October 29, 2010 § 1 Comment
Way back in the day, in college, while studying cognitive dissonance in one of our many psych classes, we were asked to analyze something pertaining to cognitive dissonance in our own lives and report back on our findings. I mention this, because while rather simple and probably trivial in essence, the paper became a very important turning point for me in my evolution into adulthood. I agonized for weeks about what to write … keep in mind, at that point I was merely 21 and had much fewer choices at hand. If I were to do this now for example, well hey… you could say there’s been quite an array of happenings in the last 7 years that could be explored. But, back then, I guess things were a little simpler, although when you don’t know better, things seem just as hard… *note to self, you don’t better… it most certainly only gets harder, enjoy while you can.
In particular, at 21 my life was mostly defined by three major factors:
The big move,
The not so big betrayal,
And The big split.
Amazing isn’t it, that your life can be boiled down to a just a few flag poles, that mark along their way those glaring forks in the road you left behind – you are here, go right.
I think the best thing about thinking of life in map-format is that you’ll never find yourself wishing for a different route… because, lets face it, the road you’re on is your road… it’s who. you. are. … and the fork is how you got here, … so, why on earth would you want to have traveled another way… only to not know yourself. Know yourself.
But, if you were to have a map like this, it would at least help point you in the next direction. *Here I veered left, perhaps now it’s time to head right… *
Seriously, I think charting a life map could come quite handy… in fact, I think I just created a whole new business concept… Life analyzed in visual form. Brilliant. Seriously, why is there not an app for this yet.
Anyway, so the short short version of all this (life until 21) is that The Big Move came with some academic challenges, and to compensate for lacking in all other capacities in a foreign country (specifically – socially, academically and financially), I plowed on with music. Until of course, the no so big betrayal that unfortunately cost me a friend but gained me an entire life… one that suddenly involved anything but music. And I was grateful.
But, the truth is, with leaving music behind came an entirely new challenge of figuring out who I was without it. I think it was similar to what retired people go through when they finally stop working ….and realize that all these years they’ve been a shitty partner to their loved one, a crappy parent to their children and no one at work misses them in the least. And, when someone asks them what they do or who they are, the only word that comes to mind is ‘retired’. For me, it was yet another new beginning. A move into the unknown – no violin as my crutch, no answer for my hobbies, no identity (or so it seemed) beyond my name.
As far as I was concerned, studying is what other people did – ya know, those people that go to school because they are there to learn, not because Ms. France told them to. I on the other hand was just starting to learn how to write and read… it was only a few short years before that, that I didn’t know how… so the idea of school being a place to learn, had somewhat of a foreign notion… I was just there to survive and oh yeah, music.
So when I finally quit, it was a big deal. It was my first real break up… one that has probably scarred me much more than any other break up has. If you follow the rule of two on how long it takes to get over a break up, well then I guess I’m about half way there. So, maybe this means (12 x 2) – 10 = in about 14 years I’ll be ready to start playing again… 🙂
But, why you ask, am I writing all this. The paper I wrote in college was called ‘The Girl That Didn’t Care Enough To Try’… it really was a revealing exercise, one that astutely pointed out to me the degree to which music had affected my life and the reasons behind my choice not to pursue it… and long before then… to despise it. I really saw it as something that stood in the way of everything else that I wanted… which was not to have to rely on it.
So, when I finally took the plunge and went to school for school, it took quite a while for me to figure out whether or not I could even do it – be that person that doesn’t have a crutch. That is just able to succeed all on their own. And so, little by little, I replaced my crutches… one by one, abandoning each in less than a timely fashion, but creatively none-the-less,
…until finally I dropped them all and found myself standing in the middle of St. Pietersplein Square, with my books in hand… me, myself and i – no crutches in sight. And, the feeling is of none other than having finally arrived. Not at a destination you see, but a place of solid ground. One where I am finally standing on my own two feet.
But of course, as I look at myself now, my life-map all the way up in the left hand corner there… so far from the original plan, I can’t help but see myself shortly sprinting in the opposite direction… maybe with a few crutches in tow. Hopefully, by the end of it all, having paved for myself a spectacular journey with some of the best ups and downs that life can bring.
