows that I was trying to boast. He already depends on me somewhat for reviews, so he's in a position to look upon me, if either one must be picked, as a superior rather than an inferior. I think. I'm sure not going to ask him. :D (And I certainly shouldn't try and reinforce his supposed belief that I'm higher in the "pecking order." That's assuming other people view other members as participants in a pecking order, which I do. I have this unconscious feeling that other people are either worse or better than I am, or, occasionally, equals. I enjoy the last one the most, but it's one my subconscious rarely, if ever, imbues on people. If you're interested in hearing whether I think you're higher or lower than I am, feel free to post. You may be offended, and I may be too - it's not pleasant saying that I think someone is less high than I am on Sal's, but telling the truth usually makes me feel better. I don't think of atheism as a negative modifier, but I do think of strong faith as a positive modifier. I view blind bias as a negative one either way, and it's one I could certainly apply to one or two opponents I have in the Debate Room atm. Dani is not one of them. :D)
I have GOT to stop changing the subject!! :P Sryen is not 'worse' than I am.
I bought that armor so that my friend Sean IRL could stay even with me combat-wise for a while longer. He's been playing for a much shorter time than I have, but he enjoys pointing at me deprecations and semi-making fun of me for what I do wrong. He also enjoys boasting a lot, which may or may not be an accurate term, but it still makes me feel bad. This is mostly out of jealousy, mind you. So I'm guilty of pride AND envy for buying that armor.
Also, it breaks the spirit of my vow. I vowed to never wear armor that was smithable that I couldn't smith (I skipped the actual vow, so I won't break anything if I break it, except for my feeling of self-completion). While Barrows isn't smithable, and probably (almost definitely) never will be, wearing it breaks the spirit of my vow. It won't break anything, but it will bend it, and cheapen the thrill. I usually wear Granite and Rock-shell when I must don armor, which is roughly equivalent to Rune, but that's a neccessity - you won't catch a level 90 doing much good in full mithril. :P So it won't cheapen the thrill much more than neccesary.
Anyway, I've learned something from this episode. I scanned my computer for viruses. My Dad x-ed the virus scan out before I could see the results, but I ran it again, and nothing else turned up. I'm going to check on Tech Support before I log back in on the keylogged computer anyway.
More importantly, I learned that pride has its consequences. I hope healing has started. It's possible God engineered this whole episode so that I could learn my lesson. I still have plenty of money - enough, anyway. The hacker didn't get my PIN (thank God for that! ) and I still have my Quest Cape and Grappling Hook, plus everything else. Except:
Rune Boots (a present from Sax Rocks1 - generosity that was given to a hacker >.< )
I'm used to losing the amulets - I've lost them Player-Killing, dying normally, lag, and because I had a "fun" match in the Wildy beyond Edgeville with no armor or weapons, but forgot to take off my Glory. I lost, and told him to keep the change because I deserved it for being so stupid. (Looking back from an older and more mature perspective, I'm not so sure this is true, but I guess it was charitable. I think I just wanted a quick way to get rid of my guilt for being stupid, though, so it wasn't the overlying motive. :P) Plus, I have 3 more. And it has 1 charge left, so if there wasn't a Grand Exchange now where things could be easily bought and sold, I'd say that if the hacker hasn't finished Hero's Quest he or she would have to waste time selling it, at least. (Glories just for the bonuses aren't worth it IMO. I remember when they were 120k...:D)
The 1k isn't really a loss, obviously. The Rune Boots, as noted above, were something I never wanted to buy but ended up recieving as a deeply treasure gift from Sax Rocks. They're the largest gift I've ever gotten. :P And now I've lost them...
However, the financial loss for them is negligible, considering that I never bought them. :P So really, the only valuable (to me) thing that I ended up losing were the items of Pride.
So be it. I just logged in again, and I don't think I've been re-hacked. I talked to some Slammers, who weren't very sympathetic in general. But who can blame them? They talked to hacked "noobs" all the time, who don't know what they're doing. I never realized what it was like to be on the other side before.
If it wasn't stupid, then I would say, "Everyone should be hacked at least once. It's a very eye-opening experience." Still, at any rate, I'm glad it happened. Always look on the bright side of life...or death as Monty Python would put it. :P
On another note...I changed my gender! :P On Sal's, obviously. I wonder how many people will assume I'm female. And I wonder how many will care. :P
Thanks for reading this, people. :P I love comments, so be sure to post if you've read this far! :P
I've been perm muted on RuneScape for talking about assassinating Chinese athletes. I can totally understand where Jagex are coming from, but I didn't think it would come to this.
This is terrible. First Cow Queen, and now this.
I'm writing my appeal, but the limit is 400 characters.
This is what I have so far:
I believe Customer Support made a mistake not in the mute, but in the severity of punishment.
I was joking around and pretended to be a mobster that day, mentioning two rude things that I shouldn't have talked about. It was way too racuous, and I apologize. From now on, if you unmute me, I won't joke about that kind of thing anymore. As it is, I'm sorry about the offensiveness of my 'joke'. =(
Should I change it in any way, and if so, how?
So, I've been hearing all this stuff about RuneCake lately; apparently it's a community that's sprouted and flamed Sal's. And Fabis, a longstanding member of the community, is banned with 1 warn. I have a feeling these things are connected somehow, but I don't know how.
So: What's the scoop on RuneCake? Why was it founded, what's it like? And why was Fabis banned? (If I'm not allowed to know, then don't tell me - I've never been completely clear on whether or not everyone is allowed to know why someone was banned, though it seems like if there is a rule about it, the mods generally seem to ignore it.)
Okay, so you know the book The Kite Runner? If you don't, read it, I'm serious. If you do, then read this entry and you'll probably be pretty interested.
I've been reading it lately, finished it today, and I have to say that it was absolutely amazing. I started it a year and a half ago and stopped quickly because I was too intimidated about what I heard about its sadness. My resolution is to read the entire 11/12th grade summer reading list this year, and this was #3 on the list, so I knew I would be reading it regardless this year, though it wasn't available at the library until just now. And I'm so glad it was, because it's truly an amazing book.
If you haven't read it, it's about a boy in Afghanistan and the servant boy he grows up with. It's incredibly powerful. Everyone who sees me reading it and who's read it comments on that. I was told a long time ago that it was awesome and that I WOULD cry during it. To my surprise, although it affected me powerfully and I'm prone to crying while reading novels (for some perspective I had tears in my eyes or on my face for 100+ straight pages for Deathly Hallows), it scarcely made me do that. I had tears in my eyes while reading a letter and I did cry a moderate amount close to the end, but not eye-obscuring tears.
Still, it dragged me in and wouldn't let me out. I identified with the main character so strongly, despite having very little in common with him, that I found myself bitterly abusing myself repeatedly throughout the pages, and at other times feeling very self-satisfied and proud, all because of his actions. When I came out of the book, it felt like rising up from the bottom of a deep well. When I came back to the real world, I felt like I was swimming in another world altogether, and I felt saturated and filled to the brim with the mood of the novel. For several minutes after finishing the book, the events within felt just as real to me as reality did. (Okay, that last part I'm not 100% certain about, but I think so.) It was such a powerful, insane book.
There's one interesting and pretty specific thing I want to note, but spoilers don't work in this blog, so please stop reading here if you haven't read the book and want to.
The villain of the novel was incredibly easy to predict. I don't mean that he was logical and did exactly what I expected him to do, but he only appears on a small range of pages and, though he has a huge impact on the story itself, fades out early and only reappears once, two-thirds of the way through the novel. I could tell exactly what capacity he would appear in forty pages before he reappeared, sixty pages before he revealed his name. There were zero clues in the narrative to this until the face-to-face encounter with him, besides the fact that his personality would fit the persona of the person he was described as. However, as soon as the objective for the main character was made clear sixty pages prior to the guy's appearance, I knew this guy would somehow be behind a complication unbeknown to either of the present individuals.
Whether this is a failing of the novel or not, I am unsure. It was certainly extremely fitting to place the character in that capacity, and have that fate befall him, but such an obvious and predictable appearance might have been better off as a surprise. That said, I'm uncertain as to what the author could have done to avert this - he gave no hints as to the man's identity or existence until it became absolutely necessary, but it was such an obvious, though brilliant, plot device. Whatever else, it was an amazing book, and I have doubts about anything else on my summer reading list's ability to eclipse it.
Hey guys. I apologize for my massive inactivity, and I all but promise that it will increase over the next week and more, to the point where I won't be posting at all come Friday. Because I'm dying.
No, sorry, that was just a terrible joke, albeit unbelievable and so harmless. I'm not literally dying, however bad my homework (led by AP US History in a raging charge against my sanity) and Driver's Ed are getting. In any case, Driver's Ed will last until Wednesday, and then on Thursday I'll do my last no-lifer homework surge because on Friday I'm going away for the entire long weekend to a California wedding (which is of two people I've never heard of, although my parents have so I can't play the "this is a waste of time" card). Despite the awesomeness of the other time I went to California, as a short epilogue to my Mexico missions trip in January, this will be different because I'll be with my family. And with exactly four of us, family disputes are perfectly balanced between intimacy and potential prolonged conflict, and we're a pretty strong-willed bunch, albeit relatively "nice" people, and pretty irritable at times. I'm not looking forward to the trip at all, then, because this behavior manifests itself most often when we travel. Ugh.
It'd be fun sightseeing if I didn't have my workload and companions in mind, but it will not be sufficient compensation for the probable unpleasantness of the experience. I'll try to be as congenial as possible, but it's unlikely to be easy.
Anyway, this is really just an apology for my inactivity, both recently and in the near future. I realize that my absence is a relatively minor liability to the staff, and by extension the forum, and that's too bad. Hopefully I can make up for it in the rest of the year, which promises to be slightly less arduous.
This isn't for real, is it?
Edit: He's alive. @ people who made the joke, suicide jokes aren't funny and you guys should be old enough to know that by now. :closedeyes:
I definitely have to share about my trip to Kenya here. It changed my life. I'm not sure how yet, exactly, but it's definitely changed my life.