September 13, 2010 § Leave a comment
Today I woke up to my new alarm clock which I had set to make sure I know how to use it. I purposely bought one with a radio and HUGE font and BIG speakesr so that there’s no way on earth I’m ever late to class – we’ll see 🙂 I started the day pretty lazily, but little by little I got inspired to get out again, at least for a little bit – took a shower, washed my hair this time… for at least 4 years now I’ve made it a habit to wash my hair every day, but here, now I feel very wasteful and American for even considering it. Maybe it’s the cramped shower stall, or the water which shortly after being turned on turns from scolding hot to cold – so I’ve just decided it was time to approach things in a more progressive fashion. So anyway, I washed hair, had a bite to eat, made some delicious mocha coffee, grabbed my bike and on my way I went…
The plan was big – it included all kinds of errands that I had been putting off for a while now like figuring out my trash situation, and/or getting a form to sign off on the electric bill and/or something else I can’t remember. None of which of course happened… Instead, I went to the library. I’ve been meaning to return the two DVDs and 3 CDs that I borrowed last week and was eager to replace them with a brand new batch. An hour or two later… I was ready to check out. The check out system there is electronic and of course, all in Dutch. Last time it took me a while to figure it all out, but this time I wizzed through it like pro and waltzed out of there – oh – so – proud.
My DVD selection included:
Season 4 of Curb Your Enthusiasm for a little down to earth/ slice of home humor and..
Deconstructing Harry, which I don’t believe I’ve ever seen, but for some reason have the pretentious urge to become a Woody Allen fan.
My CD selections included:
Ani Difranco – 2 disc awesomeness for days when I need some really good lyrics.
Norah Jones – for maybe times when i just wanna be mellow and sad…, maybe.
HUMO’s Top 2007 mix – 2 disc for when the radio is playing crap and I feel like dancing
But the real treasures are the following…
4 disks of Total Africa (Franco, Ismael Lo, Pepe Kalle, Salif Keita, Papa Wemba) – aside from loving that kind of stuff in general and having a soft spot for africa – the other day I came across some sort of market/sports festival thing that had a dance booth that was promoting their classes and open house. The woman was dancing Salsa but she was this awesome AFRICAN woman and just totally inspired me to sign up for something – they even gave me a class schedule. So, it’ll either be african dance for me, or Bollywood (last CD selection – Spirit of India)
So far I’ve listened to 3/4 of the African discs and they are AWESOME… so nice to dance to, but I can’t wait to hear the Indian one. Hopefully this will help me make my decision 🙂
Anyway, after the Bibliotheek, I walked across the street to the mall for some leftover shopping. I was really hoping to sit down somewhere for a cup of coffee, but before I had the chance to find a place – my phone rang, for the third time ever. I hesitated to answer it in the middle of a store, as I didn’t really know who it could be or whether or not I would be able to converse with them (the first time it ever rang was a wrong # and they did NOT speak english). Neither did this guy. I did however manage to a) sound like a total douch in the store I was in – repeating ‘only English’ over and over again to try and let the person on the other line know that I have NO idea what they’re sputtering a mile a minute and b) decipher that this was my DSL guy calling to let me know he’ll be at my place in 5 minutes… veif? or so I think. The thing is though, I was never expecting a DSL guy to come, so not only was a slightly confused but a little worried since I thought it might still be my stalker calling… he did afterall work at the same store.
Not until we actually met did I calm down about the situation, although when at one point he left for a few minutes and said to let him back-in, in three (drie) – instead of opening from my kick video intercom system, I actually took the elevator down just to make sure he was alone… silly, but seriously, i couldn’t be sure.
I should probably elaborate about the stalker thing, but it’s a long story… lets just say there was a strange date, that didn’t go so well and lots of unwanted txts and emails before and after. And with the whole cultural divide, I just wasn’t sure what it all meant or how far this guy was willing to go… all the while feeling like I ought to not give Americans a bad name, cause apparently we’re not like super liked here. psssh But anyway, it’s been a few days since I explicitly asked to be left alone (the whole ignoring thing apparently doesn’t mean the same thing here… :/) So far, so good. (FYI, I know what you’re all thinking, karma’s a bitch, but coming from me it’s so much cuter, right..?! 🙂
Anyway, my DSL guy looked nothing like the type you’d have back home – this guy, well ok – he was Turkish (which according to people here means something… to me it just means AWESOME), but he was young and normal looking and CUTE! Of course, I was so paranoid about stalker dude, I was probably a total bitch to him – Sorry DSL guy! Apparently, kindness is sometimes lost in translation too.
Anyway, by the time he left the sun had come out and I was dying to get a taste of my new music selection – So I made some tea, put on some african beats and marveled out my lovely window…