The trip began on Thursday, the 24th, when we all drove to the airport and boarded a flight to Heathrow Airport, London. It was Gaia's first time flying and fortunately she got somebody to sit with. I figured out that this was at least my seventeenth time flying, so I wasn't bothered by the fact that I was assigned a seat with a complete stranger. It turned out to be an unusual, very kind but extremely shy British woman. She was reading a book called An Obedient Wife - which I thought was unusual in itself - and, even stranger, actually said her prayers on the plane. With, like, head bowed and hands folded and everything. Nobody would ever do that where I live. I've always wanted to have courage like that, though, so I followed suit. I had a heck of a lot to pray about, so I must have been doing it for like fifteen minutes. Then it turned out the woman was sitting on my new hat (which is extremely similar to the one Indiana Jones wears), and she was very apologetic about it. I tried to tell her "don't worry, I don't mind," but she thought I was just being nice.
What she didn't know is that I treat all of my possessions like they're junk. By the time I was through with that hat, it had been sat on four times, lost twice, and gotten paint splattered all over it. So I legit don't care what anybody does to my stuff. I'll treat it worse 99 times out of 100. :/
Heathrow Airport was cool, but extremely weird. I've only been there a couple of times before, and with my family, so I had no time to spectate. There were frequently random carts driving by with flashing lights, and the majority of people in them were dressed as Arabs. I had a vision of them with machine guns, driving by and guns blazing, because the cart looked exactly like the one in Back to the Future 2 where criminals drive by and try to shoot the ex-principal in Biffville, 1985. I'd just watched the movie again; I love Back to the Future so much it's not even funny.
Then we flew from London to Nairobi, Kenya, on an eight-hour flight. I hadn't slept more than ten minutes while over the Atlantic (it's weird to be on a plane for only six hours and miss an entire night), and I wasn't about to sleep now, especially because I was sitting with Gaia and Gaia is, y'know, awesome. :) Also, I didn't want to be completely screwed up when we finally got to Kenya and slept.
After Nairobi we had to get on a THIRD plane, still without sleep. Finally we touched down again in Mombasa. The hotel we were supposed to be staying in I had already looked up on Google, and the customer reviews said that the bar was full of "very aggressive prostitutes" at night, so this made me nervous. But if there were any prostitutes, we didn't see 'em. We went straight up to our room, watched ten minutes of a Kenyan horror movie - in English, about four white teens going out into the bush and getting their legs attacked by evil plants while they slept - and then slept ourselves. We didn't get attacked by evil plants, which made me happy.
There were thirteen people who went with me. Gaia, obviously, and then Chris, the only other guy, who is almost 17, going to be a senior and is ranked as one of the top wrestlers in the area, even though he's under 140 pounds. Then there's Deanna and Heather, who went with me to Mexico along with Chris, and they laugh a lot and are very pleasant to be around. They're both 16 and are going into their junior year. Deanna is more outgoing than Heather, who worries more because her family is a lot less stable. There's also Taylor, who went with me to Mexico and is 16, a future junior, and has a very dry sense of humor and constantly playfights with Chris. Then there's Lily, who's 17 and is entering college in the fall, just like Gaia. She also has a very dry sense of humor and likes to joke about fighting with Chris, but she's also good friends with Gaia and they're both very into theater. I'd like to do a better job of introducing them, but I don't want to run on too long. :/
Then there's three couples who went with us - Barack and Laura, my youth leader and his wife, then Trevor and Jill, a couple in their twenties who just moved in a couple of blocks away from me. I go to Trevor's house every Friday for breakfast; we're both the same very rare personality type so we get along great, his wife Jill is just as cool but is a dietitian, which is unfortunate. Then there's Owen and Kelly. Owen is from Argentina and works as a children's hospital administrator nearby, and for some reason loves to tell stories about poop. Kelly is also cool, but she doesn't talk about poop as much and I forget what her job is. All the adults were 30 or younger, so it was a very tight age range.
On Saturday morning we drove to the safari range to the south and entered the park. I was completely unprepared for how quickly I would get bored of seeing zebbras, but I did get tired of them after several hours. :) There were also lots of giraffes and antelope, and we saw a hippo once, but it was pretty far off. We saw a lion early on Sunday morning, but all us teens were in the unlucky van and we didn't get to see it creep around the car. The adults, however, actually got video footage of the lion walking right around their car. :o They had to roll up their windows and stuff. It was intense.
The camp itself was pretty cool. We were placed in tents that were inside little cabins, if that makes any sense, and the second time I came onto my porch, there were 10-12 monkeys just chilling. I love monkeys, but I was alone at the time and it was actually slightly creepy. :s I looked into their eyes and could tell that I couldn't trust a monkey farther than I could throw it. They saw me and were vigilant, were scurrying away. I can understand why one might hypothesize that we are related to primates simply from looking at their faces, because a monkey face is read in a similar way to a human face. They don't trust. At all. It was eerie.
We also saw a monkey that was shaking its penis at us, very obviously and very obscenely. As the sole guy present at the time, it fell to me to be embarrassed. :P
At dinner that night, I discovered that I can be a terrible bore. I chatted with Gaia quite a bit, but mainly on the subject of laptops and stuff. I don't know what makes her tick, and I wish I did. If I understood her better, maybe I wouldn't be so depressed so frequently, and maybe I'd know how to either stop loving her, or to encourage her to love me. Or something. This was a recurrent problem on the trip. It is a terrible idea to be on a missions trip with your crush if you have unresolved issues. Whenever we're alone together, it's like the elephant in the room. She's extremely nonconfrontational, and I don't even know if it's a big deal to her, that I can't stop liking her. So I've never brought it up since last June, when she told me she wasn't interested.
In the evening we rode in a jeep that had a raised roof, so we had the powerful African wind whipping in our face as we scanned the savannah for wildlife and sang "In The Jungle, The Mighty Jungle, The Lion Sleeps Tonight." Definitely one of the more epic experiences of my life. We also saw an extremely rare antelope; there are only about 200 left in the world, and I believe they're all in this park. It was very special that we got to see it. It has a very unusual horn, which is why it's been poached close to extinction. Poachers are a continued problem. Gosh, I hope the antelope doesn't go extinct.
In the morning we left the safari and drove north to Malindi, which is close to where the school we helped was. Here we ate with the director of the program, whose name was Lennard. Lennard is an incredible guy; he's extremely smart and cares deeply about the kids, but has a very tough and workmanlike attitude towards his job. You can tell he cares, but the poverty around him doesn't break or bend him. He works politically and multilaterally towards spreading awareness of how children with cerebral palsy, hydrosyphilis, autism or simple deafness can be just as capable, if treated right, as any other young child. I think our brains work pretty similarly - we established a pretty good rapport over the next week, and I think I talked to him more than any of my friends did. I even got a video interview with him, courtesy of Trevor, who enjoys this sort of thing.
Then we went to our "hotel," which was more of a treehouse. It was INCREDIBLE. It had open walls, except for parts of it that were patterned with a neat blend between stained and 21st-century-style glass art. Some of it was African, some of it was geometric. The floor and pillars were partly white stone and partly patterned glass. It looked like a cross between an Arab palace, an African hut, and an upscale Western beach house. We couldn't stop ooohing and ahhhing over the place. :) Then we went out to the Indian Ocean to attempt to ride the waves. I utterly failed, probably ingesting half a gallon of seawater and making the world's oceans "99 percent water, 0.99 percent salt, and .01% Emanick's spit." :)
Sunday night was appalling. Chris and I were sleeping on the top floor of the Ecotower, one of the two buildings in the hotel, and the wind was blowing at like 25mph all freaking night. The mosquito net was constantly blowing off our bed and we had to hold it down with bag after bag after bag. We ran out of bags at three in the morning and had to use chairs instead. By now I was giving up on sleep and decided to spend the next three and a half hours thinking of something witty to tell Barack when he asked how I slept, but couldn't think of anything and fell asleep half an hour later.
On Monday we visited two schools. The kids were wonderful, even though I could hardly communicate with anyone because of their deafness/youth. (The older ones can speak English, usually, but in this school almost all the older students were deaf.) That said, I had difficulty connecting with them, after the initial rush of pleasure in seeing them and their excitement at seeing students from America coming to visit them. Kenyans are inherently friendly, living in a much more outgoing culture than we do, so it wasn't as hard as you might think. But aside from giving them my hat and sunglasses to wear, there wasn't much to do with them until we found out what they liked.
On Monday I finally got the hang on wave riding and caught a few waves. Nonetheless, it was really starting to get to me how difficult it was to spend such an extended amount of time with Gaia. She was staying with Lily on the second floor, two floors below Chris and me and one floor below Owen and Kelly. Although we have a lot of respect for each other, I'm not sure we know how to connect on anything more than a professional level anymore. (In real life, anyway. We're better on Facebook.) This is probably mostly my fault, but it's incredibly tough to police your facial expression and act completely normal around someone when you have such strong feelings for her. Anyway, it was doubly hard being around Gaia when she was hanging out with the only other teens in the tower, Chris and Lily, and they were talking about stuff that was a) awkward, b) totally unrelated to me, and c) something I had no way to join in about. Gaia wasn't talking that much, either, but she's close friends with Lily, so it made sense that she was there. Me, I shouldn't have even been there. But what, I go hang out by myself or leave the building? What the heck was I supposed to do?
Anyway, this was why the trip was so dang hard for me - dealing with acting normally/decently around Gaia, while forming friendships with everyone, achieving spiritual growth, figuring out how to connect with the kids around me, actually HELPING the team and everyone around me, learning how to ride the waves, play soccer, play volleyball, you name it. Too many challenges. I wish I was better at thinking of myself as part of a team, but I can't help thinking of myself almost exclusively as an individual. I guess this is how most writers think. That should cheer me up, right?
Tuesday was much better, especially as I actually got some sleep, after the hotel staff moved the beds Chris and I were using to the loft above the fourth floor. We painted as a group around the Occupational Therapy Room (which was conveniently located next door to the room clearly labeled "Occupational Therapy Room" :) ), and sometimes let the kids help out if they felt like it. In the afternoon, some of us played football (soccer) with the kids and others played with Play-Doh with the children who weren't so sports-minded. I was quite overwhelmed with how talented the children were. Even at age eight, they were better coordinated than I was, better at passing and better at aiming accurately. It helped, of course, that they could tell who was on whose team. I'm not sure many of them knew which team Chris was on or which team I was on, and if Trevor hadn't been the goalie I'm not sure they would have known who he was siding with, either. :/ It didn't help that Barack switched sides halfway through.
It also complicated matters that we had handicapped kids crossing the field all the time. I got a nasty feeling in my stomach when a really good kick I made dropped the heavy ball only a couple feet away from the head of a boy with hydrosyphilis and crutches, who was slowly crossing the field. I expect near misses happen like this all the time - nobody can control a soccer ball 100% of the time - but still, this was worrisome.
Wave riding that afternoon was easier than before - for the first time I didn't get tons of salt water down my throat - and I was also riding them with Gaia, Deanna and Heather. This was cool, but occasionally awkward. They were going to leave earlier than the rest of us, but as they were leaving a wave caught me and dumped me upside, and the top of my head connected solidly with the bottom of the Indian Ocean, hurting my neck an awful lot. So I was going to go back with them, but they'd already left, so I walked back alone and was awfully lonely on the trek back through the jungle to the "palace." I shouldn't have been lonely, but I had some serious issues at that point.
Then Wednesday rolled around, and the morning was very interesting. Lily, Deanna, Taylor and I did a home visit with an extremely poor 6-year-old named Patrick, who had terrible hydrosyphilis and lived in a home so small that, after leaving, we were unable to agree on whether it was 6 by 6 feet or 7 by 7 feet. Worse, he shared it with five other people, his parents, two older brothers (8 and 10 years old) and one younger brother, George, who isn't yet 2 years old. The money he is given by his sponsor, intended to keep him alive until he's school-age, cannot feed him adequately, because some of the money is going to George instead. It was horrible and pathetic, even though the family seemed kind. The boy was already sponsored, and STILL the family was in such dire poverty. The husband was a fisherman and didn't always catch fish, there were so many flies that the family didn't even bother to swat them away, they had no mosquito net... there were too many problems to list.
Another house that we visited was better off. Nobody was at risk of starvation, and the family was renting a house, and the father had a low-paying white-collar job that, while incapable of paying for the treatment of their son with cerebral palsy, was at least enough to keep the family alive with basic Kenyan comforts.
We also painted the inside of the Occupational Therapy Room - the real one, that is, not the one masquerading as the Occupational Therapy Room, where all the real therapy went on but which wasn't actually the one referred to as such. This was jolly because we spent most of our time singing various songs from the sixties, seventies, eighties, and 00s. Gaia is a great singer - she's told me that performing is her dream career - and so she led us in some of the gospel and country songs, as well as a couple of cult favorites I forget, plus our iconic "In the Jungle" theme. :P (Then I led a "Fireflies" round, because I'm an effeminate Owl City fan with no musical taste. Fortunately, I wasn't the only fan of the song.)
The afternoon was awful. Aside from lighthearted jokes that were made about me being "Mr. Mom" for doing my laundry early, there was nothing to redeem it. I missed the wave riding because of doing all of my laundry by hand - and doing laundry by hand is HARD. I have newfound respect for women who used to do all of the laundry before washing machines were invented. They must have had phenomenal arm strength.
Then there was being incredibly depressed over Gaia for no good reason, feeling useless when we went back to the school, and then feeling like utter garbage by the time we showed Madagascar 2 to the kids. I'm not going to talk about this much. Even though it was an important part of the trip and how it affected me, there isn't really anything that can be gained from talking about it in such a condensed manner. Emo feelings only belong in face-to-face conversations and high quality poetry, IMO.
On Thursday morning, I woke up to find that a pair of my underwear had blown away in the night. This is the last time I leave my clothes out to dry on the top of a high tower. :P
Thursday was a normal day. We played volleyball with the children and helped them to make sock puppets. I was still terminally depressed; the strain of showing love I was only partially feeling was making things worse. By Thursday night I felt so bad that I made a momentous decision: to eat anything and everything that wouldn't physically harm me. I loathe eggs with a flaming passion, and have never eaten them voluntarily for probably a dozen years. Fish I also hate, as well as any other kind of seafood, like calamari. But I decided that no physical sensation of taste could be worse than what I was experiencing at this time, so out of pure masochism, I decided to eat everything that I hated that might be served to me. Accordingly, I wolfed down calamari and fish on that Thursday night with utter abandon, ignoring the retching in my mouth and the open rebellion up among my brain cells. Rationally, I could tell that the flavor was unique, colorful and probably worthy of a high place within the halls of delicacies. But at the same time, my instinct told me that the seafood was awful, and this made me involuntarily gag. Sometimes I feel as if the dumbest organ in my body is my brain. :/
Incidentally, Owen was telling his third poop story that night - he'd just finished the one about his accident in the Jamaican sugar cane field, coming on the heels of the one about the fifteen-minute colossus that almost made him miss his meeting, and I was having such a hard time with my fish that, with everyone else on dessert, I was only 1/3 done with the meal. So I finally called out, "Can you stop with the poop stories, Owen? I've already gagged twice on this same piece of fish!" And then four people started laughing hilariously, because it was SO TRUE. Awkward, but nevertheless true.
On Friday morning we were allowed to sleep in, because we were taking the students to two different national parks that they had never seen before. (When you're dirt poor, you don't get around that much, especially if everyone else you know is dirt poor and your school isn't much better off.) I slept until about 9:30, Chris until half past ten. Apparently almost everyone else was on a home visit, including Gaia, so we just chilled with Jill and Laura until "the gang" came back.
The salt marsh was great. I can only describe it with pictures.
After the field trip was over, we regrouped at the school and were divided up into teams for the sports highlight of our trip - a major soccer game between two schools, which we were all playing in. The green team played with the Gede Special School, the one we were working with, and this had most of our group in it. The red team played with the normal Gede School, and Gaia, Lily, Jill and I were assigned to this team. Gaia and Lily were overwhelmed with playing in such a major game, with little to no time to prepare - Gaia particularly, since unlike Lily, she didn't play soccer for ten years. It didn't improve matter that in the first five minutes, a player on the other team was knocked nearly unconscious and might have had to go to the hospital; I had to go and grab the medical kit from Barack's gear to treat him, and even this may not have been sufficient to treat the poor bloke's concussion.
I have at least two out of the five traits necessary in a good soccer player - I'm fast, and I'm aggressive, not afraid to get close to the ball or other players. Unfortunately, I have very poor stamina, and I'm also not nearly agile enough to execute strong plays that significantly aid my team. The fifth trait, being able to work well with a team, I've honestly never been able to test. I haven't played organized sports since I was nine (when I quit soccer after learning that I was only good at kicking other peoples' ankles, rather than the ball), and the occasions in which I've played sports since then, I've never stuck around in a sport long enough to learn whether I have the knack for teamwork in any type of sports game. I'm very good at some types of teamwork, and not good at all at other kinds, so it could go either way, I suppose.
In any case, the game went pretty well, and there were hundreds of people watching. (Unfortunately, they laughed whenever one of us "mzungus," or white Americans, made an error, which was extremely often.) I felt a little like a star, being out there in front of hundreds of people in a brand-new red jersey, but before long I just felt tired and humiliated, after my energy ran out and I was only capable of making occasional lucky plays, since before the end of the first half I was walking most of the time. This game was a huge part of the reason why I joined a gym right after getting home. As it turned out, I was the only mzungu who played the entire 90 minutes - Gaia and Lily subbed out near the end of the first half and were never told to rejoin the game - which I suppose is an achievement, but it took me a long time to cheer up after the game, since I felt like a complete failure. At least Jill, who played soccer in college, did really well.
Part of the reason I was depressed was that during the game, Gaia obtained two African pen pals that Lily described as "really hot," and at this I discovered that I had been wrong for over a year - I wouldn't be happy for Gaia if she did end up in a great relationship. I'd be jealous, unless I knew her boyfriend well. I know this is nothing, since they won't end up together and I actually hope that she remembers to keep in touch with them, but love isn't logical. Or lust. Or whatever the heck it is I feel for Gaia by now.
Did I mention yet that some random tour guy proposed to Gaia after the safari, and that she mishead him and accidentally agreed? He went on to say that he'd pay for her clothes and everything before she realized what he'd really said. Awkwardest situation ever. :P
Friday night was amicable, however, even though this was when I learned that South Korea was knocked out of the World Cup. (A scream of despair escaped my lips!)
Saturday was wonderful. We took the kids out on a boat and... you know what? Nobody will read any farther than this. I'll talk about this more in a series of normal-sized blogs. Anecdotes, that's what they'll be. Not long, draggy blog entries like this.
Hey, I want to ask everyone who reads this a question: When did you stop feeling as if you had a home that was unequivocally safe?
I leave for college in eighteen days. I have no "normal" days left. I no longer trust anyone's opinion as being totally reliable. I've discovered "flaws" in everyone that I know offline, and while I haven't burned any bridges, I no longer feel that I "belong" to anyone on an emotional level. Everyone keeps telling me to be an individual - well, I suppose I am, because I no longer trust anyone completely. This isn't because of a traumatic event or anything unfortunate or pitiable, it's just the result of a long process of realization.
This is the way my father's brain works, and the main reason why I never want to turn into him. Trust issues are the worst. I have to learn to let people in - even though I "click" with very few people, despite the fact that I'm pretty good at making casual friends (who are usually little more than acquaintances). The problem is that everything is changing and I'm not going to be able to just sit down and cement old friendships anytime soon, given my ridiculous schedule over the next two and a half weeks. Although I'm looking forward to college more than I have to anything in an extremely long time, I'm going to have to pick and choose who I want to stay in touch with and who I want to let out of my life, and that drives me crazy. I don't love many people, and the people whom I click with aren't usually the people I love.
I don't trust my father because his perspective on life is very flawed, and all the intelligence in the world is useless if it's not being focused correctly. I don't trust my mother because she can't do things properly - this may be an overstatement, but in the context of my needing someone to rely on, it's true. I don't trust my brother because he doesn't respect me enough to trust me, and one-way-trust is rarely of use to anyone. And since I trust them more than I trust most of my friends, and the few whom I can trust more certainly aren't coming along with me to college, I'm not really sure who to rely on. The obvious answer is myself, but I don't trust myself to do too many things, and in the past, an excess of self-trust has not produced good results. Faith in God is my ultimate goal, then, but I'm not very faithful. I'm not even sure how to rely on God; although I have no logical reason not to do so, it's hard to actually, on the level of my will, put my trust in Him. I'm a very poor Christian, whatever appearances may be, but then, this is supposed to be one of the most difficult parts of faith. Nothing that is ever really important is easy.
Also, I plan to quit Sal's for college. I won't have time otherwise. I need to be able to seize the day, and I can't do that with moderation duties or a redundant debate over Pascal's Wager on the tab between my PolySci notes and Facebook. Both can be addictive. I'm really unhappy about quitting, but I've thought about it for a long time and I know it's the right thing to do. That said, Sal's has been the only source of continuity for me over the past five years (by which I mean that no other continuity has lasted that long), and it's going to be tough to let this, too, go.
Not sure if this sounds whiny or not. It's meant to be very bluntly honest. Since I expect I have my head on backwards in some way or another, feel free to point out how. I wish SlashingUK was still around, he was great at that.
Well, this is going to be one of those long entries people who have looked at my blog have often noticed far too often. The word "teeny" is a pun. Sorry. Just figured I ought to give you fair warning. That said, it just might be worth your time to read if you like depth, or just keeping up with my life, if that latter motive belongs to any of you.
Anyway, in the wake of Gaia telling me she's not interested in me, my life has taken several different twists. Well, my psychology, in any case. After I got over the initial "oomph" of it, a few days after she told me, I had a mercifully good weekend and week, and this lulled me into the feeling that nothing would change. I hadn't REALLY expected a successful relationship, and so I thought I might just go back to admiring her from a distance (figuratively, not literally), thinking of her as someone awesome who deserved my respect and love without being obligated to give anything back. For a little while, this seemed to work fairly well. I was able to fall back into my old groove of doing just the above, while I studied for finals and, more time-consumingly, worked on end-of-year projects for exam grades. However, sometime during or right after exams, I began to realize that something wasn't working. Something had changed. There was no hope anymore.
I know, that sounds very emo, but literally, that was the difference. Before, I'd always been able to have a reasonable hope of being together with her at some point in the future, and though I guess that's still possible if we know each other years from now, it just doesn't seem very plausible anymore. I miss her very much, barely having seen her even at church or youth group recently. Even when we do see each other, though, I'm again burdened by a sort of awkwardness that is generally absent now when I talk to or see girls I know. I still can't understand what sense it makes for two people, without doing any wrong to each other and motivated only by, respectively, prudence/wisdom/personal feeling and love, to inflict pain upon each other. I don't know if she felt any pain at "rejecting" me, but I'm sure she would if I pressed it at all, which I obviously haven't and won't. And I just feel hollow and empty. Going to church and hearing the songs and wise, benevolent words there lifts me up into the clouds, more than it ever has, but then I go home and all my sensibilities seem oppressed by that missing element from my life. I feel a little separated from God, as I usually do when I care about something different a huge amount. I realize that I'm not ready for a real, lasting, strong relationship, but that doesn't make me feel less hollow. I think I want to grow up more than I ever have before in my life (I've never really had much desire for that, to be honest), just so I can know myself to be a stronger, older, more competent person. I have little doubt that my temperament and maturity will improve as I grow. And at present, that's really what I want most out of life.
All this talking, without including Gaia in any of it, probably indicates that I don't care about her nearly as much as a boyfriend ought to. This seems unavoidable, however much I don't like that. It's really hard to care incredibly deeply about someone you don't see often enough, have never had an intimate chat with, and feel left out of most of the life of. If I want to know what's going on with her, I have to check Facebook or resort to stalking her, which I'm obviously not going to do. Even repeatedly checking her Facebook page seems a bit like stalking. It's all very frustrating, and though I feel selfish and self-centered, that, too, seems unavoidable.
This confusion and lack of emotional grounding is leaving me with a difficult choice. Do I try to "forget" about Gaia, which seems unfair to her? Do I just try to go my life with having no significant other? Do I actively look for somebody else to be interested in, leading myself into a lifestyle steeped in typical shallow teen relationships and breakups? I've never wanted to get stranded in that quagmire. The strongest motivation I had for not wanting to be in a relationship was to avoid the instability and foolishness of teenage "romantic politics." I don't think I'd ever disgrace myself that much or treat girls like items or tools, but I don't want to take a step towards that, all the same. I feel my inexperience and naivety acutely, and I don't like it, but becoming a "womanizer" person I would never have recognized last year seems worse. I don't care about anyone else besides Gaia significantly. It's a fact. A girl I had a purely physical crush on for years (and previously hated because it seemed like she bullied me in first grade :)) seems to perhaps be interested in me, and I've wondered if I should try to express any interest in her when school gets back in September. She seems like a nice enough person, and it might turn out pretty well. But I'm leaning towards not doing that. I don't think I'm the kind of person easily capable of "casually dating," developing a relationship without becoming strongly attached to the person in question. And I wouldn't want to be let down, especially when it seems like I'd just be looking for "relationship for relationship's sake," something I've always wanted to avoid.
And anyway, I'm not ready to move on from admiring Gaia. I'm writing her a play that I've just started, something I've been planning for a long time and am unwilling to drop. Call it unhealthy, call it whatever you want. The choice is mine. Besides handing her the play (based on a story she wrote last year) on her birthday in October, I'm not going to ask anything from her. As I've said before, she's such an amazing person, with such a great life philosophy, so intelligent, so hardworking, with a great stage presence, humble, loves her friends (by her own statement). How can I NOT like her? :) It makes me wish this was a movie. But it's not, and there's no fairy-tale ending just because I like her so much. I'm just going to have to live with it and the emotions that come from me. It will do more long-run harm to me to be without someone to admire altogether, or to hop from attachment to attachment constantly, than to simply like Gaia so incredibly much. At least, I think that's the case.
I attended a cookout tonight, organized to celebrate the end of youth group. Gaia was there - it's the first time I've seen her for more than a minute or so in about two weeks. I wish I could say that it was a blast, but it wasn't. (Which pretty much makes it unique among youth group events for me! :o) I spent most of the time out of place. There's a boy in the group who nobody especially likes, due to his low intelligence, boasts and annoyance. I hate to insult him, but I could go on and on doing so. He recently started bringing some of his other friends to youth group, who seem slightly more intelligent, but more "aggressively annoying." They are loud, annoying and irreverent, and I mean that in a nonreligious sense. So they've enlarged the previously negligible group of "annoying people to be avoided." Unfortunately, the table of nice, reasonable guys and girls was filled up at the cookout, so I wound up sitting with them, along with my friend, "Evan." They were loud, annoying, and respected me less than the others would have, which probably wasn't helped by the fact that I was in a rather grim mood. Evan was okay, and his sitting there made it bearable. I would have easily been able to stomach the company I was in if so many of the people I respected and liked weren't sitting on the other side of the room, among them Gaia, and here I was sitting with the losers. Yeah, I have a lot of sensitivity to get over.
The rest of the evening improved, but only a little bit. I felt halting and awkward the rest of the time, something I haven't felt at youth group for a while now. As usual, the adults were glad to have me, but most of the kids there didn't go out of their way to interact alongside me (we spent the second half of the time in a gymnasium, playing through an odd variant of soccer and a strange obstacle course). It's not that I was being shunned, but everyone there has their own close friends, and I don't really fit into any of their closest groups. It's a problem that I've had most of my life - people like me in general, but I have trouble getting close to people. At school, too, I'm in the curious position of being someone nearly everyone likes and is fairly friendly with, but somebody few really know well. Sure, I have my smaller groups, but there's no real clique I "belong" to. I'm like a popular drifter who doesn't really have any safe harbor. Sure, I have a few people that I get along with especially well, but most of them are people who I don't feel much of a draw to. I went to Six Flags, an amusement park, with half my school on Tuesday, and I wound up spending the day with two freshman boys who, while nice, are annoying in their own way, and a sophomore girl who constantly complains. It would be great if I could find some friends to really bond with. I understand that everyone has their problems, but surely I can find some people to spend time with who I hit it off well enough with to make me stop questioning whether I really want to be around them.
I really am complaining a fair amount. It isn't fair to say that I'm not incredibly fortunate to have the friends I do online, or to be so well-liked in general around the school. One can't have everything, after all. I do, however, have a lot of things missing in my life. I realize that I'm definitely fortunate to have so much good luck in my personal relationships as it is, with the near-universal liking and support of adults I know IRL, often well and beyond what they show to other students/random teens, and a good relationship with most of my peers, too. However, is it so wrong to miss what I don't have? I'm badly lacking in close friends, and I can't be together with Gaia. In time, I suppose I'll meet the right person who means so much to me, and even in the short term I could possibly develop some really good, strong, close friendships. It's difficult to wait, though. As much time as I spend online, in a world that transcends age, and as much as I apparently have the maturity of a young adult (as I've been told), I'm still just a teenager at heart, with all the natural flaws and personality issues that that implies.
I'm going to a four-day Christian rock concert in the north, Wednesday through Saturday.
Totally pumped. I'm going with a couple other people - not sure who yet - so it should be even more fun. :)